Bruised ribs can be a result of broken (fractured) ribs, but there are other causes, too. One thing is for sure, no matter how you developed the condition, it is often painful and can make laying down – or even breathing and moving in certain positions – difficult.
An injured or fractured rib is often a result of some type of trauma, whether it is a fall or a direct blow to the chest. Unlike other bones in the body, a broken rib cannot be casted, so taking the necessary steps at home to nurse your ribs back to health is highly important.
As mentioned, there are several causes for bruised ribs, including an injury to the chest such as one resulting from physical sports, vehicular accident, or repeated coughing either from pneumonia, whooping cough, or bronchitis.
Knowing the cause of your bruised ribs can help you better treat them at home and can also help your doctor put you on a treatment plan.
Symptoms that can be experienced with bruised ribs include tenderness or pain when the area is touched, extreme pain when breathing, shortness of breath, increased pain when moving, sharp constant pain, visible bruising, difficulty sleeping or laying on the affected area, and inflammation that results in chest pains.
Here are the natural remedies to not only treat bruised ribs but also help reduce healing time.
Check your ribs: First, distinguish between a bruised or broken rib. Rub your hand over the area, if it feels tender then it is most likely bruised, but if there are gashes or marks it may be broken. Consult your doctor to verify whether or not your rib is bruised or broken.
Ice the area: Icing the area can help reduce swelling and pain. Ideally, it’s best to ice the area for up to 72 hours. If pain still persists, switch to warm compresses.
Rest: Having a bruised rib can make breathing and moving quite difficult so take this time to rest as much as possible to avoid furthering the damage.
Manage your breathing: As mentioned, breathing can be difficult with a bruised rib so you may have to manage your breathing. Try to breathe as deeply as possible as much as you can. Even if it is quite painful, at least try to get one deep breath in once every 60 minutes. If you cannot take a deep breathing once an hour, see a doctor.
Stay mobile in-between the rest periods: Walking around between the periods of rest can help promote breathing and clear mucus.
Hold a pillow against your chest if you need to cough.
Carry out breathing exercises: Take 10 slow deep breaths every hour allowing your lungs to inflate fully.
If pain is persistent over the course of weeks, you should check in with your doctor to see what is going on. Other signs that should prompt you to see your doctor include increasing shortness of breath, increasing chest pain, pain in the stomach or shoulder, coughing up blood, coughing up green or yellow mucus, or having a fever.
These symptoms could indicate a chest infection, which requires medical intervention.
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