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Treatment for a broken rib can be tricky

There are many signs and symptoms of a broken rib, including pain when you rotate your torso and take deep breaths. If you're experiencing any discomfort, it's important to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis.

During your physical exam, your doctor will press on the injured area and listen to your lungs as you breathe. While this will give them a better idea of what's going on, they may also order diagnostic tests such as:

  • CT scan
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Bone scan

With one or more of these, your doctor will have a clear idea of the severity of your injury.

What's the best treatment?

Treatment for a broken rib can be tricky due to the fact that you can't cast the injury. This typically means that treatment includes:

  • Restricted activity: Any physical activity, both for work or pleasure, will be restricted as you recover.
  • Ice: This can provide pain relief and speed up the healing process.
  • Medication: If it hurts to breathe, for example, you may take shallow breaths. This increases the likelihood of developing pneumonia. With the use of pain medication, you won't experience nearly as much discomfort.
  • Therapy: Once your pain subsides, your doctor may want you to partake in some form of therapy, such as breathing exercises, to help you get back to normal.

If you suffer a broken rib at work, such as the result of a slip and fall, report the accident to your employer as quickly as possible.

In the event that your doctor suggests time away from work, file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

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