Could My Ribs Be Broken After A Whole Year?

Hello Everyone,

Back and Rib pain

This week I got a letter from a person who injured their back and ribs after they were thrown from their horse. They were seen by a Chiropractor but sounds as if they were never given an xray or diagnosed with broken ribs by xray, just a hunch. She asks, “can my ribs still be broken after a year and if not, what could be causing my pain to come back from time to time?”

Though I’m not a doctor and surely wouldn’t want to diagnose this, I will share some of my thoughts from a paramedics viewpoint.
The possibility that one or more of your ribs were broken is very likely, especially because it only takes a relatively small amount of pounds per square inch of pressure to fracture a rib.

You may have strained the intercostal muscles and even irritated some of the many nerves that run along the ribs.  All of which could cause a great deal of discomfort and when that effected rib is pushed on, twisted or bumped again, it could even cause a re-injury of the same fracture point or muscle or cartilage.
Sometimes it turns out worse when we don’t get a good solid diagnosis from a doctor, because we can only guess what could be causing the pain and discomfort. Others may think we’re not really injured and insist on regular activities that could re-injure or aggravate the same injury.

If after a year, you are still feeling pain, pops, “crunchy” sounds on certain movements, I would strongly suggest that you get into your family doctor and let them know when this happened(how long ago),  how it happened, how you were treated after it happened, any times where you may have twisted funny, landed wrong or re-bumped or re-injured the same painful area. I would imagine that they may want to take a series of xrays to get to the bottom of what’s causing the discomfort or pain.
I do think you’re justified in wanting to be seen. Pain is the way our bodies help us understand that something is not right and we should pay attention to it.

I hope this helps and I hope you get back to your normal functions without pain very soon!

Best Wishes,