Broken Rib Complications and Symptoms
- Severe pain always accompanies fractured ribs. The more the ribs that are involved in the injury, the more pain, and the increased chances of complications.
- Perforation of the spleen or liver can occur from a jagged rib bone. Swelling of the abdomen and blood evident in the urine are sure signs of additional internal injuries.
- The lung can be punctured by a cracked rib bone. Coughing up blood, increased sharp pain on inspiration, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood should be recognized as serious complications. Medical intervention is required.
- If one side of the chest rises and the other falls on inspiration, the lung is most definitely punctured.
Treatment of Fractured Ribs
- If ribs are fractured, but no complications are evident in addition to the pain and inflammation, recovery can occur within 3 to 4 weeks. Rest and deep breathing exercises every hour are needed to prevent pneumonia.
- Ice or heat can be applied for pain relief or inflammation.
- Taping the effected rib may help. Never tape around the whole circumference of the body. With any additional swelling, respiration may be dangerously restricted. Only tape from the cracked rib around to the middle of the back.
- If flailing is observed, with asymmetrical rising and falling of the chest, medical help should be summoned promptly.
- If there are any signs of internal injury, never use heat as a treatment of broken ribs. This is contraindicated in these type of complications.
- Keep the person comfortable. You may splint the chest with pillows or some type of firm bag.
- Sand bags or duffel bags full of clothes can be used to lessen the pain that will occur with each breath.