Recognizing Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Broken Ribs

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Recognizing Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Broken Ribs
Recognizing Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Broken Ribs

Broken or cracked ribs can result from an injury or impact to the chest. This condition is often not visible from the outside, but can be recognized from the symptoms. In severe cases, broken ribs can injure the organs in the chest cavity

Ribs or ribs are parts of the body that have a function as a protector of vital organs, such as the heart and lungs. This bone structure is very strong, but can still crack or break. One of them is due to impact on the chest when falling or having an accident.

Recognize Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Broken Ribs - Alodokter

In most cases, rib fractures are just cracks and usually heal on their own within 1-2 months with home care. However, if the impact is very strong, the ribs can actually break through the skin or damage large blood vessels and nearby vital organs, such as the lungs and liver.

Causes of Broken Ribs

As previously stated, broken ribs are most often caused by blows to the chest. This can happen due to traffic accidents, falls, abuse, or collisions during sports.

However, that's not the only cause. Broken ribs can also occur due to certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis or bone cancer. Both of these conditions can make bones brittle, so bones break easily even just because of coughing or doing daily activities.

Symptoms of a Broken Rib

Broken ribs can be characterized by the appearance of pain in the chest. Symptoms of pain due to a broken rib will get worse when:

  • Ribs are touched where they are broken.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Turn around.
  • Cough.

Broken Rib Treatment

The initial treatment for broken ribs is by giving pain relievers. The goal is that the patient can still breathe, cough, and move the body more comfortably. If the pain due to a broken rib is not relieved immediately, shortness of breath can occur.

For adults, there are 3 choices of pain relievers that can be consumed, namely paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin. However, for children, giving pain relievers must first be consulted with a doctor, because there are some pain relievers that should not be taken by children under a certain age.

In addition, elderly people, pregnant women, asthmatics, people with kidney disease, and people who have had a stroke, heart disease, stomach bleeding, or heartburn also need to be careful when using painkillers.

Another way that can be used to relieve pain due to a broken rib is to bandage the chest. However, the splint should not be too tight because it can prevent the lungs from expanding and increase the risk of pneumonia.

Generally, broken ribs heal on their own. However, if the ribs are completely broken and the tip of the fracture punctures the internal organs, complications such as pneumothorax (accumulation of air in the chest cavity) and hemothorax (accumulation of blood in the chest cavity) can occur.

In this case, surgery is needed to repair broken bones and damage to internal organs. In addition, surgery is also required if one rib is broken in two places, so that one vertebra is detached and "floating".This condition is called flail chest.

Broken ribs can also cause complications in the form of respiratory tract and lung infections. This can happen because people with broken ribs find it difficult to cough due to pain, resulting in a buildup of mucus in the airways which will trigger infection. In this condition, the doctor will provide treatment to treat the infection and make it easier to expel phlegm.

Broken ribs usually heal on their own. Even so, if the condition is severe, rib fractures can cause complications. Therefore, check with your doctor if you have a chest injury, to see if your ribs are broken or not.

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