Torn intercostal from Overhead Press???

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    diablosho's Avatar
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    Angry Torn intercostal from Overhead Press???


    So, is this even possible? The Urgent Care doc said she *thinks* (no X-Rays/MRI's were ordered) I tore "at least one intercostal muscle", and "pulled a trapezius" and "both lats", and "possibly fractured or broke a rib"...she didn't seem too confident and was basically rushing me out the door, so I want to get your opinions on the matter. Plus, it seems *highly* unlikely that I did all that damage to myself (torn intercostals, pulled traps AND lats, and possibly fractured a rib???), considering I'm very strict on form and I'm not exactly new to the exercises I do.

    Basically, I did the standing barbell over-head press (lighter than usual @ 115-lbs; going for more reps), and somewhere around set 3 or 4 it became very difficult to breathe deep (stabbing pain in lungs, but *only* when breathing past the normal amount). I just wrote it off to a cramp or something and kept going on to do deadlifts, dumbbell presses, seated-rows, pull-ups, etc (all of which, except deadlifts and dumbbell presses, hurt to perform but ONLY upon beginning each rep...once the rep was underway the pain was gone).

    Well, by the time I got home I thought I was dying. So I went to Urgent Care (felt like I had a bone stabbing me in the back of my lungs, and I couldn't really move in any way without stabbing pain, like a broken rib). No one there seemed too concerned, and basically just took my money and sent me along without any information.

    Has this happened to anyone else before? Have you *ever* heard of someone bruising a rib from exercising?!? I was thinking it was more likely to be that I pulled my Serratus Anteriors, since my pain follows those muscles (pain at shoulder-blades and ribs)...is that a more likely scenario?

    I am just trying to figure out how bad it would be for me to keep working out (within my limits, of course). And hopefully to figure out how to not do this again...

    Thanks y'all! Have a great day!
    --Brian

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    Sounds like you need to go to the hospital or see your doctor ASAP.
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    I tried that...they don't seem concerned...

    They basically told me that if it was a muscle issue it'd heal on it's own, if it was a bone issue it'd heal on it's own, and if it was anything else it'd heal on it's own...not really sure what else I can do, since I actually was Triaged to the Surgical section of the Urgent Care (which is actually AT my Kaiser Permanente Hospital)! That's what the Surgical Doctor suggested...

    To be honest, I think that once she saw my Medical History and saw that I was on Fentanyl patches for 5 years (until I came off of them 2.5 months ago), she assumed I was drug-seeking. The tone of our overall conversation took a DRAMATIC change once she saw them in the computer and asked me about them.
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    They're correct, there is nothing you'd do to treat those injuries.

    It's possible but unlikely you broke a rib from overhead presses but that sounds most consistent with your symptoms.

    I think it's unlikely you tore an intercostal.
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    A strain anywhere in the back feels like hell. Ice the spot a couple times a day, rest (and resist the urge to stretch it a whole lot), and eat good things. I'd wait a couple days before working out again, but doing something that doesn't involve the injury would be preferable when you start again. If you're going to learn from my mistakes: The absence of pain does not mean the injury is healed. It's going to take a couple months to be back to normal.
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    Thanks KrisL and Mystere3 for your responses!

    I went to the gym on Wed., and the only exercise I could not do was the seated-row (out of squats, bench-press, dumbbell-press, cable tricep extensions, seated rows, and weighted pullups). But every other exercise was virtually pain-free (I figured squats would kill me, but I never once even felt my rib pain)...

    I'll just keep working out (but keep it lower intensity) unless it starts to feel counterproductive to do so. Thanks again guys!
    --Brian
  

  
 

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