Broken (fractured) or bruised ribs are usually caused by a fall or blow to the chest, or occasionally by severe coughing. They can be very painful, but will normally improve within about three to six weeks.
If you think you've injured your ribs, you'll often be able to look after yourself at home. Ribs can't be easily splinted or supported like other bones, so they're usually left to heal naturally.
Broken and bruised ribs are generally treated in the same way, so it's not usually necessary to have an X-ray to determine what your exact injury is.
You generally only need to seek medical advice if things get worse or don't improve, or if you were injured during a serious accident. See When to see a doctor , below,for more information.
Read more about how long it takes injured ribs to heal, how to look after yourself until you're feeling better, and when you should seek medical advice.
A broken or bruised rib will feel very painful, particularly when you breathe in. You may feel you can only takeshallow breaths, but it's important youtry to breathe normally to help clear mucus fr
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 breathsa
See your GP if your pain hasn't started to improve within a few weeks. They can prescribe stronger painkillers if necessary and refer you to hospital if they feel you need further treatment. Seek med