Pain management and respiratory physiotherapy are helpful in the treatment of fractured ribs. How do these strategies heal? Analyze this.

Last updated: March 06, 2023

A rib fracture is a fracture in any part of the bones of the rib cage. It can involve one or more ribs at the same time. Also, it can be a complete fracture or tear into small pieces.

The most common cause of rib fracture is chest trauma. Most often it is a closed trauma, that is, without internal fibers communicating with the outside.

Open chest injuries generally correspond to injuries generated by sharp objects.

How does trauma cause broken ribs?

Fractured ribs can appear as a result of chest trauma in the following scenarios:

  • Direct trauma: this is a car accident, physical injury or accident.
  • Repetition: in big sports impact or in chronic cough. Repeated minimal trauma culminates in a stress fracture.
  • Indirect trauma: Indirectly fractured ribs occur due to trauma that does not reach the chest. This transmission of forces can also happen in car accidents.
  • complications

    In older adults, rib fractures tend to be osteoporosis-based. In infants, they are secondary to bone consolidation failure.

    Depending on the involvement of other organs, the risks and recovery can be variable. But the older the patient, the greater the risk of contracting pneumonia-like complications.

    Symptoms and diagnosis

    Rib fractures tend to be very painful and also interfere with normal breathing patterns. Further, what is called the thoracic vollus can be seen. It occurs when two or more successive ribs fracture into multiple pieces, creating chest instability.

    So it happens that the chest moves in the opposite direction to the rest of the rib cage when taking a deep breath. This prevents adequate expansion of the lung and is associated with severe adjacent lung injury.

    On physical examination, there is usually pain on palpation or breathing, coughing, sneezing, or any Valsalva maneuver. People look stiff when breathing, due to discomfort.

    Stitched, or open wounds may appear in the chest.

    A chest X-ray is done to diagnose broken ribs. However, if the image does not change, but the suspicion is high, computed tomography should be continued.

    The intense chest pain of a rib fracture can be confused with other diseases, such as cardiac conditions.

    Tips for recovering from broken ribs

    Treatment for broken ribs includes pain control and breathing exercises to prevent complications. The pharmacological basis is anti-inflammatory non-steroidal drugs and incentive spirometer therapy.

    The healing process usually takes between 6 to 8 weeks. Breathing exercises are used to maintain the expansion of the lungs, to avoid the collection of secretions that can be involved in peri-pneumonia.

    Managing the pain is important

    Broken ribs can be so painful that they prevent adequate lung inflation and expansion. It’s a pain in the ass.

    Prescription pain relievers include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen and diclofenac). When they are not enough, opioids such as tramadol are added (only under medical care and indication).

    Sometimes gabapentin is also indicated. Moreover, there is no scientific data on this option that fully validates its usefulness. They act as muscle relaxants to increase the effect of the aforementioned analgesics.

    Sometimes nerve blocks or anesthetic infiltrations (lidocaine) are required to control pain.

    Surgery is usually not indicated except for displacement of broken ribs and punctured lungs. In this case, the fixation of the ribs is done with metal plates.

    cold place

    It is recommended to apply a cold compress for 20 minutes every hour, without interruption of sleep, for the first two days. Then decrease to 20 minutes, three times a day.

    This helps reduce pain and inflammation. The cold compress must be wrapped in a cloth before removing it, so as to burn the skin.

    active rest

    Broken ribs take time to heal. Complete rest is recommended for the first week and then low impact exercises are incorporated. Stress in the pain.

    High-impact sports should not be performed unless authorized by a physician.

    Staying active after the first week of rest will reduce the risk of contracting pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Then the risk of embolus decreases.

    Breathing exercises are the main ever rib fracture

    Breathing exercises, in conjunction with pain relievers, are what will truly heal broken ribs. Chest extension exercises can also be used.

    it should be executed slowly and gently, gradually increasing in difficulty. However, no exercise should be started if the doctor has not yet indicated that it is safe.

    A physiotherapy professional will be able to guide the exercises and recommend things that can be done at home.

    Using an incentive spirometer

    An incentive spirometer is a device that helps to achieve proper deep breaths. It is recommended to complete every 1 or 2 hours and 10 to 15 breath cycles.

    In actual use, the mouthpiece of the spirometer is placed in the mouth, having been sealed with the lips. The exercise consists in inhaling (inhaling) deeply. Try to raise the spirometer as much as possible. You can also try to keep one of the pieces in the center.

    In more critical patients, an alternative is a positive pressure bottle. It has proven useful where there are more than 3 concomitant rib fractures.

    dia- respiration

    Also, what is called abdominal breathing, allows full expansion of the lungs. Inhaled air is able to go to the widest part of the lung parenchyma. This prevents air from becoming trapped and causing future problems or complications.

    Feel the bucket of Spirit

    This type of breathing exercise requires elevation and expansion of the ribs. It increases the transverse diameter of the ribs, allowing deeper breaths.

    yoga positions

    There are certain yoga positions that can strengthen the muscles between the ribs (intercostal muscles);

  • Cobra o bhujangasana.
  • Cat/cow or marjaryasana/bitilasana.
  • Extended dog or adho mukha svanasana.
  • They should be trained carefully and trained under a teacher. Stretching can make the injury worse.

    He constantly recovers from broken ribs

    Breathing exercises and even yoga for broken ribs work. There will be no scars immediately. Perhaps these resources can reduce the inconvenience, but it is prudent to consider that 6-8 weeks is necessary.

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