Recovering from pneumothorax/rib injury

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Hi folks. Last Tuesday had an off road mountain bike crash, thrown from bike onto my left side. Spent 2 nights in hospital as the x-ray showed up a small pneumothorax. Lots of pain in the left side, they could not find broken ribs. Sent home after a second x-ray showed nothing getting worse. Now have prescription for Naproxen anti-inflammatory, Omeprazole (to offset what the Naproxen does to your tummy), and paracetemol. My job is home and desk based so sitting up and keeping still works, and try to remember to do breathing exercises. The nights are very difficult, I can only sleep in one position, on the right side, opposite to where the injury is. Spoke to a pharmacist when Friday night was pretty bad. They told me I could take Cocodomol for 3 days on a night time. That night I tripped on my garden path and pitched over a little, did not fall onto the side, but even that jolt alone set me back, took a while to get to sleep that night, and then was shattered and slept in bits going back off an hour or so at a time from 1am until midday the next day. I don't recall the last time I ever stayed in bed til midday. So that was yesterday. Last night stayed in bed for 6-7 hours and it felt marginally better today, though I can't do much really, any movements are painful.

At this point nearly a week later, I am seeing the doctor tonight. So would be grateful for advice on what I should cover with him. I can now pinpoint where the pain is more, so can point him to that, maybe he can feel it and get a better idea if there really is a cracked rib. Also my rib cage when i look down at my torse, and my wife looks at it is noticeably still more pronounced than the other side, as if the whole thing is shifted. As far as the pneumothorax is concerned I am not getting shortness of breath and as the second x-ray saw no decline the hospital view was this would naturally right itself now. I wish there was a way to make this less painful but I realise with ribs its just tough and takes time.

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  • Posted

    Moring h9000; yes any rib/pnuemothorax will take upto 6 weeks to heal....the pnuemothorax can heal faster, expecially as being only small (and did they not put in a drain?).....the ribs, if broken, will take 6 weeks, and can only heal if alighned correctly, and supported  (in OLD days, we bound them them tape)....make sure you support your lung area with a pillow, when doing your Deep breathing exercises, and try to cough after doing the Deep Breaths...just a gentle cough to endure any residual phlegm etc is moved/coughed up.......it would probably be a Good idea to have another check x-ray this week to ensure that all is healing well.....ask your GP/dr to order one....and Do mention that you had another fall, that would encourage him to order another x-ray?????         good luck......Bron
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    • Posted

      hi just read this and met GP last night so did not ask for another x-ray. I will wait a little and see how things are. I am doing the cough as you suggest, I only seem to need to keep a hand on my side when I do that, and don't need the pillow doing the breathing already, so making improvements. A couple of days ago any sort of cough was agony so can see there has been improvements yesterday. Last night was not a severely painful night for the second night, and no cocodomol last night.

      The only other thing I showed the GP last night he found strange was that my rib cage at the front on the side that had the impact is noticably more pronounced than the other side. He raised an eyebrow but did not say anything was needed.

      So for now keeping going the same, go steady, keep taking the anti-inflams / paracet, I work from desk at home and this is keeping things reasonably still and allowing it to heal up a bit. Hoping this consolidates things over a few more days. I'll also aim to do a light 10-15 minute walk around my village each day to see how that feels, I know at the moment you can feel every step in the soreness on the side, but breathing is fine.

       

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  • Posted

    morning h9000; just another short question....I am Assuming that when they x-rayed your ribcage, that they did so from Different angles?.....took more than one x-ray, and ensured that there was no breaks under the arm etc?      Bron
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    • Posted

      No, just the one on the torso, you draw in a full breath of air and stand with your chest against the sensor.

      Was exhausted last night, probably slept at least 8 hours, surprising as I did not take Cocodomol last night and am still in some pain in bed.

      Today sat at the desk its a constant dull pain today. But in general feels a bit more managable. GP wanted me to keep with the anti-inflams at least until the script runs out, so another week minimum. The Paracetemols are run out now but I am not convinced they make much difference so I will see how I am without them today.

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    • Posted

      Morning h9000;   yes that is why I asked re the "side view".....if there ?Maybe a fracture on side of ribs (am asking cause of a fracture of ribs known as Flail Ribs)....then it maybe the cause of the "abnormal" chest.....but I feel that you would be not improving if this was the case......but it still should have been done at First x-ray.....all views taken....in my day it was the norm......and yes, I agree that the Normal Panadol won't help much (it is a Mild form of pain relief....usually only used for minor pain.....but is also a first line of anti-inflammortory...especially for Arthrites)......hoping that you continue to improve, and see how you are at the 6 weeks stage......let me know if any more probs.....and I do feel that if not happy, ask for another x-ray, to ensure ALL is ok.....even if healed, it will probably be an issue for a long time, as we are never back to our Original state after any breaks/ops etc...............good luck......Bron
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    • Posted

      Thanks again Bron. A day without paracetemol yesterday was not particularly different. Only found when I woke up at about 6am today I was in quite a bit of pain, more or less than other days, hard to tell but I felt the need to take one cocodomol which did help.

