If taking a breath is hurting your chest more than it is helping your lungs, you may have a rib injury. One of the most common symptoms of this type of injury is pain when inhaling, exhaling, or talking, since we have to breathe simultaneously to speaking. Laughing with a rib injury is enough to make your mood take a turn for the worse as well. Because of their relationship to your lungs, injuries to your ribs can definitely be a hindrance to your normal daily routine. Regardless of how you may have hurt your ribs, Advance Health and Wellness has treatments available that may be able to help.
Symptoms indicating the presence of a rib injury include swelling or redness in the affected area, pain when lifting the arms, inability to sleep on the chest or back, sharp pain when the site of injury is touched, and pain associated with breathing. Since your breathing can be affected in ways that hinder the length and depth of your breaths, you may also experience dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, fatigue, or even feelings of anxiousness caused by too little oxygen making its way to the brain.
There are various types of rib injury from a fracture or brake, to bruising and inflamed cartilage in the ribs. Often muscle spasms in the chest can also cause rib pain. Diseases that affect bone, such as Osteoporosis, can also be responsible for pain in the ribs or lead to a greater risk of injury. In cases of prolonged rib pain, a bone scan may be needed to rule out bone cancer.
Anyone at any age, gender, or activity level, can experience a rib injury. Still, increased level of activity, like participating in sports, can greatly increase your risk. Those who play contact sports such as football, soccer, hockey, or wrestling, as well as anyone who boxes or does mixed martial arts, can easily receive blows to the rib that will result in the various types of rib injury and pain. Even people who participate in live action role play and Renaissance festivals, where jousting or sword fighting are reenacted, are at risk.
Being active in athletics may increase the risks of injury, but anyone can experience a blow to the chest resulting from a fall, car accident, or altercation. Those who work on ladders like construction workers, fire fighters, or electricians, and anyone whose job puts them at risk for physical violence, such as police officers or club security, may damage a rib at any time.
Rib injuries almost always require treatment, as they so greatly affect our ability to breathe. If you are not getting enough oxygen to your brain, far more than just your chest could end up hurting. Over the counter or prescription medications, as well as cold compresses applied to the area to reduce swelling, may treat your pain symptoms. Ultimately, however, if there is a substantial injury, taking these medications will only treat the symptoms and not the actual injury. Avoiding the cause may also lead to further damage.