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Broken rib?

 
master gardener
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About a week ago I was laying on my stomach working on a water line in a trench.  I rolled to the left and felt an intense pain .  I suspect I rolled onto a rock.  Of course, I figured the pain would go away in a day or so. It hasn’t.   And, the intensity increases depending on how I position myself.  So, my self diagnosis is a broken or cracked rib.   I know that standard medical tx is pain control.  Any permi ideas as to how to do that.
 
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Hi John;l
Oh my, I'm sorry.  I have cracked ribs many times over the years.
I have never found anything to stop that knife-like pain when you move.
I'm sure I was taking ibuprofen, nothing but time will make it go away.
I use CBD quite a bit for my usual aches and pains, but it would do nothing for rib pain.
I wish you a speedy recovery, my friend.
 
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I have a friend who just broke a few ribs.  She's young and nimble so maybe her healing path is different/quicker than yours.  The solution was to just take it easy and not do things that make it hurt (ie wiggle the bones around as they try to heal).
 
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John F Dean wrote:, the intensity increases depending on how I position myself.  So, my self diagnosis is a broken or cracked rib.   I know that standard medical tx is pain control.  Any permi ideas as to how to do that.



I'm sorry John. Hope it get better for you soon. Take care. I can't imagine you've done yourself too much damage. Pain is sometimes natures way of telling us to stop doing something, so you may just have to resign yourself to a period of more gentle activity for a few weeks. They used to strap up broken ribs: i guess it wouldn't help medically, but might be worth doing to help remind yourself to take care with your movements.
 
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The first time I broke a rib (~25 years ago), I spent two hours at the doc, consulting, getting x-rays, more consulting, most of which seemed to be designed to determine if it was a crack or a break only to find that they weren't going to do anything either way. In the end, they told me if it stops hurting in three days it was a crack and if it stops in three weeks, it was a break. It was more like five weeks, but whatever. It sucks when breathing hurts and the pain causes you to gasp. Since then, I think I've repeated that trick twice and just let it heal up. Advil helps a little and we always have a little leftover narcotic from other stuff that we husband carefully and use in such cases when we need help sleeping with pain. (Not a very Permie solution, I suppose.)
 
John F Dean
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Yeah, the 3 days is well past.   Right now I am using topical stuff.  The pain is not too bad unless I get really stupid.  While I am not really anti internal meds, I seldom use them.  Of course rest is part if the standard tx, and as any homesteader knows, rest is highly unlikely.  
 
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John, I have a not-exactly Permie solution but it is not a pharmacological solution either.  Could you get a TENS device?  That is a little device that has electrodes that are attached around the painful area.  Mild electric shocks are sent, releasing endorphins.  I had one of these devices for back pain and it was amazing!  You will need a doctor’s visit, maybe two, but it provides genuine pain relief as you heal.

But don’t even think about driving with one of these!  They tend to make you tired.  The tiredness lasts about 20 minutes after turning it off.

Maybe worth a try?

Eric
 
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Comfrey, (Symphytum officinale) also known as knit bone.

I am really surprised this has not been mention (or did I miss that)?

It can be used as a compress or taken internally.

If you are not growing, I bet Trace can send you some to plant.

Other than using comfrey, the only remedy I know is to wrap your ribs or use a mustard plaster.

A mustard plaster can be made from mustard seeds:

https://www.healthline.com/health/does-mustard-plaster-work-for-coughs-and-colds

I hope you find some sort of relief and get better soon.
 
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Not a medical opinion but my own experiences suggest another low-key explanation could be dislocated rib.  Those can really hurt.  That roll could have been a move that an evil chiropractor would do to mess you up... haha.  But, life does that.  

There's a guy on Youtube named Michael Rowe that gives a host of at-home stretches and movements that can relieve musculoskeletal issues (I wonder if other chiropractors get annoyed at him for showing people how to adjust their own bones).  Including a stretch move meant to adjust misplaced ribs.  
 
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Ugh, John. I'm sorry - broken bones hurt. Classic treatment is wrapping the torso snugly, but not super tight. The idea is to stabilize, so that if you take too deep a breath, you don't pop it outwards. But, you also don't want to breathe shallower, because pneumonia can develop. As Anne said, comfrey is perfect for this. Some will say not to take it, internally (I do, but my liver is healthy, ymmv). But, a comfrey poultice inside the wrap will heal it very quickly. To moisten the comfrey for the poultice - if you can handle the smell - another classic healing application is (raw, organic) apple cider vinegar. If you have it, mixing some arnica (in almost any form) into the poultice will work something dang near miraculously for both healing and pain relief. Homeopathic arnica would be ok, orally, but please don't take any other form of arnica orally.

I hope this helps, and I wish I'd seen this sooner. The arnica alone could have healed you up in days, caught right away.  
 
John F Dean
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Hi Eric,

As a matter of fact, I do have a Tens Unit.
 
