The human rib cage, also known as thoracic age, guards vital organs such as the heart and the lungs by forming a skeletal cage around the organs. It consists of a set of 24 rib bones, each tied to a part of the spine called the thoracic vertebrae. The rib cage forms an essential part of the respiratory system with the expansion and contraction of the intercostal muscles creating the rib movements that help in respiration. Let’s look into bruised ribs treatment, but before that find out more about the causes and the symptoms of the condition.
Bruised Ribs Causes
Rib bruises can occur when a blow is received on an unprotected rib area. The injury can vary from a minor bruise, in which the rib moves out of line and damages the adjoining muscles and tissues, to more severe cases such as broken and separated ribs. Typical causes of rib bruises are accidental blows to the rib, causing dislocations. Rib bruise cases are usually common with athletes, football players, ice-hockey players, etc.
Symptoms of Bruised Ribs
The main symptom of a bruised rib is severe pain that lasts for several days. Any broken rib may have sharp edges that protrude and cause further damage by puncturing the lungs. It is advisable to seek the advice of a doctor, who can diagnose bruised rib symptoms, to prevent damage of any kind to the thoracic organs. For this, an X-ray of the rib cage may be essential, to determine whether there is any indication of bruised lung (pulmonary contusion) or collapsed lung (pneumothorax). Some of the symptoms of bruised ribs include constant cough, extreme pain in the rib and shortness of breath.
Treatment for Bruised Ribs
Rib bruises are typically painful, as the ribs move while we breathe. Unlike a bruised or broken arm, the rib cannot be immobilized, which in effect, results in the treatment process becoming lengthy, as the ribs are allowed time to heal by themselves. Bruised ribs treatment is mostly accompanied by bed rest. The basic treatment of bruised ribs is to apply ice to the damaged area, for at least 48 hours, or until the pain subsides. The patient is also required to abstain from any activity that may aggravate the bruise. Proper exercises, such as periodic deep breaths, can also alleviate the bruise, as the ensuing rib movement aligns the ribs to their proper place. Minor bruises can be cured by using a rib pad, which is often used by sportspersons. The pad creates a compact wrapping around the rib cage, thereby minimizing movement.
Severely bruised ribs effects, such as rib separation, or broken rib, may cause muscle spasms, thereby making respiration a painful process. Continuous short breaths caused by the inability of the lung to expand fully may also cause lung infection or pneumonia. The most usual cure for bruised ribs is to take pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs and rest the rib. At times, a rib belt can be used to treat such conditions. A rib belt compresses the rib cage and holds it together. A patient is usually advised to take complete rest while wearing the belt, so that the separated or broken rib is allowed time to heal. However, consult a physician, before wearing a rib belt. Broken or severed ribs may require surgery, followed by rest.
Bruised ribs treatment is essentially sensitive, as they may worsen the injury instead of alleviating it. If the basic procedures of treating rib bruises do not show the desired results, the patient should consult a doctor. A proper diagnosis is very important in order to prevent potential damage to the underlying organs. Treatment using rib belts and rib pads should also be consulted before use. Exercises may be performed post-injury to heal the muscles and tissues associated with the injured rib, only if advised by a doctor.