Broken Rib Symptoms

Broken Rib Symptoms are specific and obvious.

If you have a broken (or fractured) rib, you'll know it.  You'll REALLY know it.

A bruised rib is bad enough.  A break or fracture is even worse.

The good news is, it's mostly just pain.  Sure it's BAD pain, but it's just pain.

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Causes of Broken Rib Symptoms

There are three main causes of a bruised rib or broken rib.

  1. Impact
  2. Disease (for instance, osteoporosis or cancer)


Impact can come in any of a variety of forms:

  •  a fall (off a horse, down the stairs, onto the floor, onto the corner/edge of something like a coffee table
  • walking into something
  • car accident, sports impact (football tackle, wrestling, jujitsu, etc)
  • too strong of a hug or squeeze
  • etc

The impact causes bruise or bruise and fracture/break.  That causes pain in general and quick progression of the Pain Causing Dynamic.


Disease can cause bone pain.  But in the context of broken rib symptoms, the role that disease plays here is more about weakening the bone structure such that a fracture or break can happen, or happen more easily.

Bone cancer weakens bone, and it causes bone pain.  If you have bone pain for no reason (you didn't run into anything or have any impact or pressure), it's worth it to see a doctor just to rule out anything serious.

Osteoporosis, which is not really a disease (it's a nutrition deficiency symptom) weakens bone so it can easily fracture (or break, as in the case of a broken hip bone).

Broken rib symptoms from impact are different than symptoms from osteoporosis or bone cancer.

Broken Rib Symptoms
Two Types Of Pain

There are two general categories of rib pain, controlled by the cause of the fracture or break.

Broken ribs from impact injury is BAD.

Fractured or broken ribs from osteoporosis or bone disease can become bad, but for the most part, even with fractures, it's more dull constant ache.

Impact break symptoms

When you're in a car accident and break a rib, it hurts. A LOT.  For a long time.

The pain is:

  • sharp
  • intense
  • if you could just hold perfectly still, it wouldn't hurt so bad
  • suddenly spiked by any small movement like breathing (bad), coughing/sneezing (terrible), laughing (terrible), bending or twisting (bad enough to stop your action)

Fracture from disease symptoms

When you have rib fractures, even multiple fractures, from osteoporosis the pain is:

  • dull
  • mild to moderate ache
  • mostly constant
  • tiny to small movements don't spike the pain terribly

Why The Difference?

Fracture pain from osteroporosis isn't as bad because the bone sturctures have weakened.  Those fractures are more of a crumbling falling apart than a 'break' from impact.

So it's more of a degeneration pain.

Whereas broken ribs from impact had a lot of sudden force applied to the spot(s).

So not only is there the break itself, but there's also bone bruise (along the area of impact, and where bone broke).  Osteoporosis fractures doesn't have the bone bruise component (or it has much less of it).

How To Minimize
Broken Rib Symptoms

How to minimize broken rib symptoms and have things heal faster?

You can just let time make things better.  But it's a slow process.

Or, you can put in some time and effort and speed things along.

Do note, that fractures from osteoporosis pretty much won't heal with time.  They can't, because the body doesn't have the nutrition it needs to build strong bones.

But if you got a damaging bear hug in wrestling, or took an impact in football, or car accident, you can speed things along.  It might not feel like it at first, but there's a lot happening there under the surface of the skin.

So, How To Minimize Broken Rib Symptoms?

  1. Ice pack - 2-3 minutes on, 10 or so off.  Or, alternate cold and heat, always finishing on cold.
  2. Keep things moving, i.e., continue to inhale/exhale while expanding/contracting the ribcage.  It will hurt, but the movement does all sorts of good things (circulation, information through the nervous system to the brain, etc).
  3. Increase necessary nutrition.  See:  Tendon Repair Pack (it's all the same necessary nutrition)

If it's osteoporosis related, you have to reverse the osteroporosis.  That will allow actual healing.

The above three are necessary for speeding healing/recovery. Take note, however, that you probably won't notice much in the first couple few weeks.

The game here is becoming pain free in 2-4 months instead of 6-8 months.  The icing and such will help in the very short term, absolutely, but keep your focus on the bigger picture.

Have fun!

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