A rib fracture is a break in a rib bone. Bruised muscles and damaged ligaments often happen with a rib fracture. With a rib fracture, the lungs and other organs can be injured. More than one rib fracture after a
can indicate serious internal injury.
Multiple Rib Fractures with Damage to Lung
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The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. Your chest, lungs, and back will be examined.
Imaging tests can evaluate your chest and surrounding structures. These may include:
Treatment may include:
Rest, without physical activity until the pain has gone away.
Your doctor may suggest wearing a chest binder around your ribs to protect them. The binder may help you breathe properly. It is important to take deep breaths so that the lungs remain clear.
can develop after rib fractures if you are not breathing deeply enough. If you play contact sports, you may need to wear a rib cage protector for 6-8 weeks when you return to playing.
Your doctor may recommend that you take over-the-counter medication to help reduce inflammation and pain, such as ibuprofen.
As your ribs heal, a physical therapist can teach you breathing exercises. The therapist can also help you maintain
range of motion
in arm and shoulder joints.
Intercostal Nerve Blocks
Special injections with local anesthetic can temporarily relieve pain.
temporary epidural catheter
is used to place anesthetic near the spinal cord and nerves. This can help severe cases where the injury requires hospitalization.
Hospitalization is usually only needed if there are complications such as damage to organs in the chest.