Management of bruised ribs

Fact Checked

The rib cage is comprised of 12 ribs with tendons and muscles in between every rib. Those who engage in contact sports or sustained trauma to the torso such as after a vehicular accident might have bruised ribs.

With this type of injury, the tissue that surrounds the ribs have been damaged but the bones are not fractured or cracked. The signs and symptoms of bruised ribs include chest pain that worsens when sneezing, breathing deeply or coughing forcefully. If an individual is suspected with bruised ribs, there are measures to help manage the pain while the body recovers.

Compression bandage

You have to wrap or cover the affected ribs using a compression bandage or rib binder which is comparable to a fabric sleeve that fits around the torso and provides support to the ribs. In doing so, the soft tissues are held in place and limit abrupt movements that might add to the pain. Take note that these supports are readily available in drugstores or pharmacies. Avoid wrapping the bandage tightly since it can cut off the circulation.

An individual with bruised ribs can be managed by applying an ice pack over the affected area.

Application of ice

An individual with bruised ribs can be managed by applying an ice pack over the affected area. You can readily purchase an ice pack or simply create your own by applying ice cubes in a plastic bag. Make sure that this bag is covered with a clean cloth or hand towel. Apply it over the affected area for 10-15 minutes. The application of ice helps reduce the inflammation as well as the associated pain.

Pain medications

There are over-the-counter pain medications that can be taken to reduce the pain such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Take note that these medications help to minimize the swelling of the blood vessels as well as relieve pain as the ribs heal. Make sure that the medications are only used as directed in order to avoid damage to the stomach lining.

Limit movement

If possible, movement should be limited especially twisting or lifting motions. Even though it can be frustrating to stay sedentary, engaging in activity prevents further stretching and straining of the ribs that can worsen the injury. The individual can engage in exercises occasionally such as pointing or flexing the foot to promote good circulation in the extremities while at rest.

Increased fluid intake

It is recommended to increase the intake of fluids as well as fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Take note that constipation is a usual consequence of staying sedentary during the recovery from a bruised rib. In addition, ensuring a healthy digestive system can minimize the abdominal pain that occurs along with bruised ribs.

In case the bruised ribs do not respond to over-the-counter medications, the doctor might prescribe a stronger pain medication or recommend an injection of anesthesia. Since bruised ribs can affect how the individual breathes, an injection might be required in some cases.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.