Rib subluxation or contusion

Rib subluxation or contusion as diagnosis from doctors

The incident in question occurred early in the morning November 28, 2013, and it is now the 31st of December. It is kind of an embarrassing situation, and believe me, it will not happen again. It was very stupid on my part to have let it happen to begin with, but I will not lie to you as far as what happened. All I'm gonna say is that I took a direct blow to the chest from a heavyset man laying against me. (We weren't doing what you might think, but he was kissing me.) It just sort of happened out of the blue, but I will regret it forever; I felt a "pop" on the left side of my ribcage in the front, which I found out to be mostly cartilage.

I could see a visual difference as far as a protrusion on the left side of my ribcage compared to the right, no visible bruises though. What happened was that within a few hours after this occurred, I became very nauseous and sick and finally decided to go to the emergency room. They gave me a shot for nausea and a shot for rib pain, which helped for the moment.

After having xrays done, they told me there were thankfully no breaks or fractures. Also, I was told you can't visually see anything out of the ordinary on the xrays; that everything looked normal. So why is there a very visible protrusion from my chest, and if I could see it right away after this happened, could inflammation occurred that quickly? Or what else could be going on? I understand that rib injuries take time to heal. It's just I want to understand thoroughly exactly what I'm in for. I did go to a chiropractor where he didn't do a whole lot for me, saying that with bone and cartilage joints, it just takes time to heal. He also told me that everything was where it was supposed to be. It's been over a month since it happened now, and the visible protrusion looks exactly the same as it did when it happened. At the moment I do not have a job, so I've been able to take it as easy as possible with plenty of rest, etc.

I'm also starting to cold compress the area for 20 minutes 3 times a day, taking painkillers twice a day. But what if this doesn't clear it up? Will I have that for the rest of my life? I'm so worried right now about this that I'm literally sick to my stomach. I just wish I knew where to go get real answers. I want to see for myself on xrays what the issue is, but if I can't see anything, does it mean it's the inflammation only and that it will heal, or not?

Throughout the past month, I've had episodes where it's been difficult to breathe, shooting pain in the rib area, and muscle aches, etc. In the beginning I had trouble sleeping, finding a good position to sleep in, I usually sit upright because I'd find it harder to breathe lying flat. I suffer less when I'm up and moving around as to being stationary and resting for long periods of time. I was prescribed to take pills, so I've taken a large amount of pills, which some have made me very, very sick. At the moment I'm taking 2 ibuprofen each day. I guess the main question I have is that if I keep icing the wounded area and taking painkillers will this protrusion heal and the swelling go away in time? I think it's the not knowing that is worrying me. If I knew kind of a time frame, I may be able to put my mind at rest. If this stays like it is, would surgery be something I should consider to fix the issue? I don't even want to consider that, but. Please, please help me and advise me on what to do to get this cleared up. I will do whatever it takes. Thank you for your help and anything else that you can recommend.

Indeed a very unfortunate incident. I take you were either squeezed very hard, or punched or assaulted in some way. If so, you should lay charges. It's the only way men learn.

You have almost certainly had a cracked rib or rib cartilage. Perhaps actually fractured, difficult to see on plain xray. A ct scan or bone scan would show it up.

Seeing that there's a visible change in the contour of the rib, I'd assume it was fractured, so manipulation of any sort before the end of January would be unwise. An activator treatment might be okay.

And then, very important, an anterior to posterior chiropractic adjustment should only be done very gently. It could well worsen the costo chondral joint injury. Hyperextension adjustments are safer.

How well will it heal? It's impossible to be sure, but you can expect to be sore for at least six weeks. If there was any injury to the joints between the rib in question and the spine, it must be adjusted, just not until the bone has headed.

What will help is lying on the side, painful side up. Ask someone to massage gently between the ribs, right from the spine to the breastbone.

Go on with the ice, but limit anti inflammatories; they actually inhibit healing.

Of concern is whether this turns into a Tietze's syndrome. Use the search this site at chiropractic help to find it.

Let us know in a month or two how you are getting on.

Dr b

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Feb 06, 2015
Slipped Rib.
by: Salem

This sounds exactly like a slipped rib. If you have a protrusion at the sternochondrral intersection at the anteriomedial aspect of the rib you can suspect 3 things, broken rib, slipped rib, dislocated rib. If your x-ray is clear, assuming your internist has seen a few spine x-rays and isnt missing anthing, as stated above by Dr. B, hyperextension adjustments will be the least painful. If it works, you will notice immediate neurogenic relief accompanied by soreness local to the capsule and general muscular soreness. Keep in mind........if this rib has been subluxed for longer than a few days, you can almost expect a hypermobility issue and will become great friends with your chiropractor. 2 things of point, you can effectively mobilize and adjust your ribs by laying supine over a firm 6" diameter foam roll positioning the foam roll just below the area of back pain, hands clasped behind head or across chest and gently extend over the foam roll. Also of note, this is a way better idea after a good back strengthening workout when you are nice and warm. 6am as soon as you wake up when you have extremely tight muscles from prolonged static positioning is going to be the most ineffective time to attempt to adjust your rib as it would likely take that big man jumping on top of you to get enough force. With that said, after the adjustment or repetitive adjustments, postural back stabilization exercises are indicated to improve posture and to use tone to make up for ligamentous laxity to stabilize your ribs.

Thanks for this Dr Salem.

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