Bruised Ribs How Long to Heal and Ways to Treat

Today we are going to find out how long does it take for bruised ribs to heal and how to manage the condition gently. In this blog, you will know about Bruised Ribs How Long to Heal and Ways to Treat.

One of the thinnest sections of bones in our body is present in our ribs. They are made up of fragile bones but have the essential protection in our entire biological systems.

Ribs are meant to protect our chest cavity, lungs, and heart. So, we need to be extra careful so that no significant injury happens in that area, causing bruised ribs.

However, despite several protections and caution, sometimes we end up experiencing some shock or trauma in those areas, which might lead to broken or, at times, bruised ribs. One or more ribs can also experience a crack or a fracture. Thus, it is crucial to understand the signs of bruised ribs and treat it immediately.

How long does it take for bruised ribs to heal

If the condition of your broken or bruised ribs is severe, you might take a considerably more protracted amount of time to heal from that.

Medical advice from medical professionals will explain the severity of your condition. So, whenever you find any difficulty or pain in the bones of your chest, see a doctor for a follow-up.

Seeing a doctor will help you gauge the severity of the injury and prevent any other more severe damages. Also, you will get a knowledgeable insight into the available treatment options and what measures you will have to take to get better quickly.

After obtaining a brief overview regarding bruised ribs, let’s now look at the different symptoms of bruised ribs. How will you understand if you have bruised ribs? If you want to know the answers, then check below.

Symptoms of bruised ribs

If you have bruised ribs, it’s not difficult to gauge their presence. It will be telling upon your health. Here are the symptoms:

Troubled breathing

Your breathing will be painful and abnormal. So, trouble breathing is one of the most acute symptoms of bruised ribs.


If you have experienced some injury in your ribs, you will experience pain there.

Chest movement discomfort

You will have trouble while coughing or even breathing. Thus, any chest movement might lead to pain and discomfort.

Muscle spasms

You might experience muscle spasms around the area of the rib cage along with its irregular appearance.


If you have broken ribs, you might observe a crack or feel the broken ribs inside your chest cavity.

The blood vessels might rupture at the time of injury, leading to bruised skin in the injury site.

If the tissues experience dep rupture, there might be a blood flux in the adjoining areas.

Also, you should know the fact that there might be no bruises on your skin, but you might still have bruised ribs.

So, you might not have any external visibility of your bruised ribs. But if you feel any discomfort internally, see a doctor immediately.

bruised ribs

What causes bruised ribs

If you have followed this article this far, you know about the symptoms of bruised ribs. But, what about the causes?

What causes a bruised or broken rib? If you want to answer that question, follow the details below.

Usually, chest trauma is the most dominant reason behind your ribs being bruised.

Now, if you want to trace the origins of chest trauma, that might open many options. You might have fallen from a height or slipped on the floor, which has led to a chest injury.

If you are a sportsperson, then maybe while playing, you might have hit a ball or bent your body in such a way that it has caused a chest injury.

Crash injuries, assaults, accidents in motor vehicles are other common occurrences that have led to mild or severe chest injuries.

Also, if a person has osteoporosis, then a violent episode of coughing can also culminate in a bruised or broken rib.

There might also occur injuries in the soft tissues present in your chest, involving cartilages and muscles.

Coughing or forceful twisting might lead to problems in the intercostal muscles, and these muscles help in the rib cage flexibility.

Pregnant women can also experience injuries and rib fractures. The growing size of the uterus might infringe on the allotted areas of the body, which might cause damage to the ribs. So, they are advised to stay put, especially during their third trimester.

bruised ribs

Diagnosing signs of bruised ribs

Medical history is one of the most critical sections of diagnosing any disease. So, if you have experienced some injury or trauma, give the details to your doctor, and they will listen to the elements and take note of the symptoms.

After that, the doctor’s physical examination will ascertain the injury site. They might also listen to the movement of the heart or lungs.

One of the essential parts of diagnosing and treating bruised or broken ribs is evaluating the patient’s breathing.

The patient might also have to appear for an x-ray or an MRI of the chest region. This will help the doctor get an internal image of the condition of the injury.

This way, he will differentiate between possible broken or bruised damage to the rib. But, if you have experienced a bruise, then an x-ray won’t capture that.

So, the patient might have to take multiple tests to properly understand the injury’s nature.

How long do bruised ribs take to heal

You cannot put a cast over your ribs, no matter if you have broken that bruised that. So, the manner of treating it is also different from treating a fractured or broken arm or leg.

Initially, doctors do not recommend surgical intervention, suggesting automatic healing from the core. But, if there are multiple fractures, surgical intervention is the best. Hence, relieving the pain is usually the only treatment for broken or bruised ribs.

Mucus might pile up in your lugs if your injury is severe. So, if you have considerable trouble breathing, you should not delay visiting a doctor.

