Recovering from broken ribs is a lengthy process that requires careful pain management by an experienced accident doctor. It is important to follow your provider’s instructions closely as failing to do so could slow the healing process or lead to permanent damage. If your accident doctor in Atlanta, GA , has diagnosed you with broken ribs, here is a look at what you can expect from your medical treatment.
To make a diagnosis, your doctor will start by performing a physical exam during which he or she will gently press on your chest to see if it painful. He or she will order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan, to determine if and where the ribs are broken and if there are any other injuries to internal organs. The lungs in particular can be damaged when the ribs are broken.
Because most people with rib fractures don’t need surgery and cannot wear a bandage, the central part of treatment is usually managing pain while the body heals itself. Your accident doctor may instruct you to use ice packs as often as 20 minutes per hour you are awake to reduce inflammation. Prescription pain medications may also be prescribed for severe pain. If your pain is tolerable, your doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter pain medicines, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, instead.
Although your doctor will not recommend that you rest all day, which can lead to a collapsed lung, he or she will tell you some activities to avoid. Until you are healed, you should not lift heavy objects or do any activity that puts pressure on your ribs. Some people are able to return to work soon after their injuries, but people with physically demanding jobs may need more time away from work. Do no restart sports, high-impact exercise, or other types of physical activities until your doctor has said it is safe.