A Broken Rib
What’s a broken rib? This is an injury that happens when one or more of the rib bones break or crack. It is highly important to learn about the broken ribs because our ribs protect the vital organs like your heart and lungs that are soft and fragile. While it’s true that the twelve pairs of rib bones are rigid and are joined to one another by the group of muscles, it’s possible that one or more of your rib bones can break if you hit hard in the chest region.
A broken rib can’t be ignored because it will be extremely painful and can hurt you with every breath you take. Also, if the rib bones are broken badly, there are possibilities that your internal organs are seriously damaged. In the following article, let’s learn how to find out if you have broken ribs here:
Broken Ribs - An Overview:
More often, broken ribs are simply cracked. Even though it will be very painful, these cracked ribs are not very dangerous when compared to the ribs that are broken as separate pieces. The spiked edge of broken bones can cause damage to the blood vessels and internal organs. As a result, your day to day activities can be extremely painful.
Given the position of the ribcage in our body, in most cases, a broken rib will be left to heal by themselves. It will take up to three to six weeks for the ribs to heal. During the healing process, it’s crucial that adequate pain management is carried out to take deep breaths and prevent lung complications.
What Causes Broken Ribs?
The most common cause of broken ribs is known to be the chest trauma from a sudden fall, an accident, or during the contact sports. However, there are also other ways you can get a broken rib. They are:
- Get punched in the rib cage
- Repeated Movements
- Coughing hard repeatedly
- Receiving CPR
- Child abuse
Apart from these, some medical conditions can also cause a broken rib without being hit hard. These include:
- Cancerous Lesions
How can we Identify a Broken Rib?
As it sounds obvious, you will feel a sharp pain in your chest if you have a broken rib, which will be different from the pain caused by a heart attack.
You can tell if you have a broken rib if it hurts when you touch the spot where the rib bone is broken or when you take deep breaths. You can see that the pain gets worse when you twist your body. You will also feel the pain when you cough or laugh. In some cases, you can even see bruising in the region of injury. 
When to consult a doctor?
If you have the above symptoms and you are unsure whether you have a broken rib, you need to consult a doctor. You must consult a doctor if you have a bruised spot in the rib area after a trauma or injury or if you have difficulties with breathing.
You should also seek medical advice if you feel fullness, pressure, or a sharp pain at the center of your chest that prolongs for more than a few minutes or if you feel that pain extends beyond the chest (to the shoulders or arms). These are the symptoms that can signify a heart attack.
How is Broken Rib Diagnosed?
During the physical examination, your doctor will apply some gentle pressure on the ribs. He will also listen to the lungs and watch the ribcage move as you take breathe. In order to confirm the diagnosis, your doctor will order one or more of the imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scan, MRI, and bone scan. 
Broken Rib Treatment
As mentioned earlier, most often, a broken rib will heal on its own within three to six weeks. During the healing process, it is highly recommended that you wear a broken rib brace to help with faster recovery. In addition, restricting activities and icing the area regularly can alleviate pain and help with the healing process.