The rib cage is comprised of 12 ribs along with tendons and muscles in between every rib. If an individual plays a contact sport or sustained trauma to the torso such as a vehicular accident, he/she might have bruised ribs.
When it comes to this injury, it simply means that the tissues surrounding the ribs have been damaged, but the bones are not fractured or broken. The symptoms of bruised ribs include chest or abdominal pain that is aggravated by deep breathing, sneezing or coughing. If a person has bruised ribs, there are actions that can be carried out to reduce the discomfort and pain while the body recuperates.
One measure to manage bruised ribs is to provide compression. All you have to do is utilize a compression bandage or even a rib binder if available. The compression helps hold the soft tissues in place and limit abrupt movements that can add up to the pain. These supports are readily available in drugstores. When wrapping, just make sure that the bandage is not wrapped too tightly since it can disrupt normal circulation.
Application of ice
The application of an ice pack over the affected ribs can help reduce the pain. You can readily purchase a readymade ice pack or simply create your own by storing ice cubes in a plastic bag that is wrapped in a clean towel or cloth. Apply the ice pack in the injured area at 10-15 minute increments. The cold works by minimizing the inflammation and the pain.
You can also provide the individual with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These medications work by minimizing the swelling of the blood vessels as well as relieve the pain as the injured ribs heal. Just make sure that these medications are taken as directed to avoid unwanted side effects such as damage to the stomach lining.
If possible, the individual should limit movement such as lifting or twisting motions. Even though it can be annoying to stay sedentary for some time, this is actually beneficial since it prevents further straining of the ribs that can worsen the damage.
The individual can still perform exercises occasionally such as pointing and flexing the foot to maintain good circulation to the extremities while at rest.
It is important to increase the fluid intake along with foods packed with fiber such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Take note that constipation is a usual side effect of being sedentary while recovering from bruised ribs. Maintaining a health digestive tract can help minimize the abdominal pain that occurs along with rib bruising.
Important tips to bear in mind
If an individual with bruised ribs continues to experience pain and the over-the-counter medications do not seem to work, the doctor might prescribe a stronger pain medication. In some cases, an anesthesia injection is also advised that is administered in the affected region. Just remember though that bruised ribs can disrupt normal breathing, thus an injection might be required in some cases.