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Can you break a rib just by coughing?

(16 Posts)
trice Wed 03-Apr-13 14:16:55

I have had a horrid cough for three months. I suspect it is whooping cough from the symptoms. I have had two clear chest x rays, blood test normal, echocardiogram normal. Two lots of antibiotics no change. Feel terrible, really short of breath, get a coughing fit from exercise, change of air temperature, strong smells, talking etc.

Big coughing fit last night, felt a pop and big stabbing pain in my rib on right side. Feels tender to the touch, agony when I cough and this morning has come up in a big purple lump.

I can't see the gp until next Tuesday. Any suggestions?

CMOTDibbler Wed 03-Apr-13 14:18:43

You shouldn't be able to break a rib coughing, but what you describe sounds like someone needs to have a look at it today. You could go to a walk in clinic or minor injuries

Bluebell99 Wed 03-Apr-13 14:21:45

I think my mother in law broke her rib coughing once. Sounds painful, I think i would try to see someone sooner than next tues, although not sure there is much they can do.

trice Wed 03-Apr-13 14:25:54

I don't think they can do anything for me so I am a bit reluctant to drag the kids over to a&e.

I am in tears from the pain, I may have to break out the tramadol.

Mamf74 Wed 03-Apr-13 14:47:41

My ex broke a rib and his sternum coughing; he was blue lighted to a & e as all of his symptoms appeared to indicate a collapsed lung but the a & e Dr said it was broken rib & sternum caused by the coughing. Reasonably common but always worth getting checked out in case it's not (and they may be able to help with the pain relief too).

Sounds v painful though, my poor ex was in a lot of discomfort as his cough wouldn't budge.

PandaNot Wed 03-Apr-13 14:48:06

Yes you can. My sister did just that.

cocolepew Wed 03-Apr-13 14:50:12

My mum pulled the muscles under her ribs coughing, she,was in agony.

drzeus Wed 03-Apr-13 14:52:52

You can. One of my teacher friends did that before Easter. 3 ribs. Ouch!

austenozzy Wed 03-Apr-13 14:56:55

I pulled some of the muscles that connect the ribs (which pull them in and out and thus allow us to breathe) by sneezing whilst turned to one side. Hurt like hell for ages, and affected every move I made. You have my sympathy. I'd go to a minor injuries unit if there is one near you, but be prepared with a good book as you'll be triaged as low priority and will probably be sitting around for hours! :-(

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 03-Apr-13 15:00:59

You might have torn the rib from the cartilage at the costo chondral junction. That's incredibly painful, treated conservatively with rest (as much as you can) anti inflammatories and ice.

Jollyb Wed 03-Apr-13 15:01:04

Yes

trice Wed 03-Apr-13 15:29:39

Thanks for your replies. Stupid injury, so pointless yet so painful.

mercibucket Wed 03-Apr-13 19:57:38

Yup, could have pulled the muscles (reminded me of childbirth) or broken the rib (just hurt incredibly badly but not a muscular type pain). They never did anything for mine. Muscular pain took about 6 weeks, bone pain a few months for the bad pain to go but overall 5 months til all pain went. Much sympathies, it is very ouchy.

mercibucket Wed 03-Apr-13 19:57:38

Yup, could have pulled the muscles (reminded me of childbirth) or broken the rib (just hurt incredibly badly but not a muscular type pain). They never did anything for mine. Muscular pain took about 6 weeks, bone pain a few months for the bad pain to go but overall 5 months til all pain went. Much sympathies, it is very ouchy.

digerd Wed 03-Apr-13 20:40:01

I know a woman whose coughing caused a hernia.

I had pulled muscles inbetween my ribs and was agony to cough.

But a bulge could be a hernia.

mgwoleben Wed 02-Dec-15 19:23:04

For those that say you cannot break a rib from coughing, you are full of crap. I just got out of the hospital after eight days. I went in through the ER because I heard a pop in my back when I coughed. Not only had I broken a rib, it damaged a lung and several vessels forming a giant blood clot. It took major surgery, and to make a long story short, I am lucky to be here. Here are the incisions for such a operation called a hem thorax.

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