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Everything You Need to Know About Rib Injuries

Your ribs are hidden and relatively small, but they play a big role. They protect your chest cavity, lungs, and heart. Trauma in the chest region sometimes results in major damage to the rib cage, including bruised ribs, cracked ribs, or fractured ribs.

In most cases, it is not always easy to tell which condition applies to you. It is especially important to get checked out by a medical professional if you are experiencing pain after a car accident. You will have peace of mind and you know what to expect in terms of treatment and recovery time.

Fractured, Broken, Or Bruised Ribs?

Rib injuries are common. But there are a few variations when it comes to a rib injury. When looking at bruised and fractured ribs, the symptoms can be similar. A professional diagnosis is important because complications associated with rib injury can be serious.

When we say bruised ribs, we mean damaged supportive tissue. With this condition, the rib isn’t broken. However, the cartilage, muscle, or tissue around the rib has been strained or injured, resulting in pain.

A fractured, or broken rib, is the same. This injury involves the bones rather than the surrounding tissues. When a rib or sternum is broken, the term “cracked” might also be used.

Let’s look at some facts about broken ribs.

According to Wikipedia:

  • Common rib fracture complications include pulmonary contusion and pneumonia
  • Middle ribs are most commonly fractured
  • Fractures of the first or second ribs are most likely to result in complications
  • Broken ribs typically cause pain that is worst when breathing in

Possible Causes for Rib Injuries

The ribs and their supportive tissues can become damaged in any number of ways. You might suffer a blow or impact, or the injury might come about after repetitive motion or use.

Here are some of the most common causes of bruised ribs:

  • Auto accidents
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Blunt force
  • Prolonged coughing
  • Repetitive strenuous activities like lifting weights

Direct contact sports and automobile crashes are a couple of instances where bruised ribs and fractured ribs are likely to occur.

Symptoms of Bruised Ribs

Depending on your injury, bruised ribs can cause significant pain. People with bruised ribs often report the pain is most intense when they inhale. Also, pain is bound to intensify when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or move around.

Symptoms of bruised ribs include:

  • Muscle twitching or spasms
  • Visible bruising to the skin
  • Swelling in the rib area
  • Tenderness in the rib area

Because these symptoms so closely mirror those of a fractured rib, it’s critical to seek the diagnosis of a medical professional. Ultimately, imaging tests are the only way to determine the exact nature of your chest injury.

How Long Do Broken Ribs Take to Heal?

In most cases, broken ribs usually heal in about one or two months. Adequate pain control and proper spinal alignment are important so that you can continue to breathe deeply and avoid lung complications, such as pneumonia.

How Can a Chiropractor Help Treat Bruised Ribs

Some of the ways a chiropractor may treat your rib injury include:

Put the Rib Back into Alignment
One of the most common ways a chiropractor can treat a rib injury is by putting it back into place or realigning it. This can do wonders when it comes to breathing, providing almost immediate relief.

Manual Adjustments to Help with Misalignment
A chiropractor can also help with a rib injury by using manual spinal adjustments to correct any misalignment as a result of an injury. If you have a separated rib, an adjustment may be able to do the trick and get it back into place.

Help Monitor a Rib Injury
If you have a broken or fractured rib, a chiropractor may come in handy by helping monitor how it heals, ensuring it is properly aligned. We will also help determine how much rest is necessary for a bruised, broken, or separated rib.

Injured Ribs FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How long does it take for bruised ribs to heal
Recovery and healing time depend on your particular injury and condition. Generally speaking, both broken and bruised ribs take around three to six weeks to fully heal.

What do bruised ribs feel like? 
Injuries vary from person to person. The pain associated with bruised ribs can range from mild to severe. Having a bruised rib often feels like chest pain that intensifies when you inhale. The pain might be persistent, growing sharper with certain movements or activities.

What is the difference between bruised ribs and broken ribs?
When the rib is broken or damaged, it might be called broken, cracked, or fractured. On the other hand, a bruised rib refers to the supporting tissue around the rib. The symptoms can appear very similar, and only imaging tests can show whether a break has occurred.

Contact Our Office Today

The type of treatment you will need and the number of visits to the chiropractor required will depend on a host of factors, namely the extent of the injury. For people with a bruised or separated rib, the recovery time is usually much shorter. If you have a broken rib, it may take additional time and chiropractic adjustments to allow for the body to heal. To learn more about what to expect when seeing a chiropractor for a rib injury, contact Premier Injury Clinics of DFW today.

Premier Injury Clinics of DFW has several area locations, including offices in DallasMesquiteDesotoFort WorthArlington, and Farmers Branch, to serve you. Stop by the office nearest to you. We accept walk-in patients, so you can get the relief you need as quickly as possible. If you’d rather set an appointment to reduce your wait, give the office you want to visit a call to schedule an appointment.


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