Caring for your injury at home

In most cases, you can take care of broken or bruised ribs at home. While your injury heals, pain relief is very important, as it will hurt every time you breathe in or cough . Taking shallow breathsand not coughing to avoidpain will only put you at risk of a chest infection.

You can look after yourself by:

  • regularly taking over-the-counter painkillers , such as paracetamol and ibuprofen (aspirin shouldn't be given to children aged under 16) follow the dosage instructions on the packet
  • holding an ice pack to your chest regularly during the first few days to reduce the pain and swelling a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel will also work
  • resting periodically take time off work if you need to, especially if your work involves physical labour or the pain is severe
  • keeping mobile between rest periods walking around and moving your shoulders occasionally can help with your breathing and help clear any mucus from your lungs
  • holding a pillow against yourchestif you need to cough
  • carrying out breathing exercises take 10 slow,deep breaths every hour, letting your lungs inflate fully each time, to help keep your lungs clear

Don't wrap a bandage tightly around your chest, as this will stop your lungs expanding properly. Try to avoid lying down or staying still for long periods. It may help to sleep more upright for the first few nights.

Avoid straining and lifting heavy objects until you're feeling better, as you may injure yourself further and take longer to recover. If you smoke, stopping may also help your recovery. Gethelp to stop smoking .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018