Fractured Rib: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment, Cracked Ribs – Do I have a broken rib?

A Fractured Rib Overview

Fractured ribs

Fractured ribs

Your rib cage provides protection of vital organs namely your lungs and heart. Although rib bones are strong being attached together by sturdy muscles, you could suffer a fractured rib should you receive a robust hit to your chest.

If you believe you may have a fractured rib, it is vitally important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible just in case you end up with a punctured lung.

If you believe you may have a fractured rib, it is vitally important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible just in case you end up with a punctured lung.

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What is a Fractured Rib?

If you suffer a fractured rib, you would typically be in a lot of pain and discomfort. Any sort of injury to your rib cage could make breathing difficult and if a rib is badly fractured, you may even end up damaging internal organs. This type of injury is quite common more especially if you suffer any sort of trauma to your chest whether it is through a fall, a road traffic accident or due to a hit while playing high impact, contact sports.

A lot of the time an injury to your rib would involve a “crack” which although painful, is not as serious as a broken or fractured rib. The reason being that a piece of broken rib bone can negatively impact your blood vessels and/or puncture your lungs and other internal organs which are normally protected by your rib cage. It can take anything up two months for a fractured rib to mend and heal. Having enough pain control during the recovery time for a broken rib is essential to avoid developing any complications which includes pneumonia.

If you suffered a fractured rib and would like to know if you would qualify for free private treatment and free physiotherapy in your area, please get in touch with one of our health experts today.

What are the Key Facts to a Fractured Rib?

When you suffer a fractured rib, there are specific symptoms associated with this type of chest injury which includes experiencing sharp chest pains. However, the pain differs to a heart attack in the following ways:

  • Touching the site of the fractured rib causes more pain and discomfort
  • You experience more pain if you try to take a deep breath
  • The pain and discomfort increases when you attempt to twist your body
  • You experience a lot more pain when you cough or laugh
  • There may be bruising at the site of the fractured rib

To find out if you would be entitled to free private fractured rib treatment in your area, please contact us today.

What are the Common Causes of a Fractured Rib?

You could sustain a fractured rib in many ways, but the most common causes are as follows:

  • You were involved in a road traffic accident
  • You were punched in your rib cage
  • You play contact sports which includes hockey, soccer, rugby or football
  • You make repeated movements which includes when you are swimming, swinging a golf club or rowing
  • You cough very hard repeatedly
  • You suffer a fall onto hard ground
  • You were given CPR

With this said, you could suffer a fractured rib even when you are not hit hard by anything but because of an underlying health issue which are detailed below:

  • You have developed cancerous lesions that typically result in your bones becoming weaker
  • You develop osteoporosis as you get older

What are the Symptoms Associated with a Fractured Rib?

A fractured rib is extremely painful making it hard for you to move or even breath. However, you may have a cracked rib which means the bone has not moved out of place which is why it is so important to seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to be accurately diagnosed. If you have a fractured rib, the jagged edges of the bone could damage your internal organs, puncturing your lungs or blood vessels. With this said, the typical symptoms of a fractured rib are detailed below:

  • The site of fracture is very painful when touched
  • It hurts when you breath
  • It is very painful when you twist your body
  • It hurts when you laugh, sneeze or cough
  • The area around the fracture is bruised

Call us today to find out if you would qualify for free private fractured rib treatment in your area which includes free private physiotherapy which could help speed up your recovery.

How is a Fractured Rib Diagnosed?

If you suffered a suspected fractured rib, a doctor would want to confirm an initial diagnosis by carrying out the following tests:

  • Listen to your lungs when you breathe
  • Watch your rib cage as you breathe
  • Take X-rays of your chest to establish whether you have a cracked or fractured rib and if the injury has negatively impacted your internal organs
  • Take a CT scan would establish if any damage has occurred to soft tissue, your lungs, liver, spleen or kidneys
  • Carry out an MRI scan to determine more exactly any damage that has been done to internal organs and soft tissue
  • Perform a bone scan to establish the extent of the damage more especially if you suffered a stress fracture or you suffer from prostate cancer

How is a Fractured Rib Treated?

