How bad posture contributed to me loosing a rib.

I was recently given a really strong reminder on the importance of posture. We all know it's important, maybe it might cause your back/shoulder/arm/etc to hurt if you don't do it properly but we put off thinking about it because it's too hard or not that important. The following is a short account of how I was reminded,0 over the course of multiple surgeries and time off work that used up all my sick and annual leave with still more time off unpaid, just how important good posture is.

My reminder came in the form of a 15 cm subclavian blood clot in the left side of my chest. A combination of bad bone architecture, bad posture, compressing my chest cavity, and a little bad luck limited the blood flow through the subclavian vein (running between the collar bone and the first rib) causing a blood clot.

I reported prominent veins in my chest, some swelling in my left arm and some minor soreness under my arm to my GP and she sent me for x-rays and an ultra sound. The ultra sound technician called her and I was told to go straight to the emergency department at the hospital. After a typical wait in the emergency department I was admitted into hospital.

After seeing the surgeon she suggested clearing the clot followed by a 2nd surgery to remove the 1st rib to prevent further clots forming.

The clot removal needed to happen in the next week to have a good chance of success. The risks were reasonably severe with the anti clotting agent capable of causing life threatening bleeds in the brain or gut. Fortunately neither of these things happened.

The 2nd surgery was much less risky but much more painful, she made an incision under my arm and used a tool to nibble the bone of my 1st rib away, well 3/4 of it at least. This resulted in 4 weeks off work taking a lot of pain killers and a patch covering most of my underarm and some space on the back of my arm that will never have proper feeling again.

Now 7 weeks from the 2nd surgery my recovery is going well. I'm allowed to drive again and I'm looking for a physio to help out with better posture, getting my strength and the last of my movement back.

In the end better posture, say not hunching over a laptop, would have helped to prevent much of this. I've written this down to remind me, and anyone who reads it, that there is real world consequences to having bad posture.


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