Has anyone had pain from coughing?

Recently Mike got a hernia from the force of his coughing, so he uses a back support belt (the kind used for heavy lifting) which has helped. But he just spent a week in the hospital on major pain meds for infection and possible cracked ribs/torn muscles. He's at home now, still on pain meds which reduce but don't eliminate the pain. If it's too painful to cough, he can't clear his lungs. Pain meds aren't a long-term solution, especially since he wants to get back to work. Has anyone else had this kind of issue? If so, any suggestions to reduce pain/damage? Thanks! Karen

4 Replies

  • I have cracked ribs three times now. First time over 20 years ago falling from a step ladder, I was not high up. The second time was through coughing about three years ago and then 10 days ago through stretching and twisting awkwardly trying to reach something behind a sofa.

    Each time I have been reviewed by a doctor and physiotherapist after being x-rayed. Basically the only thing you can do is take painkillers and brace yourself when doing physio.

    Try to time the painkillers so they are giving pain relief at the time of physio. The first time I was advised to use a hand towel and put the length of it around the back, where the ribs hurt, then cross the towel at the front and hold each end in each hand. When needing to cough pull on the towel to brace the ribs. It definitely helps a bit, but physio will still hurt and any coughing in general. I am still doing physio though (with the towel) as I don't want further problems, it's a case of grin and bear it...ouch! It will get better.

    Good luck to your hubby!

  • Thanks Terry! The towel idea is a good one, we hadn't heard of that. The pain is getting slowly better, thanks! Recovery takes time, and we're trying to be patient! :)

  • When I was in my twenties I had my appendix removed and had a huge surgical scar which had been staple up. I am allergic to most pain medication so chest physio became a nightmare. My physio-therapist suggested that I use a pillow and hold it tight up to the surgical cute right before I coughed to aide in the physio therapy. It worked and made a difference when I coughed. Many years later I ended up getting another surgery slightly on my scar on my stomach again but this I was prepared so the second time around was not as bad. Physio therapist sometimes know how to help is what I say sometimes and I now value their profession even more.

  • Thanks for the pillow idea! Very helpful. He's back in the hospital again though because not coughing worsened his infection. Changed antibiotics and seems to be improving! Planning on going home again Monday!

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