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  1. #1
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    Looking for advice on dealing with a cracked rib.

    So I cracked a rib in the back... just like I did last year. The crack is minor, the pain is real but not what is keeping off my bike. When I move just right the muscles around the rib spasm and that is unbearable. Last year when this happened I was able to ride 3 days after the accident, it hurt, but I was able to get the spasms under control. This time the spasm are worse even though the crack is not. I realize that this could have to do with how I landed but thought someone might have some advice.

    Currently I'm doing a lot of stretching, making sure I'm hydrated, and using some topical rubs that are supposed to loosen muscles up. Any ideas that might get me back on the bike faster?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIVER29 View Post
    So I cracked a rib in the back... just like I did last year. The crack is minor, the pain is real but not what is keeping off my bike. When I move just right the muscles around the rib spasm and that is unbearable. Last year when this happened I was able to ride 3 days after the accident, it hurt, but I was able to get the spasms under control. This time the spasm are worse even though the crack is not. I realize that this could have to do with how I landed but thought someone might have some advice.

    Currently I'm doing a lot of stretching, making sure I'm hydrated, and using some topical rubs that are supposed to loosen muscles up. Any ideas that might get me back on the bike faster?
    From your symptoms I believe what has happened is that the muscles surrounding your fractured rib tensed up to the point they were frozen. This is the bodies natural defense mechanism to prevent you from causing further disruption to the cracked rib and allow it to heal properly. Now that your cracked rib is healed you are left with muscles surrounding the rib that have been frozen for awhile and essentially forgotten how to function (flexion, contraction) this is where the spasm takes place.. motor neurons within the muscles firing uncontrolled due to muscle forgetting how to function. By doing slow range of motion exercises you will slowly reintroduce your muscles to normal function. It sounds like you are on right track. It takes time and they always say no full play until no pain otherwise re injury chances are greater. Try some muscle relaxing medication as well. Seeing a physio would give you well controlled guidance on exercise and stretching so you don't overdue it. Good luck..

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    Last edited by funnyjr; 04-24-2012 at 11:40 AM.

  3. #3
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    I had this with my recent fractures - it was rather unpleasant!! I even had my lateral obliques join in on the party.

    Physiotherapy - helped on my worst day - but I wanted to kick her in the head as it was super nasty while she worked on muscles - but pain and spasms had calmed down at end of session so as they say no pain, no gain!!

    HEAT - I got a wheat bag and that really seemed to calm it down.

    And if you have a bath that will help if its hot too.

    No doubt here are some antispasmodics on the drug front as well...

    It was really only a problems for about 4 days

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by funnyjr View Post
    From your symptoms I believe what has happened is that the muscles surrounding your fractured rib tensed up to the point they were frozen. This is the bodies natural defense mechanism to prevent you from causing further disruption to the cracked rib and allow it to heal properly. Now that your cracked rib is healed you are left with muscles surrounding the rib that have been frozen for awhile and essentially forgotten how to function (flexion, contraction) this is where the spasm takes place.. .... Try some muscle relaxing medication as well. Seeing a physio would give you well controlled guidance on exercise and stretching so you don't overdue it. Good luck..
    I've experienced this too. I agree that your body was used to protecting itself and you're going to need to gradually work the muscles back to a normal range of use. The last time I fractured ribs I did 4 on one side and it wasn't any fun breathing or doing anything for a long while.
    Authorities speculate that speed may have been a factor. They are also holding gravity and inertia for questioning.

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys! I put some heat on it last night and I do feel significantly better today. I'm not going to push it and see if I can go a couple of days without a spasm then maybe pedal some smooth trail and go from there.

  6. #6
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    In addition to what has been said BioFreeze helped me a lot last year when I broke my ribs, as well as using heat packs. My personal experiences with physical therapists have not been the greatest though and for something minor such as this incident I (personally) don't believe there would be a great benefit to paying someone to do things you can do easily yourself. Maybe go for one session to figure out specifically what kinds of stretches and exercises will be useful and then continue that regiment on your own.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDKmann View Post
    In addition to what has been said BioFreeze helped me a lot last year when I broke my ribs...
    Funny... the above mentioned topical rub = BioFreeze... had a good chiropractor turn me on to the stuff when I wrecked myself last year. Yeah, I don't see myself letting anyone try to physically rush my recovery except light massage. I feel that way about the muscle relaxers and other pharm. drugs... unless the pain is just over the top, I'm just trying to get back on my bike.

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