ZocdocAnswersIs there anything I can do to help my bruised ribs?

Question

Is there anything I can do to help my bruised ribs?

I fell down on my side and I'm pretty sure that I bruised a few of my ribs. The pain and discomfort are starting to get bad a week later. Anything I can do to treat the bruise? Should I wrap my ribs or use a heating pad? What would help?

Answer

I am really sorry to hear that you fell and had this injury. Rib injuries can be very painful, mostly because you irritate the spot every time you take a deep breath! In turn, this can cause problems because if you do not take normal breaths, your lungs may become underinflated, which can lead to problems with good air exchange. For this reason, I recommend that everyone with serious pain from a rib injury go to see their primary care doctor. They will be able to make sure that you are still able to take sufficient breaths and that your oxygen levels are normal even with the rib pain. They can also check an x ray if they think it is necessary to see if you might have actually broken the rib. Based on these findings they will be able to make recommendations about what you should do. Most of the time, the trick is to take regularly doses of anti inflammatory medications like ibuprofen to keep the pain down. However sometimes stronger medications may be needed, especially if your breaths are not deep enough to keep your oxygen levels up and your lungs expanded. Go see your primary care doctor today!

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