Physical therapy for rib injuries

There are thousands of individuals all over the world who end up with rib injury. The pain from this injury can be intense and debilitating. Even though various cases of cracked ribs occur due to vehicular accidents, there are also other activities that can result to rib injuries such as falls, sports and intense coughing episodes. Remember that it is uncommon for doctors to operate on rib injuries. The management of rib injuries includes rest, time and specific physical therapy programs to promote the healing process.


Most individuals who sustained rib injuries need a program that is specifically designed to promote deep breathing. An individual with this injury finds it hard to breathe and the lack of normal oxygen intake can lead to other complications including collapsed lungs and pneumonia.

An incentive spirometer is often utilized in the breathing program. This is a device that measures the depths of the breaths while breathing via a small-sized connecting hose on a plastic portable device.

Sports injuries

Rib injuries

The stress fractures on the ribs occur when repeated pressure is placed on the chest during specific movements of a particular sport.

The stress fractures on the ribs occur when repeated pressure is placed on the chest during specific movements of a particular sport. The common activities that can lead to rib stress fractures include tennis, rowing and baseball pitching.

The individual should rest and avoid movements that caused the injury in the first place. The individual might need to hold his/her arm with a sling to prevent pulling the damaged ribs.

When the individual returns to his/her workouts, it is vital to focus on strengthening the supporting muscles to relieve some of the pressure on the weakened ribs. The biceps curls focuses on strengthening the arms to take out some of the pressure off the ribs when swinging a racket. The core exercises such as crunches also strengthen the back and abdominal muscles to reduce the strain on the ribs while rowing.


There are also exercises that the individual can perform that helps speed up the recovery from rib injuries. Take note that it usually takes about 6 weeks for rib injuries. In some cases, transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS) can be utilized as part of the rehabilitation therapy to control the pain. Electrodes are positioned over the affected area and shots of electricity are transferred via the skin.

Pain control

There are also medications that can be prescribed to reduce the pain from rib injuries, but other measures can also be used. Mild stretching that expands the diaphragm can help when the individual takes deep breaths.

Stretching exercises that focuses on the trunk and shoulders expand the chest cavity to make the breathing comfortable. The stretching also reduces the referred pain via the shoulder and back that often manifests after keeping the arm under a sling.


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