Did you know that you can hurt your ribs (or the muscles attached to your ribs) when coughing?
Recently, a friend contact me who had injured her ribs coughing. She was in a LOT of pain.
I feel for her - because I did the same thing 2 years ago. I had a nasty case of bronchitis and I was coughing pretty hard. You know the kind of coughing - where you cough so hard you feel like you are going to throw up?
Suddenly, I had a sharp pain in my side. And I knew instantly that I had pulled a muscle attached to my ribs.
I called my doctor, because I wanted to see if I was okay. Once at his office, he said it was probably a pulled muscle, and it was just going to take time to heal.
He had me take an over the counter pain killer, and use an ice pack for the first few days ( to control swelling). Then he had me switch to a heating pad (to relax the muscles.)
I also found that a little counter pressure helped too (gently pushing in on my ribs with a pillow while I coughed.)
Speaking of coughing - doctors usually WANT you to cough to clear the gunk out of your lungs. But he knew that if it hurt to breathe (or cough), that I would take shallow breaths. That could lead to an infection in my lungs (possibly pneumonia.)
So he gave me a prescription cough medicine (bless him!) to help control my cough.
Another reason to call your doctor is to see how bad you pulled a muscle. Did you know they have different levels of strains?
Grade 1 may take 2-3 weeks to heal.
Grade 2 may mean significant loss of motion and 2-3 months to recover.
Grade 3 means you tore a muscle and may need surgery :(
So, if you hurt your ribs from coughing, I'm so sorry - I feel for you! But maybe this information will help?
Your doctor will know what's best for you. So she should be your first call.