Medical Specialty >> Orthopedics

Doctors Lounge - Orthopedics Answers

Back to Orthopedics Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone trauma and fractures

Question: how to control muscle spasms from rib fracture?

 ribfracturman - Thu Dec 25, 2008 4:59 pm

how do I control muscle spasms resulting from broken or fractured ribs?
Ifell on ice, down two or three stairs, landed on my side. Pain when I breathe(left side only)very tender to touch at rib just inderneath left armpit, and alsotender bottom of rib cage. its now been two days- first day was painful but tolerable, as with most of 2nd day, toward end of 2nd day mucle spasms started(after I coughed once!) now the chest muscle spasms fairly often. Will this taper off? will pain get alot worse? taking advil for pain. How can I control them? note: I have found that if I can engage my ab muscles that the pain is helped, but after a while the lower back starts to get sore and tired then the spasms resume.
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:27 am

User avatar With rib fractures, it is important to control pain. If motrin alone is not working, consult with your physician for pain medicine. The muscle spasms result from the pain. Control the pain, control the spasm. If needed a prescription for a muscle relaxer can be effective.
Remember also, this is an increased risk of developing pneumonia and atelectasis (deflating of the alveoli) secondary to poor deep breathing and poor cough ability. All the more important to control the pain.
All the best to you. Keep us posted.
 ribfracturman - Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:19 am

thanks for responding Tom!
since my initial post- the pain became literally unbearable, I ended up going to emergency room. They gave me a shot of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, and a shot of "dalotid"? (not quite sure of the splelling) narcotic for the pain. Xrays came up negative- but attending physician said that there was a good chance the fracture(s) would not show up anyway. They sent me on my way with a presciption for oral Vicodin (500mg tablet-1 every 4-6 hrs as needed). i am trying to take the vicodin sparingly (every 5-6 hours or so) and the pain is bearable. How should I restrict physical activity? I realize i shouldnt do any sports etc... but just dayto day activities- should they be restricted in order to expedite the healing process? Also any suggestions regarding vitamin or mineral supplents that could speed up the healing process? any I should stay away from? your opinion on chest strap?
I am breathing as deeply as I can regularly, and trying to keep congestion clear etc....
Thanks in advance for any advice!!!
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:06 pm

User avatar Avoid:
heavy lifting
repetitive twisting, bending, or reaching
pushing and pulling

...until painfree. If there were fractures, these would take up to six weeks to heel. See your family physician for any work restrictions.

A chest strap is too restrictive.
Vitamins and minerals will not speed up healing unless you are deficient in calcium or Vit D. If you have a regular diet and in general good health, should not need supplements.

Keep us posted.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us