Treatment for a fractured rib involves effective pain relief so that you can breathe, swallow and cough properly without experiencing too much pain and discomfort when you do. The doctor would recommend the type of pain relief you should take during the healing process for a fractured rib. If you are susceptible to chest infections, the doctor would make sure you are prescribed the correct pain relief medication.

Typical pain relief recommended for a fractured rib injury is detailed below:

  • Paracetamol
  • NSAIDs – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Stronger pain relief medication could be prescribed by your doctor

It is essential that you follow a doctor’s directions when it comes to taking pain relief medication for a fractured rib and to never exceed the recommended dosage.

When Should I Seek Medical Attention for a Fractured Rib?

Broken rib symptoms

Broken rib symptoms

If you experience a lot of pain when you touch a suspected fractured rib or you have trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should also seek medical attention as matter of urgency if you were involved in the following or experience the following symptoms:

  • Were involved in a serious accident which includes a road traffic accident or collision
  • You experience a shortness of breath that is not improving
  • You have a serious chest pain that is getting worse as time passes
  • You experience pain in your shoulder or tummy
  • You cough up blood
  • You cough up mucus that is yellow or green
  • You feel hot, shivery, sweaty and have a very high temperature

If you experience any of the above, it could be that a fractured rib has damaged internal organs which includes your lungs, spleen or liver in which case you must call 111 if you cannot speak to your doctor and are not sure what you should do.

Could I Qualify for Free Orthopaedic Assessment for a Fractured Rib?

If you sustained a fractured rib whether in a road traffic accident, while playing a contact sport or when you were doing anything else, you may qualify for free private physiotherapy and other treatment in your area. To find out what you may be entitled, to, please get in touch with one of our health experts today and we would be able to let you know straight away.

What Free Private Treatment Could I Get For a Fractured Rib?

Having been treated in your local NHS hospital for a fractured rib, an official broken bone report would have been done detailing your injury. You may be entitled to a free orthopaedic assessment of your broken bone report. You could also qualify for free private fractured rib physiotherapy in your area which goes a long way when it comes to speeding up your recovery time.

Call us today and we can let you know in minutes whether you qualify for any free private treatment for a fractured rib in your area.

How Should I Care for My Fractured Rib Once Home?

Once a doctor has established you have a fractured rib, the main goal of any treatment is to ensure you are made as comfortable as possible and that you do not have any trouble breathing which is achieved through effective and safe pain relief medication. As previously mentioned, it can take around 4 weeks and maybe a little longer for a fractured rib to mend depending on the severity of your injury. During your fractured rib recovery time, it is important that you are able to breath normally because if you cannot, you may find that you shallow breath and not cough when you should. This can lead to a chest infection developing.

If you are prone to chest infections, are a smoker or you suffer from persistent, chronic chest infections like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or you are susceptible to heart failure, taking the right kind of effective and safe pain relief, is essential should you have suffered a fractured rib.

  • If you are experiencing slight to moderate pain, a doctor would typically recommend you take paracetamol
  • If your pain is moderate to severe, a doctor may recommend you take stronger pain relief medication whether it is paracetamol plus or an anti-inflammatory which your doctor would subscribe if they deem it safe for you to take

During fractured rib recovery time, you should limit your activities to reduce the risk of suffering a lung infection or a collapsed lung. You should also do the following:

  • Practice breathing deeply
  • Practice coughing gently which you should do every couple of hours
  • Hold a blanket or a pillow against your fractured rib which helps reduce any pain and discomfort
  • Remain active

It is important to do these exercises during the recovery period as they help reduce the risk of developing pneumonia or suffering from a collapsed lung. Your doctor would tell you when you could return to work or carry out normal daily activities which includes any sports you enjoy.

Could I Qualify for any Other Effective Free Treatment for a Fractured Rib?

You may qualify for free private fractured rib treatment in your area as well as free physio which would help get you back on the road to recovery sooner. Although NHS fractured rib treatment is good, it is never as good as the care and treatment you receive in a private health facility.

Call us today to find out if you would be entitled to any free private health care for a fractured rib in your area, we would tell you in minutes whether you qualify.

Should I Keep Follow Up Appointments for a Fractured Rib?

