What does a broken rib feel like?


WebMD lists the symptoms of a broken rib as mild to severe pain around the injured area, pain while breathing and severe pain if the patient's breastbone is pushed upon. Additionally, Mayo Clinic reports that some patients feel severe pain when completing twisting or bending motions like sitting.

WebMD describes secondary symptoms that may occur if the patient is unable to breathe normally. Difficulty breathing can lead to dizziness, headache, lethargy and continued shortness of breath. A person who suspects a rib fracture after sustaining a trauma and experiencing tenderness in the ribcage area needs to seek medical attention immediately. WebMD explains that since the organs underlying the rib cage are sensitive to trauma, it is necessary for a physician to check for complications, such as punctured lungs or severed blood vessels.

Most of the treatment for a fractured rib occurs at home, and the rib usually heals within six weeks with little medical intervention. According to Mayo Clinic, treatments like compression wraps are rarely used to treat rib fractures due to increased risk of pneumonia. Since the entire healing process is often quite painful, WebMD lists possible treatments like ice application on the injured area and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription painkillers to help manage pain.

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