Healthpointe Medical Southern California

Recognizing Rib Fractures

While the rib are relatively resistant to injuries, accidents can happen and these bones can be broken especially in persons with illnesses that make their bones weaker (e.g., cancer, osteoporosis). Common causes of rib fracture include direct blow to the chest such as during a fall, an accident, or a deliberate action although cough hard can also result in a broken bone.

Unfortunately, rib fractures may not be easy to diagnose without proper medical diagnostic tools and technologies like x-rays and CT scans. Keep in mind that many of the symptoms of rib fractures can be attributed to other medical conditions, say, fatigue. Here then are the information that everybody must know about recognizing rib fractures, giving first-aid measures, and treating them with the assistance of a qualified doctor.

Symptoms to Recognize

When you have suffered from a direct blow on the chest, your best course of action is to immediately seek medical attention. Remember that your ribs protect several internal organs so a fracture in one or more bones can injure your lungs, spleen, and blood vessels, among other parts of your body.

The characteristic signs of a fractured rib include:

  • Mild to severe pain in and around the injured area depending on the location and type of the fracture
  • Pain when breathing
  • Pain around the injury when the breastbone (i.e., the long, flat and bony plate on the center of the chest) is pressed
  • Because the ribs protect the internal organs in the chest, a fractured rib can also cause:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, tiredness, and sleepiness

Many of these signs, in fact, may merit a visit to the emergency room but when these are combined, you should not hesitate to have your relative or friend drive you to the nearest hospital or to call 911 for an ambulance.

Things to Do

While waiting for the ambulance, you can act on first-aid measures to lessen the pain and the risk for further injury including:

  • Apply ice to the affected area. An ice packs or an ice compress will suffice for the job with your goal being to reduce the pain and inflammation in the area; a bag of frozen peas also works well, if not better, but keep a towel between your skin and the bag to avoid skin damage. Just be sure to apply the ice for no more than 20 minutes each time and then rest for 10 minutes to encourage blood flow.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication, if necessary.

For more information about Healthpointe call 888-719-8448 or walk in to any of our offices such as, the Corona office by  Norco, Home Gardens, Mira Loma, and Pedley.

About Healthpointe:

Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles county, Orange county, San Bernardino county and Riverside county). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including Long Beach, which is conveniently located near Signal Hill, Carson, Seal Beach, Lakewood, Bellflower, Compton, Hawaiian Gardens and Los Alamitos. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit


About Brandon Davila

Hello! This is Brandon Davila, the Content Manager of Healthpointe. I’m a lifelong learner and chronic book-reader with a strong passion for the healthcare industry and search engine optimization. For more of Brandon, check out his articles on the Healthpointe blog.

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