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When Broken Ribs Are a Laughing Matter

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Broken ribs are no laughing matter….or are they? While I personally have never experienced the agony of such, I know many people who have. Many people have had to endure this agonizing crisis.

According to www.ehow.com, the most common cause of fractured ribs is a direct blow to the chest from either the front or the side of the body. Any time a fractured rib is suspected, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention. A doctor can examine you to make sure that the fracture has not caused damage to any internal organs, most specifically to the heart and the lungs. Once your fractured ribs have been properly diagnosed, the healing process takes place.

To ensure that this process is done properly and quickly, there are many action items you can pursue. Bear in mind that the average length of time it takes to heal a fractured rib is six weeks. There will be pain, but these tips can help minimize the discomfort:

**Take aspirin for the pain. Because your ribs may be sore and tender, movement can be painful, possibly causing unhealthy postures and breathing habits.

**Take deep breaths for several minutes at least once per hour to ensure you are fully expanding your lungs. Continue breathing normally at all other times to avoid infection.

**Ice the afflicted area. You can do this for up to 20 minutes at a time. This will not only diminish the pain, but it will reduce the swelling.

**Get sufficient rest. Your body needs the energy to heal itself.

**Adjust your sleeping habits by actually sleeping on the injured side. This can help with the pain and will force you to breathe more briefly while sleeping.

**Get an x-ray about a month after the injury was sustained to determine that the broken rib is healing properly.

**Be patient. This does take time to heal, and you do not want to engage in any physical activity that can result in further harm.

**Be sure to never treat a rib injury at home. It is important to seek medical attention and a thorough examination from a physician to ensure you are on the right track to healing properly.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.