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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone trauma and fractures

Question: Broken 11th rib 5 month ago and still severe pain

 torqtec - Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:58 pm

5 month ago, in August I fell at work on a transmission jack landing on a 1/2" round 2"long spike. Besides the severe pain, I have numbness in my left leg. The doctor ordered a CT scan of the thoracic spine and a MRI of the C-spine;nothing showed up on the imaging;it wasn't until 1 1/2 month had gone buy when a regular Xray was taken and showed a brake in the 11th rib. I am currently seeing a pain management doctor. I was told initialy that would take about 8 weeks to heal; it's now 21 weeks later and I still have severe pain below the fracture between the 11th and 12th rib , the 11th rib from the fracture point to the tip also has pain, and also have pain radiating through my left side from back to front just below my rib cage. All my pain management doctor wants to do is give me more methodone and mask the pain. I would like to get to the bottom of it. Is there any other test that could or should be done to help me with this ? My family doctor feels that a CT scan should be done in the affected area and another doctor I saw recomended MRI of the area should be done because there is visible signs of tissue loss on my back below the fracture. Neither one are the overseing physician so they can not order these tests.
Please help me get to the bottom of this. I am tired of the pain pills and I just want to find it and fix it. Thank you.
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:36 pm

User avatar Since you have left sided pain from a rib fracture and left leg numbness, an MRI of the rib cage and lumbar spine would be a good choice.
It would be important for a physician to check the reflexes, sensation, and strength of the legs to correlate any MRI findings with your physical status.
It is worthwhile considering the lumbar spine as a source of pain since the rib fracture should have healing by now and the mechanism was a fall with perhaps a twisting motion.

Certainly, it sounds like the muscles between the rib are still tender. Does ice or heat help?

Physical therapy may be in order to assess the ribs and back. Some therapist have specialized training in adjusting rib back to their normal position. You would need to call around to find a therapist who has this skill since all therapist are not trained alike.

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