A fractured or cracked rib is caused due to trauma sustained by the bones in accordance with the intensity with which the blow has been inflicted. It is ‘courtesy’ this trauma or injury that the rib cage is damaged, resulting in cracked ribs. These cracks may be categorized as deep or hair line in nature. Due to accidents or untoward incidents like being boxed on the chest may cause the ribs to either break or endure a crack. It may be safely concluded that ribs enduring cracks may not be as painful as ribs that have undergone a breakage. Predominantly, the ribs may sustain a crack, however, in a few unfortunate cases, where the severity of the trauma is incomprehensible, the ribs may break down completely. Where broken ribs may require treatment, the scenario may be interpreted differently where cracked ribs are concerned. Optimal pain management is what is required to reduce the intensity of pain. Where cracked ribs can heal on their own within a matter of a few months, a regimen of exercising should be set in order to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by the condition.
Exercises for Cracked Ribs
When you endure fractured ribs, rest is an imperative treatment method. So a cracked rib care regimen involves you packing on ample of rest. When movement is a possibility, you may consider doing exercises specific to the damaged area.
Stretch your Chest Muscles
This is an elementary exercise that can aid in loosening the chest muscles and increasing mobility. All you have to do to do this exercise is to stand erect and raise your arms straight up in the air. Now gradually fold them, so that the palm of your left hand reaches the elbow of the right hand and vice versa. Stretch and hold the position for a few seconds, however, do not exert extra pressure. If you experience pain, stop the session and breathe normally. You may repeat the exercise 4 to 5 times and increase the repetitions when you feel you are ready to handle them.
Due to pain being a major issue, one may shift from normal breathing to shallow breathing. Shallow breathing is not the way to reduce pain. On the contrary, by following this practice to reduce pain for the moment, the air passageways may get blocked due to accumulation of fluid in the lungs that may further cause pneumonia. For the reduction of pain, you may consider taking pain killers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol on consulting a doctor.
If your breathing is labored, fold your legs and place a pillow and hold it with your hands gripping it, in order to press the abdomen gently. The pillow acts as a support system for you to breathe right and reduce pain.
Stretch Your Arms
This exercise can be done at any time of the day, except for the moment when you wake up in the morning as it is at this point of time that your bones have stiffened; and that they may exert extra pressure; not to forget the injury that has made the bones weak. Sit on a chair or stand erect and stretch your arms forward. Club your hands in a handshake and exert considerable pressure. By using the word ‘considerable’; I mean pressure that you can handle. Raise your arms perpendicular, avoiding the bend at the elbow and stretching the arms. Hold the position and release the pressure after a few seconds.
Apart from the above mentioned exercises for fractured ribs, make sure that you keep the following pointers in mind to get things right.
* Breathe right; shallow breathing is not what should be encouraged.
* Eat right. Follow a balanced diet and eat foods that can be digested easily, yet give you the required amount of energy.
* Sleep in the right position. If sleeping in a particular position is not suiting you, consult your doctor. Leaving situations like these on the mercy of trial and error method may not be helpful; it will only manage to gift you nothing but sleepless nights and drowsiness throughout the day.
* Rest right. Do not over-rest. Mobility is important, even if it means going to the kitchen and fetching a glass of water for yourself.
* Take the right medications and consult a doctor if discomfort increases. You may require to place heating pads or cold compresses to reduce the pain.
Bear in mind that fractured ribs take time to heal, however, one may rest assured that they will. Take care. Hope you feel better soon.
By Azmin Taraporewala