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    Suggest treatment for severe pain while sneezing because of a cracked rib

Posted on Wed, 20 Nov 2019 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: I believe I have a cracked rib, when I sneeze it really hurts,and when I try to get off couch it’s very painful.
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:


It is possible to crack a rib with blunt trauma, or with forceful sneezing and coughing. It is also possible the problem is costochondritis which is inflammation of the cartilage/connective tissue of the rib cage. That can happen from repeatedly lifting or other overuse or strain usually involving use of the arm associated with that part of the body.

The main risk with fractured ribs is if there are multiple contiguous ribs that are fractured, which can happen from trauma. Then there is the risk of something called "flail chest" which needs to be addressed.

If it is 1 fractured rib, or if it is costochondritis, treatment is NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (up to 600 mg three times per day with food in your stomach) providing you don't have reason not to take NSAIDs (history of peptic ulcer, history of bleeding, medications that don't agree with it); and rest of the associated muscles. If the pain is very severe, an opiate may be added, such as a combination of acetaminophen (Tylenol) with an opiate. This of course would just be used for a short time because of risk of addiction.

The only way to know for sure what you are dealing with is to get an X-ray.

Hope I have answered your question. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 43 minutes later
There is nothing in the email you sent me telling me what to do.
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 17 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:


Here is what to do:

1. You can try to self-treat with ibuprofen 200-400 mg 3x/day after eating, and avoid use of the arm on the affected side. If it does not start to improve within a couple of days (improve, not completely resolve) with that treatment then go in for an X-ray (to urgent care or your primary doctor).


2. You can go directly to an urgent care clinic to get an exam and X-ray to see what you are dealing with.

Hope I have answered your question.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3138 Questions


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