“Woman Breaks Her Own Ribs Crawling Through Cave”

That’s what I thought the headline would read.  It was my first time ever on a cave crawl.  When I got to the low ceiling and could no longer crawl on my knees I had to do the army crawl (belly crawl.)  That’s when I dislocated my ribs for the second time in 2 days.

I had done the same thing 2 days prior practicing this belly crawl on the living room floor but on the opposite side of my ribs.  That side was feeling somewhat better when I did it again in the cave.

I did this by cleverly (and incorrectly) placing my lower arm between my ribs and the floor (elbow at my waist) instead of having my arm out from my body (like a real army crawler would have done.)

The ribs “popped” at the breastbone and the surrounding muscles and tissues became very sore.  There are lots of short muscles between the ribs and they don’t like being stretched as they were when my ribs “flipped.”

I started to heal in a few days and then I slept on my side and caused the ribs to move again on one side.  (Rats!)

Now I realize that I will be sleeping on my back for several weeks until the ribs are fully healed.

Sometimes I hear/feel little pops as the ribs re-seat themselves or shift.  If they won’t stay seated on their own, I will wrap them.  I may also consider having a manual chiropractic adjustment.

I figured that since I knew which movement I had done to dislocate them, that pressing against the ribs in the opposite direction might help them go back into place.  This has helped as there is less popping and the muscle pain has settled down again.

Here’s the link to an article that tells several other ways ribs can be dislocated.


I have been using lots of deep breathing into all the parts of my lungs as well as belly breathing, subtle stretches and movements to keep the rib muscles relaxed and allow the ribs to move back into place.

I used some of my favorite liniment, too.

I did have a very gentle chiropractic adjustment to the spine with a little thumping device.  And I spent 8 minutes on a “rolly table” at the chiropractor’s office.  It rolled up and down the spine.  I liked that.

I also spent lots of time thoughtfully pressing into the tender muscles from armpit to breastbone with my fingertips and palm.  I also used ice when the injury was new.

I remember about 25 years ago when I received a bear hug.  I thought it broke a rib but now I realize it simply displaced it at the sternum (breastbone) just like this.  It healed and this will, too.

Bodies are really smart.  They heal.  Even from dislocated ribs.


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