You should always keep follow up appointments if you suffered a fractured rib which allows a doctor to keep a check on your healing process and if there are any complications, they can be caught early making them that much easier to treat and heal.

How Long is the Healing Process for a Fractured Rib?

In the majority of cases, a fractured rib heals in anything from 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the severity and complexity of a fracture. With this said, it is important that you take the right kind of pain relief which a doctor would recommend or prescribe. It also helps to keep as active as possible and to do breathing and gentle coughing exercises. You should not stay in bed or remain inactive during a fractured rib recovery period which could lead to complications and you may run the risk of developing pneumonia.

If you have any of the following symptoms during your recovery period, you should call your doctor and seek medical attention as soon as possible:

  • You experience pain when breathing or coughing even if you are taking painkillers
  • You are running a high temperature or fever
  • You start coughing up mucus
  • You experience a shortness of breath
  • You experience side-effects associated with the pain relief medication you are taking which includes vomiting, nausea, an allergic reaction, constipation or have difficulty breathing

It is worth noting that people most at risk of suffering complications having sustained a fractured rib, are asthma sufferers and people who have been diagnosed with emphysema.

Can I Recover Safer and Possibly Faster From a Fractured Rib?

There are treatments and therapies that would help speed up a fractured rib recovery time which includes physiotherapy. To find out if you would qualify for free private fractured rib therapy and care in your area, please contact us today and we would be able to let you know in minutes the sort of free treatment you may be entitled to receive.

Is the Prognosis for a Fractured Rib Good or Bad?

The prognosis for a fractured rib depends on the complexity and severity of an injury and how much damage has been caused to internal organs. If you suffered a slight fracture, you should make a recovery in anything from 4 to 6 weeks. However, more severe injuries to your ribs could see the healing process taking a lot longer, more especially if a bit of fractured bone punctured your lungs, important blood vessels or other internal organs.

Are There Any Complications Associated with a Fractured Rib?

If you sustain a fractured rib it may negatively impact the blood vessels found close by. A broken rib bone could also puncture internal organs which includes your lungs and spleen. However, any complications you may develop as a result of a fractured rib would depend on the severity of your injury and which ribs are affected as such the complications associated with a fractured rib are detailed below:

  • A punctured or torn aorta which is a major blood vessel
  • A punctured lung which could collapse
  • A lacerated spleen, kidneys or liver – the last two ribs when fractured can cause severe damage to your internal organs

What Long-term Health Issues Can Occur with a Fractured Rib?

Any sort of rib fracture is painful whether the injury is slight or more severe and if not cared for and treated correctly, you could suffer some serious complications. If you are unable to breath normally, you run the risk of developing pneumonia. Statistics show that around 35% of people over the age of 65 who suffer a fractured rib develop pneumonia. With this said, other long-term damage can be done to your lungs should a fractured rib bone have punctured them.

I Think My Doctor Missed Something When Treating My Fractured Rib, What Should I Do?

If you think that your doctor may have missed something or incorrectly diagnosed your injury, you should find out as much as you can about a fractured rib injury, how the injury is diagnosed and treated to establish if you are right. The links at the bottom of the page provide essential information about fractured ribs.

Call Us to Find Out More About Free Treatment, Physio and Care for a Fractured Rib

If you sustained a fractured rib and are not happy with the NHS treatment you received, please contact us today to see if you would qualify for free private fractured rib treatment and therapy in your area. You may be entitled to a free orthopaedic assessment of your fractured rib broken bone report or you may qualify for free physio for a fractured rib which would help speed up your recovery. It only takes a few minutes to find out if you qualify.

You can call us on TEL NUMBER, or you can request a call back by filling out the form provided and one of our health experts will get back to you as soon as possible.

Helpful Links

If you suffered a fractured rib and would like to know more about treatments for this type of injury, the following link provides essential reading on the subject:

More about fractured rib treatment

To find out more about fractured rib aftercare, please follow the link below:

More about caring for a broken rib

If you suffered a broken rib and would like to know more about physiotherapy and how it can help speed up your recover, please follow the link below;

How physiotherapy can aid your recovery for a fractured rib