A brief story from my first experience of a rib injury – My popping rib!

This page contains all the frequently asked questions about rib dislocation that people are asking from all around the world! I recall how disappointed I was when I found out how little information was available online when I first experienced a dislocated rib!

I have a popping rib syndrome, meaning my rib head would occasionally “pop” out its joint, at first, I didn’t know what pain I was experiencing, I thought I was having a heart attack!

The pain was excruciating, I was scared, I was in pain and at the same time, I was shaking! I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t breathe, every attempt I made to inhale was accompanied by so much pain, I thought I was going to die.

During that same instant, I felt something on my chest, the lower part of my rib cartilage, (the 10th rib) a little bulge, my rib was protruding right under my skin, that’s when I bravely used my thumb (I think) and push the rib right back inside! Oh and luckily for me, this episode lasted for only a minute or two, the most painful minutes of my life at that moment!

That was when I started researching rib dislocation, subluxation, fracture, and other rib injuries, and rib-related syndromes!

And seeing how many questions people ask daily on google, I decided to pill up those questions, research medically-approved answers then put them together for you right here, because who wants to search through google pages when he/she is in pain? No one!

Frequently asked questions about rib dislocation, rib pains, symptoms and treatments

Are dislocated ribs common?

Dislocated ribs are common, yet they are one of the most under-studied, under-researched aspects of the human skeletal system. The application of a hot/cold compress would reduce the inflammation on some occasions.

Are dislocated ribs dangerous?

Depending on the seriousness of your injury, a dislocated rib may either be dangerous and life-threatening, while some rib dislocation injuries are subtle and may only require a visit to a chiropractor in order to pop the rib back into place.

My first experience with rib “popping out” was one of the scariest moments of my life.

Since the ribs house our body’s vital organs, any injury must be taken seriously.

If you’ve had an intense blunt force to the chest area, or badly landed on your chest or the back of your chest while falling off from a high position, then you must call the ambulance for an ER visit.

Can you break your rib from coughing?

Can you dislocate a rib from coughing?

Whether you ask “can you break your rib from coughing? or can you dislocate a rib from coughing?” the answer is still the same!

This is a question that has been asked several times by people who suddenly feellt a “pop” or “crackle sound on their chest during or after bad flu.

The pain gets worse with every coughing bout.

The human rib cage, although built sturdy, may suffer from wear and subluxation, particularly from bad posture.

when this “wear” is present and depending on the extent of the wear, any little “force” (both external and internal (in this case cough) or sudden movement might cause the ribs to pop out, dislocate, fracture, or subluxate.

Coughing involves the working-together of many muscles and this process exerts a lot of “force”, this force and a “worn” out rib could cause the rib to become dislocated. So, YES! You can dislocate a rib from coughing! a bad cough is indeed one of the causes of rib dislocation.

can you dislocate a rib on the back?

Yes, posterior rib dislocations are just as possible as the exterior(front) rib dislocation. Depending on the location of the causative force, a person can dislocate any of the 12 ribs. Sometimes rib separation might occur due to a person’s bad posture, This is the reason why medical personnel is always advising on the importance of a good posture, either while sitting, standing, or lying.

what does a dislocated rib look like?

Asking about what does a dislocated rib look like? This is a difficult question. Let me explain,

The appearance of the dislocated rib would depend on the type of rib that was dislocated. Floating ribs are known for their tendency for dislocation. I’ll use the floating rib as an example to describe how the injury site may look like if it’s dislocated.

I’ve experienced a dislocated floating rib, and when that happened to me, there was a protrusion on the area where the rib popped out from, imagine poking a finger from underneath your skin. During my first episode, (yes, I’ve had many more after that) the pain, at first was unbearable as I tried to breathe.

However, I gained more experience with my popping rib, I learned how to manage the pain and what to do whenever it pops out. Here’s what I do:

  • First, I take very slow, long, deep breaths; if your breathing rate increases due to the panic, the pain increases with it too.
  • Then, I find a comfortable position, in most cases, lying down with my head elevated is the best for me.
  • Using my thumb, I gently push the protrusion inward, as I continued my breathing system.
  • That’s it, the rib goes back to its original location.
  • Trust me, I’ve done this for more than a dozen times.

What does a dislocated rib feel like?

When you experience a subluxated rib, you will feel pain, shape pain when you try to breathe in, and you will feel a high level of discomfort when you try to either touch the area or move your body in a twisting movement.

Is it possible to dislocate a rib?

Yes, it is. Not only is it possible to dislocate a rib, in addition, some people experience it more than others, for example, the elderly, athletes, pregnant women.

Can dislocated ribs heal themselves?

Yes, some dislocated ribs can heal themselves without any intervention. However, seeking advice and examination by a physician is recommended because dislocated ribs may lead to other secondary infections if not treated on time, and correctly.

what to do for a dislocated rib?

Please see your doctor in case of any rib injuries. There is information here on what to do for dislocated ribs too.

Is my rib out of place?

Do you feel sharp pain around your rib cage?

Do you have a protrusion around your chest?

Are you able to move your upper body in a twist motion?

If you answered Yes, Yes, and No, then chances are you have a rib out of place AKA subluxated rib injury and you may need to see a doctor as soon as possible. For more information, we recommend Subluxated Rib? Rib out of place? Discover why and fix now!

why do my ribs pop out?

Congratulations, you’re one of the many that have a popping rib syndrome, also known are slipping rib syndrome.