When the bone located around the chest fractures, a rib fracture occurs. This type of injury is most common among athletes and older people. When the fracture happens, the rib may be fractured inward and this can lead to problems such as liver, lung and heart damage. It can also cause the lung collapse and many other problems. This problem has to be treated if the fracture is inward. If it is not, the fracture should heal in six weeks.
The most common causes are trauma and stress. The fractures caused by stress are commonly small and heal quickly. They are caused by the overuse of muscles connected to the ribs. This problem can also be created when coughing, which is more common among female sex. Besides that, the problem can be seen mostly among sportsman and athletes. The fractures caused by trauma can produce other injuries, like injury of certain organs. When the rib suffers a fracture on more than two places, flail chest occurs, and if this happens, there is a chance the organs get pushed inside. The most common symptoms include lump located on the chest, pain that becomes greater when breathing, chest deformation, tenderness of the chest area and protruding broken rib bone. These are the most common, along with breathing problems.
When you are having some of the problems stated, you have to visit the doctor to get a proper diagnose. In order to make a positive diagnose, the doctor will look and examine the painful area. He will also do a chest x-ray, bone scan, computed tomography scan and ultrasound. Bone scan uses a liquid inserted through the IV and the pictures will see if the liquid has found a fracture. X-ray will see if lung damage is present.
Treatment for Rib Fracture
There are medicines that can help if you are having rib fracture. Firstly, there are those for the pain and the most common are ibuprofen and acetaminophen. However, be careful when using these medications, which generally do not cause any problems, but they can produce troubles if not used correctly. Another possible medication is epidural anesthesia, which is given for serious pain and it is administered in the spine. Physical therapy is an option, which will make the bones and muscles stronger. The medication administered between the ribs affected is called intercostal nerve block. It will produce numbness that shall last for six hours. There are lung aids that can make breathing easier and one of them is a tube called spirometer.
If the injury requires that, surgery is performed. It uses plates and screws and it is usually done when flail fracture is present. If you have fever or some bruises on the chest, contact your caregiver. Also, if you experience chest pain, cough blood, experiencing vomiting, abdominal pain, and nausea, breathing troubles or if the rib part is sticking out of the skin, immediately seek help.