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Intense pain at the back and at the site of broken ribs, under breast, labored breathing on walking, had taken treatment for pneumothorax. Cause?

A little over a year ago, I fell down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night, and broke 4 ribs.(#9-12) I had a very small pneumothorax , and was in the hospital for 4 days. It took a few months, but I felt they had finally healed, and resumed my normal activities. Now, for the past few weeks (maybe a month?) I have been having a lot of pain in my back where the ribs broke, as well as in the front, right under my right breast . It is painful to stand, sit or lay down. I was in the habit of walking 3 miles a day, but I can no longer do this. As I walk and my breathing becomes a little labored, the pain and pressure in the ribs become unbearable - especially in the front!?!. It is even getting to the point that sitting at my desk at work is extremely difficult. I don t think that I reinjured the ribs, so then why all the pain?
Asked On : Fri, 5 Oct 2012
Answers:  1 Views:  70
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Internal Medicine Specialist 's  Response
Dear friend, welcome and thanks for entrusting your query here at HCM !

It is definitely related to your injury.
Was a CT scan of the thorax or spine done at that time?
Did the pneumothorax need drainage/ ICD then?
It may be underlying soft tissue trauma or sometimes a missed spinal injury that may be causing trouble now.
If it is electric like , intermittent pain , it could be intercostal neuralgia- a pain due to nerve injury to the rib related nerves.

You should get thoroughly evaluated by a physical, Xray chest PA and lateral and may be a CT scan thorax and spine if clinically appropriate.
Rib fractures usually unite in a month and the pain should go away.
So this could be something else.

Please post any old reports to give us more details to comment on.
Rare possibilities are a delayed hematoma, paraspinal injuries etc.

I hope you are fully satisfied with the guidance I gave.
I would be glad to answer any further queries.
Thank you and Good luck !
Answered: Fri, 5 Oct 2012
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