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Broken Ribs Advice!

I broke 3 ribs on June 9th, and after a month I started doing normal activities like mowing the lawn, trimming the shrubs, and lifting weights lightly. I somehow got a hemothorax and ended up with 3 liters of blood in my body cavity. I had a chest tube put in, and spent a week in the trauma unit. I was apparently close to death if I had went to sleep that night. I instead went to the E.R. and that didn’t happen. I want to start lifting again, but don’t know what to do. My doc said I would be good in 6 weeks, but I don’t think his idea of working out is like mine. I like Olympic lifts strongman implements, and Hypertrophy work. Has anyone had any experience with anything like this? I don’t want to end up in the hospital again!

I would like to add that I have never taken more than a week off from lifting, and that was on vacation. I am desperate to get back, but I’m scared guys!

What are you afraid of?

Of getting another hemothorax. I wasn’t doing strenuous activity by any means, but it caused it last time.

Probably this…

Anyway, a delayed hemothorax following fractured ribs, while not frequent, is not exactly rare. There’s no reason to think you now have any increased risk, though, assuming the physician actually examining you has cleared you.

My $0.02 would be to start back slowly. Don’t do Olympic lifting variations day one - they’re explosive, so it’s not like you can stop when something doesn’t feel good. I also wouldn’t do real heavy strongman type movements, because it’s going to be difficult to distinguish good pain from bad pain.

I would not do a program, beyond maybe “today is back day”. I’d go to the gym and do whatever I feel like on machines and cables, stop when you think you’re at 80% of what you think you can do. These movements are safe and slow enough you can evaluate how they affect your breathing as you go. Progress up to dumbbells, then barbells, then your regular stuff.

As a disclaimer, I’m neither a healthcare provider nor a physical therapist; I’m some dude on the Internet, so heed me with caution.

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This may or may not be true. My very surface level understanding of a brief review says they aren’t common enough to universally assign common risk factors outside of “post-fracture.” It’s also possible your original fracture compromised the integrity of some body wall to the point where just putting your shirt on that morning was the final straw.

Okay good, I wanted to make sure this wasn’t you being afraid of not training for 6 weeks…

I’d +1 what @TrainForPain said. I’d focus on getting lots of pumps with isolated exercises, where you can control your ribcage position as much as possible and breathe under control as well. BFR (blood flow restriction) might be beneficial also

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