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i break my ribs often sk8ing. i make an oil with comfrey, arnica, calendula, rosemary, and beeswax. it heals quite fast. For external use only
 
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Years ago when my mother was a home health aid, she would get sent a fax every time she had to see a new patient with information to go over with them about their problem. One of them was for people with COPD and it talked about how breathing using your diaphragm is more effective at putting air in your lungs. This also helps to minimize movement when you have a broken rib.

I've broken a few ribs, but they never hurt that bad. Judging by your description of rolling on to a rock, it probably strained or tore the tissue a bit. Because of the movement with breathing it takes a long time to heal. I don't know if the TENS unit would be helpful or not early on, but if it's been a few weeks then perhaps it would be ok, but I'm not a doctor.

Also, I thought they stopped wrapping people up with broken ribs because it does more harm than good, and a quick internet search says Mayo Clinic agrees:

Broken ribs - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic

They mention a few times about being able to breathe deeply to avoid pneumonia. Breathing with your diaphragm and moving your stomach more than your ribs is really helpful.
 
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Lots of good advice here!

I agree with Anne:

Comfrey, (Symphytum officinale) also known as knit bone.

I've used the homeopathic version on my kid and he healed up weeks earlier than the doc said he would.

So far as Hannah's conjecture:

Not a medical opinion but my own experiences suggest another low-key explanation could be dislocated rib.  Those can really hurt.  

Yes, I've had those. Yes, they really hurt. But you should be able to localize tenderness to either right by the spine, or right by the sternum. If the pain is elsewhere, I'd suggest it's a break. It would be good to test for this, because if it's a dislocation, getting it back in place as quickly as possible through stretches and positioning, is really important, and if your muscles are knotted in response, something to help relax them like a hot rice pack/hot bath, may be helpful/necessary.

What Carla said: Yes, I've had great results from homeopathic arnica despite my friend who's sure it's all in my head... I figure even if it's the placebo effect, placebos do work in many cases. I suspect we just don't understand the mechanism that homeopathy works through.

What hasn't been mentioned by others is that moist heat, like a rice pack or a hot water bottle, can do a *lot* for both healing (it increases the blood going to the area) and muscle relaxing (which helps with pain relief). They used to push ice to control swelling, but it can mask pain rather than actually helping the injury heal.

I get it that you're pretty sure of your diagnosis, however, if you don't feel it's improving, an Xray has it's place. There are conditions, such as osteoporosis, which can be treated, and your description of the accident suggests that there is a possibility that something's amiss. The advice you've received ought to help, but if it doesn't, please get yourself looked at. I'm not the type for taking pills much, but I do take Vit D, and make lots of home-made bone broth to make sure my bones stay as healthy as possible.

Hopefully it heals quickly!
 
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I can vouch for having a rib dislocated...sounds like the symptoms may be similar, broken or displaced.  I had to go to a chiropractor a  couple of times, but he didn't need to take an xray for it.

(Mine was from a massage therapist in Thailand walking on my back...felt GREAT until it didn't!)

I do know from trying to massage broken toes and fingers, that breaks do NOT want to be touched, at all...whereas muscular stuff likes the contact.  So that might help you self diagnose...?

Massage to the muscles surrounding the injury usually helps, because they will tend to spasm in order to protect the area.  But they need to remember to relax after it's healed; sometimes our subconscious mind keeps the muscles tense, leading to further imbalance/pain/injuries down the line.

At any rate, I'll send some healing vibes your way and hope you heal quickly!
 
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I came here to say Comfrey and Arnica (oral homeopathic). That's been said already ;) I'm another voice for the astonishing effects of homeopathic doses of Arnica. Rather than saying it can't work because we don't understand how it could, I'll say it works and our understanding is insufficient. I can also recommend Curamin, a turmeric based analgesic, as being much more effective than ibuprofen or acetaminophen. My wife and I both swear by it.
 
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I "rolled" a rib once (it shifted out of position).  Hurt like hell!  After a few days I went to the chiropracter.  He put it back in position and I was much better pretty quick and fine the next morning.

A note about chiropractors and drs.  Not all are created equal.  You know what they call the guy who graduated at the bottom of his class, barely squeeked through?  They call him Dr, just like the smartest guy.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Mick,

50% of all doctors graduated from the bottom 1/2 of their class. The pain is down greatly today.
 
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Just a thought of caution of that logic-- I am pretty sure that 100% of (passed) medical students entered residency, but only the ones who came through are doctors now. I say "pretty sure" because I'm not in that arena and have seen more Scrubs and House than real hospital scenes.
 
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Hi, ouch sorry - a rib fracture does really hurt. Did mine slipping in the bathroom 3months ago. I’m a doctor in Emergency medicine  by the way - so I knew there weren’t any investigations or treatment on the NHS except  simple analgesia. So I’ve just had to battle it through. I chose to use Tiger balm (already had it in the house) but if I’d known about comfrey (and I have a lot of that too) I’d have tried that as well.

