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A broken rib is considered to be a pretty common injury among people. There are plenty of cases throughout every year of fractured ribs. This particular injury is diagnosed when the rib cage breaks or just cracks. There are a lot of causes that lead to a broken rib, but probably the most common is trauma to the chest. A person can experience a trauma by falling or being in a motor vehicle accident or from an impact during contact sports. People need to know that it is more common for the rib to crack and not actually be broken. A cracked rib is not as dangerous as a broken one but the pain is still severe. Probably the most dangerous situations are when a broken rib damages some major blood vessels or internal organs, like the lungs. People should also know that most broken and fractured ribs heal on their own. It may take them a month or two, but they do heal. However, people need to follow a proper pain control plan in order to be able to breathe normally and avoid lung complications.

Tests and diagnosis

When a person comes to the hospital complaining about rib fracture, the doctor will need to perform several tests in order to diagnose the injury. X-ray is an imaging test which is done in almost all cases of rib fracture. However, this imaging test finds it difficult to discover fresh rib fractures and smaller cracks. A CT scan is performed often as well. This type of scanning is done after an X-ray, in order to be seen whether something was not caught on the image. An MRI and a bone scan are performed in certain cases as well. MRI is important for the look on the soft tissue and organs around the ribs.

Treatments and drugs

There is usually no need for a treatment plan since most broken or fractured ribs heal on their own in a month or two. However, people will need to take certain medications in order to relieve the pain. Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are mostly used.


There are ways people can prevent suffering from a fractured rib. A person needs to protect him or herself from athletic injuries. Decreasing the risk of household falls needs to be brought to the minimum. Another good prevention tip is to reduce the risk of suffering from osteoporosis. People need to consume proper amounts of calcium in order to have strong bones.

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