Take a Fall? Here’s How to Tell You Might Have a Broken Rib

broken rib x-ray

Taking a fall is never fun, and small injuries can leave you uncomfortable for weeks. While bumps and bruises are to be expected, more serious injuries can sometimes result from falls. One of the most common fall injuries is broken ribs.

If you’ve never broken a rib before, you may not know what to look for. But you don’t want to ignore symptoms, as untreated, a broken rib can lead to more serious internal injuries. Learn more below about how broken ribs can happen and how you can tell if you have one.

What Can Cause a Broken Rib?

It’s surprisingly easy to break a rib doing something as simple as swinging a golf club. If you have osteoporosis or lesions from cancer, you may be at a higher risk for broken ribs. You may also have a cracked rib that isn’t as dangerous as a broken rib but can still be painful.

The most common cause of broken ribs is chest trauma. If you’ve fallen down, been in a car accident, or been hit in the chest, you may have broken your ribs. But something as simple as coughing hard and repeatedly can result in a fractured rib.

What are the Symptoms?

You won’t be surprised to learn that the biggest symptom of broken ribs is chest pain. If you’re at risk for a heart attack, it can be easy to confuse these pains with heart attack symptoms. But whereas heart attack pain is closer to pressure or heaviness, pain from broken ribs is sharp and stabbing.

Pain from broken ribs will get worse if you take a deep breath. It may also get worse if you touch your ribs, cough, laugh, or twist your body. If you experience these symptoms, you should see your doctor.

What Should You Do?

The first step to treat broken ribs is to see your doctor. They will listen to and examine your chest to determine if they think you have a broken rib. If they suspect a fracture, they may order a CT scan, an x-ray, an MRI, or a bone scan.

Unfortunately, in most cases of broken ribs, the only treatment is time. You’ll want to take a break from sports or other strenuous activities to give your ribs time to heal properly. You should focus on breathing deeply to prevent pneumonia, and you may want to take pain medicine and ice your ribs.

Get the Best Treatment

Broken ribs are no fun, but as long as you catch them early, the recovery process can be speedy and low-risk. The important thing is to know the signs so you can see your doctor before they do any serious internal damage. Once they’re diagnosed, you’ll be back on your feet in a few short weeks.

If you think you might have a broken rib, make sure you get the best medical help by visiting us at Thibodaux Regional Urgent Care – Houma. We have quality, convenient care when you need it. Contact us today to book an appointment.

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