      Increasingly getting a very achy back towards end of a day now, and some minor tummy soreness on the side where the lung issue was. Feels sort of like your muscles have had a work out there if that makes sense. None of it feels like enough to go back to doctors, maybe just need to be watchful of it.

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    • Posted

      don't know if anyone out there reading this. hoping so. pain in injured rib area is worse again, woke me up shouting out in pain from presumably twisting my torso in my sleep, twice last night. and sitting here working at my desk dull pain never stops now, and when I get up to do anything I am having to keep as straight up as possible and only use my right arm to lift stuff. I had been able to lift my 5 year old out of her  bed gently for a couple of days and now I can't again. Not sure what to do, whether to keep going for now or see doc again. He did say it could potentially feel worse for up to 10 days, and I am at day 10 today.
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    • Posted

      Hi h9000;   Yes I have been following through, and had written a reply after last note a couple of days ago, but it seems to have got lost in the computer system (which makes me b...annoyed, as I just about get finished and then it disappears)......I had asked re "if any shoulder-tip pain on affected side"...if so then you DO , indeed, need to see dr and have Spleen Scanned....this is often an issue with bike accidents, as the spleen area gets caught by the handle bars, and can cause a Small Tear...which does not always show up immediately  (can take upto 10+ days).....and as now that you are deteriorating, Yes please, either go back to the hospital where you were an inpatient (if it is public, or if private, ensure they have an Emergency Dr to visit immediately 24 hrs).......you should be improving, not getting worse pain.....and DON'T BE FOBBED OFF....demand that scan of L) side of Abdomen, and re-x-ray ribs with both Front and Side Views (checking for Flail Ribs??)..........am Really thinking of you...Bron
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    • Posted

      Thanks once again Bron. Since my last message there its been seeming to improve a bit again. More hopeful now. Have had 3 ok nights and 2 ok days. The weekend was busier with plenty going on with the kids where normally I would be more physically active but even so I was doing some things that I could not have done a couple of days earlier. Best to see how things go for 2-3 more days, tentatively feels like I might be turning the corner.

      Two main concerns would like to understand better but doc has not offered detail. Firstly, it would appear my rib cage on the left side is entirely shunted and now the left and right are not symmetrical as they were before. Not sure if that should be a cause for concern, and it now might always be like that? Secondly, I still get the bubbling/popping in the chest at about 8pm each night. No pain but a pretty loud noise, and so far no-one has explained what it might be, except my doctor nephew suggested could still be air between lung and wall of body that is being cleared in the recovery process.

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    • Posted

      Morning h9000;  this could be the case.....as there is what is called "the Pleural Cavity" between lung and ribs.....it is a "space" to stop the ribs rubbing against the rib-cage........(I presume you have heard of Pleurisy"..that is where an infection gets into this cavity.....and Yes, maybe the hole in your lung may not be completely closed/healed....and air from your lungs is  "popping" at times.....I still hope that the "poweres that be" do another x-ray of fib-cage (both front on, and side-view)....side-view is where they get you to stand against the "board" side-ways, and "hold your arms stretched out, raising as musch as possible, above your shoulders.....sometimes holding onto a Drip-pole helps".......this will definately show where and what ribs are broken, and if Pneumothorax is healed????........sounds good that you are feeling an improvement.....Bron
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    • Posted

      Hi again. Playing things by ear still. Had a day off anti inflammatories yesterday and did notice pain more but bearably. Felt the need for a day off them to detox. Rested OK last night, took one cocodomol more as a precaution. See how today goes. The popping I have not noticed for a couple of days. I have driven the car twice on short journeys. All tentative stuff so far but seems like progress.
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    • Posted

      Hi h9000; that sounds very good............I know when we have had a very nasty scare with an accident (as you have had.....a Pneumothorax is not a "light issue" ), but when you are starting to feel as if things are getting better/healing, then our attitude also improves......I do hope this continues for you...........type again in a week or so, and let me know how things progress............good lucksmile  Bron
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    • Posted

      hi Bron update for you. I suppose this is very slowly improving. I am not using Anti-inflams and Paracet that much, maybe slightly more again on the encouragement of the doctor to enable me to do more when otherwise pain/discomfort might stop me. I had two days out over the Bank Holiday weekend which involved reasonable enough amount of walking that I know would have been very hard a week earlier. Doctor resisting another x-ray at the moment and want to assess where I am after another couple of weeks, which would be 5 weeks since the injury. He has put me on the physio wait list anyway just to get the process started.
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