Thus, the home remedies and treatments for a bruised rib are as follows:

1. Ice pack

Keep an ice pack with you all the time. Apply that over the inflammation or injury area. This will help in the reduction of inflammation and will provide you with some temporary yet instant relief.

2. OTC medicines

The answer to what is the best painkiller for bruised ribs is medications that reduce inflammations and help in pain relief. But, it would help if you did not use them before a consultation with a specialist. If they recommend a painkiller, then have it as per the dosage.

3. Bed rest

Take complete bed rest for an extended period. The more you move your body, the more strain you cause on the injury. So, to avoid that, the doctors recommend complete bed rest.

It would help if you avoided any activities that might worsen the pain.

Upon your recovery rate, the doctors might suggest some mild exercises to help you get better quickly.

Doctors often recommend some gentle stretching exercises to stagnate muscle dynamics.

Thus, if someone asks how long do bruised ribs take to heal, the answer is not definite. It depends on the severity of the injury that occurred. However, if you treat it at home, it can usually take around 3-6 weeks. However, if the patient still feels better, one should not delay visiting their doctor.

How should you sleep with bruised ribs

Now, let’s take a look as to how you should sleep if your rib has been bruised somehow. Often people seem to ask about bruised ribs pain lying down. So, these are how you can sleep to get a comfortable nap.

The pain won’t allow you to sleep in the usual sleeping position, which might be a bit uneasy for you. If you sleep on your back, then the upward anti-gravity movement of your chest can cause pain.

So, adjusting the sleeping position will make you feel better, and sleeping will not be as painful as before. So, here are how you can change your sleeping position.

The comfort

It might seem absurd to you that if you sleep on the side of injury, you will feel relief. If you have injured your ribs only on one side of the body, resting on that side will allow deep breathing. But, if this causes pain, then avoid this side.

Recliner often helps in more comfortable sleep. So, avoiding the bed might be helpful for you.

Pillows are a plus

If you are accustomed to sleeping without a pillow due to neck or shoulder issues, you might have to avoid that practice while you have bruised ribs.

Bruised or broken ribs condition might get relief if you use pillows while sleeping.

Place a pillow not only under your head but also under your arms. In this way, you won’t automatically roll to the other side while sleeping.

Placing pillows under the knees can also make the body even and reduce back strain.

Deep Breathing

Shallow breathing accompanies broken or bruised ribs, and moving your chest cavity and the lungs inside can lead to pain. But, you will have to practice taking a deep breath to ensure plenty of oxygen intake in your body.

You can either use a recliner or lie on the back. After that, slowly take a deep breath and then count till five while taking in air and taking that out. Do this 2-3 times and try to breathe through the nose gradually and pull the air into the belly through the diaphragm.

deep breathing for bruised ribs

Limited movements while sleeping

This is the most uncoordinated section of reducing pain while sleeping. While you are asleep, you are not aware and conscious about moving.

However, the pain in your body will not let you move as rapidly as you used to earlier. But, other than that, try to restrict the body movements while sleeping.

It would help if you did not wrap the ribs. Also, a pillow can help you from rolling on either side. You can also use a pillow to cough to cause little disturbance in the ribs.

So, these are the cautions you can follow to prevent significant problems while sleeping.

Other than these, you might consult your doctor to give you medications that will reduce pain. However, taking huge amounts of painkillers is harmful to the body. So, consult your doctor and know about the specific dosage.

Treat bruised ribs

Most of the time, the patients get confused about seeing a doctor. But if you have the following symptoms, then consult a doctor immediately:

In Children

A child might also develop a bruised rib. So, if your kid has suffered any blow or fallen from somewhere, then there are chances that they have injured their ribs.

Thus, if your kid is experiencing trouble breathing or feeling dizzy, then you can take them to a doctor.

In adults

Also, in adults, if you are experiencing a new cough that worsens over time or prolonged pain in the abdomen or chest, fever, or has any out-of-breath feeling after the injury, you should consult your healthcare provider.

Usually, if you have consulted your doctor at the right time, the injury shouldn’t take months to heal. It will heal within weeks if it is just a mere bruise and not even a crack.

However, if you have had a car accident and fractured your ribs, that will take some time. In that case, it is best to do an X-Ray to see the internal condition of the ribs.

Final Thoughts

It would help if you weren’t mindless about your injury because this might also impact lung health. So, initially, see a doctor and if they advise you to take a rest, then leave everything and take complete bed rest.

Rest assured, it won’t take much time to heal completely!

Shusree Mukherjee
Shusree Mukherjee
With 10+ years of experience in SEO content writing, Shusree believes content can move mountains while you deep dive into a pool of new experiences through learning and unlearning. Shusree loves to write on travel, health, beauty, celebrity, food, and all that jazz.

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