I went for the “move it as much as you can bear in the first week” pathway as that allows the broken bones to rub against each other (ouch) increasing the formation of osteoclasts which make new bone. They will make a big lump of bone holding the 2 ends together over a couple or weeks or so and that is the same as a splint. You can often feel the lump but it goes down over the next few months. It’s a more painful route than rest but it ensured I was able to ride my motorcycle to go wild camping on holiday 10 days later. Couldn’t plaster a wall the next week though 😂 and it was still sore last week (when I was doing some heavy lifting! (That’s 14weeks but I am nearly 60, so healing takes a lot longer than when you’re young)
 
John F Dean
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Hi Bess,

I hadn’t considered Tiger Balm.  Yeah, I’m an RN with a couple of master’s degrees.  So, I went with the pain control…topically…which was really pretty effective.   I immediately put on a couple of Lidocaine patches that were on hand.  Then I began to search for alternatives. Yes, there was a bump. I was bouncing around on my tractor yesterday without added pain, so I seem to be on the mend.  And yes, I am approaching my 73 rd birthday.
 
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there's also arnica gel, put out by Boiron, and there's  arnica/calendula skin ointment put out by DeLaCruz; the gel works very well for helping with the ache and with healing; the DeLaCruz ointment will help with pain, and will last me for 48 hours until I need to re-apply. I use both a LOT; the DeLaCruz is very cost efficient; it doesn't take a lot to help even my chronic issues.

Another great solution is get cheap vodka or real witch hazel;  Thayer's facial toner is good; and get some dried arnica flowers; that one you can get online from several suppliers, put your dry arnica into a clean container  and then add the vodka or the witch hazel to cover the  dry  arnica to about an inch above  it, cap it, put it in a dark cabinet or closet that does not get direct light; and remember to shake it up daily, and then decant in about 3 weeks, keep the now Arnica liquid in a dark bottle with a airtight lid or cap;  to use, use a cotton swab, soak it and apply to the area; can also be added to fractionated coconut oil, or use as is. A little goes a long way.

If the Thayers or vodka is out of your price range, e rubbing alcohol also works to make the arnica liquid with, follow the same steps as above.  
 
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Confirming that the rib is cracked is always your best bet first...That can't always happen though and can leave us with a "blindspot" what may be going on with the rib. There has been lots of great input in this thread to help with healing regarding herbs, salves, tinctures, etc...

What we can understand is the ribs can get twisted in themselves and cause pain which can very much feel like a cracked rib (think "Billy Bob Teeth")...

By using the healing properties of the nervous system and shifting the neurological states from Sympathetic/Fight or Flight to Parasympathetic/Rest and Relax by creating targeted comfort in the area of the ribs that are painful. We can begin to move the body from being in pain to out of pain in a short amount of time.

This is all based on the Osteopathic Principle of "Structure Governs Function"

Other areas I'd look at releasing tension in would be:
- Lower back/Psoas
- Pelvis
- Diaphram

This post is a week old and your rib pain may be completely gone...

If you'd like more help and support, please feel free to reach out...

Regards,
Bill
 
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Hannah Johnson wrote:Just a thought of caution of that logic-- I am pretty sure that 100% of (passed) medical students entered residency, but only the ones who came through are doctors now. I say "pretty sure" because I'm not in that arena and have seen more Scrubs and House than real hospital scenes.


For an account that isn't fictionalized drama, check out the podcast Dr. Death for an... interesting example of what has been produced by a medical industry that answers primarily to politics and profit through bureaucracy and sees patients using the lens of market consumption...
 
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I had a dislocated rib a couple months ago.  Arnica salve worked wonders.  Rub it on the injury twice a day.  
 
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I thought this was a foodie thread!
Happy Thanksgiving
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John F Dean wrote:About a week ago I was laying on my stomach working on a water line in a trench.  I rolled to the left and felt an intense pain .  I suspect I rolled onto a rock.  Of course, I figured the pain would go away in a day or so. It hasn’t.   And, the intensity increases depending on how I position myself.  So, my self diagnosis is a broken or cracked rib.   I know that standard medical tx is pain control.  Any permi ideas as to how to do that.


Sorry to hear about the rib John - Hugely painful++  Running along the bottom of each rib is an artery, vein and nerve plus there are muscle attachments top and bottom.  When you do things like roll, it is often tearing the muscles and neuro-vascular bundle that causes huge pain and spasm.  From my experience both as a sufferer and health person, gently applying one of the suggested salves will work well to relieve the spasm.  The big thing is when it happens, put ice over the area to limit the bleeding which is the biggest irritant to the nerves and hence causes muscle spasm ++  when you move.
We talk about RICE and HARM - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation vs Heat, Alcohol, Running (Exercise),  Massage.  Some would argue that gentle activity is better than Rest but in the first instance (24 - 48 hours)  Rest and Ice will ease most of the pain.

Glad that you are on the mend.  Hope this helps for next time :-)
 
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I am glad you are through the worst of it John.

What a lot I learned in reading this thread!  It’s a treasure trove.  

Only thing I want to add is that a broken rib can perforate a lung, and collapse of the lung, and pneumonia.  

And that a hospitalized person can be given enough  opioids to create other more dangerous conditions.
 
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