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Strike in the ribs: symptoms and recovery

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

In high-performance sports, a fall or a car accident can cause a blow to the ribs, causing minor or severe injuries depending on the intensity of the impact.

Symptoms after a blow to the ribs vary according to the type of impact injury. After any trauma to the ribs, a fissure or a complete rupture can be generated that will be evidenced in an x-ray, depending on the case. The patient may improve after one to six weeks.

In the following FastlyHealarticle, we inform you about all the symptoms and recovery from a blow to the ribs.

Symptoms of a hit in the ribs

The ribs are long and flattened bones that, together with the sternum and the spinal column, make up the so-called rib cage, which contains vital organs such as the heart and lungs, representing a protection system in this critical region.

The incidence of rib fractures ranges between 7% and 40%, according to an article published by Intramed [1].

Among the most common causes of a hit in the ribs, we find:

  1. The practice of high impact exercise: golfers, basketball players, weightlifters, athletes.
  2. Falls
  3. A car accident.
  4. Chronic cough.
  5. Weak bones

They can trigger a fissure (small cracks / slight openings of a bone) or complete rupture of any of the 24 ribs that make up the rib cage.

The symptoms of a blow to the ribs will depend on the impact of the injury and may include:

  • The characteristic pain in the rib in which the crash occurred can be mild or severe.
  • Increase in volume in the area where the rib fracture is located.
  • Pain in the rib cage when coughing.
  • Increased sensitivity in the thoracic region.
  • Chest pain when breathing
  • Pain when pressing on the sternum.
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Anxiety and restlessness.
  • Headache.
  • Tiredness and drowsiness
  • Pain that worsens when coughing.
  • Pain gets worse when you put pressure on the area of ​​the fissure or fracture.
  • Pain when laughing, yawning, or sneezing.

How to know if I have a broken rib

The diagnosis is entirely medical and depends on the symptoms, the physical examination, and the radiography that can be indicated to corroborate the diagnostic impression.

The doctor will do the respective questioning:

  • You will be able to apply light pressure where the blow was received.
  • You will observe and listen to the breath.
  • You will hear the heartbeat.
  • Finally, he will probably indicate the radiograph to determine through the visualization of the image if it is a rib fissure or a complete rupture of the same.

Other tests that the doctor may indicate after a blow to the ribs are:

  • CT (computed tomography): with which it will be possible to show possible fissures or fractures that cannot be determined in a standard x-ray.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): is responsible for showing if there has been any damage to the organs that contain the rib cage after a blow to the ribs.
  • Bone scan: This imaging technique is used when bruises to the ribs are suspected from repeated trauma, such as those caused by coughing.

In the following article, you can find out in more detail about How to know if I have a cracked or broken rib.

How to heal a bump on the ribs: recovery

It is essential to know that the ribs that are most likely to crack or fracture after a blow are located in the middle of the rib cage.

Once the medical diagnosis has been made, the specialist will probably indicate that the healing and recovery of the ribs can take at least six weeks.

If an injury to the organs that contain the rib cage has been diagnosed, medical hospitalization is probably required.

The treatment to cure a blow to the ribs or the consequences of it can include:

  • In the first instance, analgesics may be indicated in pain cases, such as naproxen, aspirin, or paracetamol, to recover from a blow to the ribs. Avoid using ibuprofen for the first 48 hours after the rib hit, which affects healing. If the pain becomes difficult to manage, do not hesitate to go to the emergency to treat it in a specialized way. Unless you are over 19 years old, do not use aspirin.
  • Moist heat, ice, and rest allow for better recovery after a hit to the ribs. Cooling the hit area for the first 48 hours will help soothe pain and inflammation. Apply ice packs for 20 minutes at least every 2 hours.
  • While taking medication, avoid alcohol consumption and do not operate heavy machinery.
  • Bandaging or compression around the ribs will not be necessary to avoid limiting normal respiratory function.
  • Rest as long as possible, and avoid exertion and intense sport, significantly if it is associated with difficulty breathing.
  • Avoid standing for long periods and stretching, pushing, and picking up heavy objects.
  • At first, breathing can be painful; we recommend staying calm and trying to do it usually. Occasionally, take deep breaths and slowly exhale to prevent lung collapse or infection.
  • If you feel like coughing, place a pillow over your ribs to minimize movement, and the pain is less.
  • Do not hesitate to go to a doctor if you feel shortness of breath, shortness of breath, shortness of breath pain that does not subside with painkillers, or coughing up blood.

Broken ribs: how to sleep

In the presence of broken ribs, it is essential to take into account some recommendations to try to have a comforting sleep that accelerates the healing of broken ribs:

  1. Try to sleep upright; this reduces the pain after mobilization.
  2. The first night it is advisable to sleep in a reclining chair; this minimizes discomfort.
  3. If you feel comfortable sleeping on your back, avoid using pillows unless you use them under your arms to prevent rolling sideways.
  4. Placing pillows under the knees helps reduce stress on the back.
  5. Sometimes it is advisable to sleep on the side of the broken rib; this allows you to take a deep breath.
  6. Take a deep breath before sleeping, count to 5, and exhale slowly.
  7. Limit mobilization while you sleep, at least for the first 48 hours.
  8. Try to get 8 hours of sleep a night and nap to facilitate healing.
  9. Go to sleep at the same time.
  10. The use of painkillers, as indicated by the doctor, will promote the quality of sleep.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Strike in the ribs: symptoms and recovery , we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints and Muscles .

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