A broken rib, or fractured rib, is a common injury that occurs when one of the bones in your rib cage breaks or cracks. The most common cause of broken ribs is trauma to the chest, such as from a fall, motor vehicle accident or impact during contact sports.

Many broken ribs are merely cracked. While still painful, cracked ribs aren't as potentially dangerous as ribs that have been broken into separate pieces. A jagged edge of broken bone can damage major blood vessels or internal organs, such as the lungs.

In most cases, broken ribs usually heal on their own in one or two months. Adequate pain control is important so that you can continue to breathe deeply and avoid lung complications, such as pneumonia.
Broken ribs What are rib injuries and who gets them?
The term rib injury usually means rib fracture - that is, a break in one or more of the ribs. Sometimes the ribs are not broken, but there is bruising of ribs or nearby muscles. Rib injuries occur when there is a force to the chest such as from a fall, road accident or assault. Rib injuries can also be caused by the force of your own muscles.

What is the treatment for rib injuries?
The most important treatment is to have good pain relief
The break (fracture) or bruise usually heals in about four weeks. Good pain relief during this time helps you to breathe and cough properly. Simply putting up with the pain is not a good idea, as it can lead to shallow breathing, lack of coughing and chest infections. (See 'What are the complications of rib injuries?', below.) Painkillers help to prevent these problems.

Effective and safe pain relief is especially important for people who are more prone to chest infections. For example, smokers and people with persistent (chronic) chest conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen, ibuprofen or aspirin.
Strong painkillers containing codeine or dihydrocodeine.
How should I take the painkillers?
For painful rib injuries, it is best to take painkillers regularly. Don't wait until pain becomes severe. As the ribs heal, you can gradually cut down on the painkillers.
by Brydeion March 10, 2014