Chiropractor cracked my ribs. Is this a mistake what she did?

by Neil
(Houston, Texas)

Kefir is a good natural solution to osteoporosis

Kefir is a good natural solution to osteoporosis

I have piriformis syndrome. I saw a Chiropractor yesterday. As I was laying on my stomach she pushed down on my back but, not in the center. When she pushed down, I heard a crunching sound on my right rib cage which really hurt.

After a couple of minutes, the pain went away but, today, my ribs still hurt with bearable pain.

Did she mess up or, is this normal?

Thank you so much.

Hello Neil,
No, it's certainly not normal, but I won't pretend that it's very rare. I'm a careful adjuster and I confess to eight patients in forty years who have had this experience at my hands.

It's probably not a cracked rib as then the pain would by unbearable; every breath would be a nightmare. Nevertheless, clearly there was some damage to the integrity of the bone.

A cracked rib is to a chiropractor what a broken root is to a dentist, and an allergic reaction to penicillin is to a medical doctor. If people sued us every time it happened there would be no more doctors of any ilk on the planet.

It's important to talk frankly to your chiropractor about this; she must stay off the area until it heals and then perhaps only use an activator when adjusting the ribs. Treatment for the piriformis can continue but she will have to adjust her techniques; hopefully she eats humble pie; it's never nice to know you have hurt a patient, but it happens; once in five years in my practice, but every one hurt me as much and perhaps more than the patient.

One last thought; this is unusual in a male. Mostly it happens to elderly women. An investigation into the possibility of brittle bone disease would not be inappropriate; could there be an underlying parathyroid deficiency, for example. In any event, I'd give thought to best calcium for osteoporosis; from your food; in tablet form it raises the incidence of heart disease because of deposition in the coronary arteries. See our osteoporosis page in the navigation bar on your left. Enjoying kefir benefits every morning for breakfast would be a simple beginning, and improve the health of your colon at the same time; it's a probiotic.

It will probably be quite sore for about two weeks; pray you don't get a cold! A sneeze or cough would be a nightmare; blowing your nose timeously will often preempt it. There will be no sequela; you will recover completely.

Please let me know in two or three weeks how you are doing; thank you for your query.

Dr B

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Dec 04, 2019
Help please NEW
by: Dominic

I went to a chiropractor today. He cracked the center of my back, then I felt my ribs cracked and I could not breath for about 15 seconds. He asked me to get up and after a few seconds, I felt fine. No pain, no sourness and my back pain was gone. An hour later I went to lean over, my back cracked and I felt sharp pain in my ribs. I feel fine now but I'm getting scared. Any advice?

Dec 04, 2019
Same thing
by: DJ

I went to a chiropractor today. He cracked the center of my back, then I felt my ribs cracked and I could not breath for about 15 seconds. He asked me to get up and after a few seconds, I felt fine. No pain, no sourness and my back pain was gone. An hour later I went to lean over, my back cracked and I felt sharp pain in my ribs. I feel fine now but I'm getting scared. Any advice?

Jun 01, 2019
chiropractor badly bruised my ribs on first visit by cracking my back... no heated packs first!
by: Mama

I’m in so much pain.... left his office a message to see if he could give me a RX to get chest X-rays but he was only in his far away office. So I had to drive myself to ER. They said I had Contusions in my ribs on right side under chest. So much pain... Doc text me twice saying he was sorry I got hurt but never called to talk to me! That was upsetting! Here it is over a week later & I'm in more pain than when it happened... wondering if I should get an MRI to get a better look; plus now I have some kind of respiratory infection complete with fever; think I got it from shallow breathing avoiding more pain. Ugh. I give up... go to a doc to get help with headaches & neck pain... leave with bruised ribs & no phone call at all! 😠

You've every right to be grumpy, Mama. Firstly that you were hurt and secondly that he didn't even bother to phone. I'm sure you won't, but don't go back.

The good news is that a contused rib, even a cracked rib will heal; it's usually painful for about two weeks. An MRI really won't contribute much.

Nasty that you have a fever, and coughing will certainly be very painful and even slow healing. See your doctor for some medication, even though it's probably viral and antibiotics won't help much. At least get some advice.

I'm afraid there isn't a chiropractor about who hasn't cracked a rib or two, including yours truly! It is self limiting. What's upsetting is his uncaring attitude. Inexcusable.

Be strong, you'll get over this, but it certainly is miserable for a couple weeks. An ice pack over the site of the injury will help.

Let us know how you get on.

Dr B

Jun 19, 2018
reply in 3 weeks
by: Neil

Bone density and heart attack!?

Now you are scaring me!

I know you are trying to help and educate me.

I will come back in 3 weeks to let you know how I am doing.

GOD bless you for your reply and help.

Thank you so much.

My pleasure, Neil, that's what this site is about.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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