Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

How to Relieve the Pain of Bruised Ribs

author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
How to Relieve the Pain of Bruised Ribs
When you have bruised ribs, there are a few steps you can take to avoid pain and aid recovery. Photo Credit: Drobot Dean/Adobe Stock

Your ribcage consists of 12 ribs, with muscles and tendons between each rib. If you play a contact sport or have experienced trauma to the torso, such as after a car accident, you could be experiencing bruised ribs. This means the tissue around the ribs has been injured, but the bones themselves are not cracked or fractured. Bruised-rib symptoms include abdominal or chest pain that worsens when you sneeze, take a deep breath or cough forcefully. If you do experience bruised ribs, there are methods to deal with the pain while your body recovers.

Video of the Day

Step 1

Ice your affected ribs. You can purchase an ice pack or create your own by putting ice cubes in a plastic bag and covering the bag with a hand towel. Apply the ice to the area in 10- to 15-minute increments. Icing the area helps to relieve inflammation and its associated pain.

Step 2

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These medications help to reduce blood vessel swelling and relieve pain as your ribs heal. Use only as directed to avoid damage to your stomach lining.

Step 3

Limit movement as much as possible, especially twisting or lifting movements. Although it can be frustrating to remain sedentary, doing so prevents further stretching and straining of the ribs that can advance the injury. You should occasionally perform exercises like pointing and flexing the foot in order to maintain good circulation to your extremities while you rest.

Step 4

Increase your intake of fluid and fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Constipation is a common side effect of being sedentary when recovering from a bruised rib. By maintaining a healthy digestive system, you can reduce abdominal pain that can accompany rib bruising.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.



Demand Media