The term bruised rib is applied when a healthy rib actually causes injury to the muscles and tissues surrounding the rib. It is usually caused due to minor injury or a blow to the rib cage. Before discussing further the causes and symptoms that lead to a bruised rib, let us refresh our knowledge of rib cage that we had learned in our school days.
The rib cage is made up of 12 ribs on each side of the rib cage. Vital organs such as heart and lungs are well protected inside the rib cage. The first 7 ribs are attached at both the ends; to the spine bone at the back and to the breast bone in front. The next 3 are only attached to the spine at the back and ribs in front. They are short as compared to the seven. The rest 2 are floating ribs.
What Causes Bruised Ribs?
A bruise is a type of contusion injury. The usual cause for bruised rib is injury to the chest wall.
Traumatic injury to the chest wall while playing sports, or a fall while walking, can cause bruised ribs. When the rib is bruised, the surrounding blood vessels may be damaged giving rise to skin discoloration. A minor injury such as slipping in the bathroom or falling from the bed can also cause bruised ribs.
Aside from injury, minor accidents and physical abuse bruised ribs can also occur as a result of medical ailments. If you are constantly coughing since several days, you may have pain in the chest wall. It is the commonest cause of bruised ribs.
Those suffering from bronchitis, pneumonia, whooping cough etc may suffer from bruised ribs. People suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and fibromyalgia can also experience bruised rib as one its symptom.
A pregnant woman may experience symptoms of bruised rib due to her growing size of abdomen. Especially when she sits for a continuous period the pressure of her abdomen may give rise to bruised rib.
Symptoms Of Bruised Ribs
- Pain in the chest is one of the main symptoms of bruised rib. It can be mild discomfort or agonizing pain, depending on the severity.
- The pain increases whenever the rib cage moves. For example while breathing.
- The injured rib is tender to touch.
- Due to pain the patient avoids to breathe completely.
- Pain in rib increases by movement and lying down. The pain is sharp and pricking.
- Change in color of skin around the site of chest injury.
- Patient is not able to sleep on the painful side.
Home Remedies For A Bruised Rib
Bruised rib can make the chest wall extremely sensitive. With every breath, the pain may increase. Unlike the limbs, bruised rib cannot be immobilized. This increases the recovery time for healing.
- Rest is of prime importance to alleviate the symptoms of pain. Person should refrain from doing activities that may aggravate the symptoms.
- An application of ice pack on the affected bruised area is beneficial. But it should be done in the initial stage.
- Deep breathing after certain time helps the chest muscles and tissues to get toned and relaxed.
- Avoid playing active sports or any hard physical work until the symptoms are alleviated.
- Anti inflammatory and painkiller may become necessary when the pain is excruciating.
- A gentle massage over the bruised area may help the blood circulation and relax the tensed tissue under the ribs.
- Homeopathic medicine Arnica, Ruta, Bellis per are useful alternative treatment for relieving pain caused from bruised rib.