RIB FRACTURE - WatsonsHealth


Rib injury also known as rib fracture refers to a break in one or more bones in the rib cage. The ribs protects the heart and lungs. It also helps in breathing by keeping a space open inside the chest when the muscles contracts to fill up air in the lungs. A break in the cartilage (thick tissue that connects the ribs to the breastbone) may also be called rib fracture.

The most common cause of rib injury is a direct blow to the chest due to accident. Coughing hard may also cause rib injuries especially when you have other diseases that adds to the weakening of your bone such as Osteoporosis and cancer.

If you have a fractured rib you will most likely to experience:

  • Pain in the chest or injured area
  • Pain while breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling anxious and restless
  • Feeling dizzy, tired or sleepy


To diagnose a rib injury, your doctor might perform a physical exam. He or she may use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs as you breath. Ribs which are broken are painful, particularly with movement, deep breaths or coughing. The injured area is tender when pressed.To confirm diagnosis, the doctor may suggest you to undergo imaging tests such as X-ray, MRI, CT-scan and bone scan to see complications and extent of the break.



Minor fracture in the ribs usually heal on its own. Certain medications can be used to aid the symptoms as your rib heals. Oral pain killers such as Paracetamol, NSAIDs (Naproxen, Ibuprofen, Aspirin) and Codeine may help reduce pain. If oral medications is not enough, your doctor might suggest injections of long-lasting anesthesia around the nerves that supply the ribs. Breathing exercises (therapy) can help you with breathing deeply.

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