How Do I Know If My Ribs Are Broken? Here’s What to Know

A doctor examines a patient’s back as the patient points to his ribs.

Experiencing pain in the rib area can be a cause for concern, especially if you suspect that your ribs may be broken after an unexpected accident or injury.

While rib fractures can vary in severity, it’s essential to understand the symptoms, appropriate treatment, and when it’s necessary to seek medical attention. 

In this blog post, we will explore the signs of a broken rib, discuss suitable treatment options, and help you determine if a visit to urgent care is warranted for the rib pain you’re experiencing. 

Continue reading to learn more.

Signs of a Broken Rib

Broken rib symptoms vary from person to person and are closely based on the cause of the injury.

The most common signs of a broken rib include:

  • Intense localized pain when breathing, coughing, or moving.
  • Swelling 
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Tenderness 

In rare and more severe cases, you may hear or feel a grating sensation called crepitus when you press on the broken rib or move your body.

What to Do for Broken Ribs

If you suspect you have broken a rib, it is essential to take immediate action and follow these key steps to reduce your risk of further damage or complications:

Manage Your Pain

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help alleviate mild to moderate rib pain.

Apply Ice Packs

Applying ice packs wrapped in a cloth to the injured area for about 15 minutes at a time can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain.

Maintain Proper Breathing Techniques

Taking shallow breaths can increase the risk of developing respiratory complications. Practice deep breathing exercises and consider using a pillow to support the affected area while breathing or coughing.

Seek Medical Evaluation

While minor rib fractures can often heal on their own, it is advisable to seek medical evaluation to confirm the diagnosis and ensure appropriate care. Visit your nearest urgent care center or emergency department for a thorough rib examination.

Rest and Limit Physical Activity

Engaging in physical activities that may aggravate the injury should be avoided. Allow your body time to heal by resting and avoiding strenuous movements or exercises.

Should I Go To Urgent Care For Rib Pain?

Determining whether to seek urgent care for rib pain depends on several factors, such as intensity and other concerning symptoms. I

f you experience any of the following, it is advisable to seek urgent medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Severe chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Deformity or protrusion of the rib cage
  • Persistent or worsening pain after a few days

Timely Broken Rib Treatment in Amory

A suspected broken rib can be a distressing experience. 

If you’re wondering, “Will X-rays show a broken rib?” The answer is yes. 

In fact, while some rib fractures can be managed at home with rest and pain relief, seeking medical evaluation and an x-ray at your local urgent care center is crucial to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. 

Urgent care centers are well-equipped to assess and provide guidance on broken rib injuries, offering prompt medical attention and expert advice tailored to your specific situation.

It’s best to err on the side of caution and seek medical help if you’re uncertain about the severity of your rib pain. Your health and well-being should always be a top priority. 

We are open 7 days a week with no appointment necessary. Simply walk in to get the treatment you need now.