A rib fracture is a crack or break in one of the bones of the rib cage. A break in the cartilage connecting a rib to the breastbone (sternum) may also be called a fractured rib, even though the bone itself is not broken. The most common cause of a fractured rib is a direct blow to the chest, often from a motor vehicle accident or a fall. Ribs can also break with forceful coughing, especially when a disease such as osteoporosis or cancer has weakened the bones
What are the symptoms?
Fractured ribs are painful in the area of the fracture, with the pain ranging from mild to very severe. Breathing is often very uncomfortable. If your breastbone is pushed, especially while you're lying down, you will often feel pain at the fracture site, rather than where your breastbone is being pushed.
If the fracture is interfering with your breathing because of pain or flail chest, you may experience shortness of breath (dyspnea, or a feeling that you can't get enough air) or rapid breathing. This can make you feel anxious, restless, or scared. If your injury is severe enough to make it difficult for your lungs to function properly, you may notice a headache, dizziness, and a feeling of being tired or sleepy.
A blow that is hard enough to fracture ribs may cause further injury, especially to the lungs, abdominal organs such as the spleen or liver, large blood vessels, the head, or the neck. Because of this risk of further injuries, which may not be noticed at first, it's important to have a medical evaluation after a rib injury.
How is it treated?
In the vast majority of cases, treatment revolves around relieving pain while the fracture mends. Pain relief not only keeps you comfortable, but allows you to take deeper, more effective breaths. Ice to the injured area, rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, and prescription pain medicines such as Tylenol with codeine are helpful to relieve pain. You should also cough or take the deepest breath you can at least once every hour to get air deeply into your lungs. This will reduce your risk of getting pneumonia or a partial collapse of lung tissue (atelectasis).
If you have pain in your ribs or chest wall after a blow to the chest or a fall, but you haven't injured your neck or back, it's a good idea to lie on your injured side. This allows the lung on the uninjured side to inflate more fully when you breathe.
If you appear to have more extensive injuries after a blow to the chest or a fall, you may be treated or observed in a hospital. You may be given stronger medicine to control your pain. These medicines may be given to you by mouth, by intravenous needle into a vein, or by injection near a nerve.
In the past, it was common to tape or tightly wrap the injured rib area. While this may help lessen pain, it also keeps the chest from fully expanding when you breathe in, so you cannot take adequate breaths. This can lead to areas of lung collapse and may make it more likely for you to get pneumonia. Currently, no wrapping, taping, or bracing of the injured area is recommended.
Chest wall injuries, including rib fractures, heal slowly. Your chest wall never gets a chance to completely rest because it is always in motion as you breathe, and this slows down the healing process. Rib fractures generally take at least 6 weeks to heal. Make sure you follow all your health professional's recommendations for treatment and also talk to him or her about when it is safe for you to return to your regular activities.
your mother has a broken rib, Unfortunately the only thing doctors can do is put her on bed rest, bill her, and then send her home. its gonna take her a while to heal, a couple of months....2-5