Diagnosis Index

Musculoskeletal, Strained Muscle or Bruised Rib

Muscle strain is injury to muscle as a result of strenuous activity. When a muscle is pulled too far one or more fibers inside the muscle will rupture. This is called a pulled muscle, a strained muscle or a torn muscle. A case where the muscle is torn apart totally is called a muscle rupture. This is seen rarely, because it requires a lot of force, and consequently this condition is more serious. A pulled or strained muscle with fiber damage is a very common condition which often occurs in sport, especially after insufficient warming up. Damage to muscle fibers may be seen also in other situations where the muscle is stretched too far. The older you get the greater is the risk of muscle injury by tear and strain. Symptom of muscle strain include the following: swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts as a consequence of the injury; pain at rest; pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used; weakness of the muscle or tendons (A sprain, in contrast, is an injury to a joint and its ligaments.); and inability to use the muscle. First line treatment can begin at home. You may take over the counter non-steroid anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil) to reduce the pain. If you are unable to take NSAIDS, you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle. Here’s how: Protect the strained muscle from further injury. Rest the strained muscle. Avoid the activities that caused the strain and other activities that are painful. Ice the muscle area (15-20 minutes every hour while awake). Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving agent. Never place ice or heat directly on the skin, always have a barrier. Compression can be a gently applied with an Ace or other elastic bandage, which can provide both support and decrease swelling. Do not wrap tightly. Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling. Prop up a strained leg muscle while sitting, for example. Activities that increase muscle pain or work the affected body part are not recommended until the pain has significantly gone away. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider to examine the injury and determine the extent injury, if crutches or a brace is necessary for healing, if you need x rays or other imaging, if you need to restrict your activity, take days off work, and if rehabilitation exercises are required to help you recover.
BRUISED RIBS: The ribcage supports the upper body, protects internal organs, including the heart and lungs, and assists with breathing. Rib injuries include bruises, torn cartilage and bone fractures. Common causes of rib injury include motor vehicle accidents and falls. Treatment aims to relieve pain while the injury heals. The symptoms of rib injuries depend on the type and severity of the injury, but can include: pain at the injury site; pain when the ribcage flexes – with movement, with a deep breath or when you cough, sneeze or laugh; crunching or grinding sounds (crepitus) when the injury site is touched or moved; muscle spasms of the ribcage; deformed appearance of the ribcage; and breathing difficulties. Unlike bones of the arms and legs, broken ribs can’t be set in a cast. Treatment aims to relieve pain while the injury heals, which can take up to six weeks (in the case of fracture), and 12 weeks or more if the rib has been torn from the cartilage. Treatment for bruised ribs is the same as for fractured ribs, but with a shorter recovery time. Treatment plan is similar to muscle strain and includes rest, NSAIDS, and in some case prescription pain medicines, ice packs, avoiding activity that aggravates the injury. It is important to consult your healthcare provider to confirm your diagnosis especially if you experience chest pain or trouble breathing, as more serious conditions can cause these symptoms. If you sustained rib injury or to your chest and develop trouble breathing or increasing pain in your chest seek medical attention immediately.