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How do you treat a broken rib?

Imagine you were involved in a catastrophic auto collision that was so severe you feel lucky to have survived. As you were exiting the wreckage of your vehicle, however, you noticed a sharp pain in your side while breathing. Thinking back, you even remember feeling a distinctive "crack" in your rib when the accident took place. You may be suffering from a broken rib, so it's important to seek medical attention and treatment immediately.

A broken rib isn't exactly like other types of breaks because there's not always a lot that a doctor can do. In most cases of a broken rib, here are your best treatment options:


Time is the healer of all wounds, they say, and this is especially true for a broken rib. Sometimes, the best thing a victim can do is to relax, take it easy and give the bones of the rib enough time to fuse back together and heal. Ice at regular intervals can also help immensely with the healing process, so make sure to ask your doctor about that. Typically, a broken rib takes six weeks to heal.


The broken rib will hurt, and it's important that you breathe deeply while healing or you could contract pneumonia. As such, talk to your doctor about safe and suitable pain medication that will help you endure the pain of your injury.

Physical therapy

Most physical therapy after a broken rib involves special breathing exercises to prevent pneumonia.

Don't wrap your ribs

One outdated treatment involves wrapping the broken rib, but this has been shown to increase the chance of developing pneumonia.

Car accident victims who are suffering from broken ribs may be able to pursue financial damages in court if their injuries were caused by another negligent, unlawfully-acting or reckless motorist.

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D'Amico Law Offices, L.L.C.
310 Grant Street
Grant Building
Suite 825
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-906-8180
Fax: 412-904-2245
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