If you have ever broken your ribs, then you know that getting comfortable enough to sleep can be difficult. Today’s article will help you understand the symptoms of broken ribs, the most common causes and the best tips on how to sleep with broken ribs.
Common Causes of Broken Ribs
The most common cause of broken ribs is an impact against your rib(s), which can be caused by contact sports such as contact football; motor vehicle accidents; slip and falls; as well as physical abuse. In some cases, ribs can be broken due to repetitive trauma (such as repetitive movements in physical sports like golf) or even from severe coughing. Broken ribs may also be experienced due to a weakening of the rib bones, which can be caused by osteoporosis or even cancerous lesions.
Symptoms of Broken Ribs
The most common symptoms people experience with broken ribs is pain which increases during three activities: when you press on the area that is injured, when you take a particularly deep breath, and when you bend or twist your body which aggravates the area around the ribs. If you are experiencing these symptoms, consult with your physician as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can cross check the symptoms against the ones listed in the video below:
Tips on How to Sleep With Broken Ribs
Sleeping with broken ribs can be difficult, but once you know the best tips on how to sleep comfortably despite your injury, you will be getting your shut-eye in no time.
- Tip # 1 – Try sleeping on a recliner – Some people find that sleeping in a recliner is much easier and more comfortable than attempting to sleep in a bed. This may be because lying in a reclining seating position puts less pressure on your ribs, which in turn reduces the amount of pain and discomfort you feel as you sleep.
- Tip # 2 – Use pillows to keep yourself still – Rolling around in your sleep is likely to aggravate your rib injury, so use pillows on your bed or recliner to keep yourself more still during the night. Place pillows underneath each of your arms, which will keep you from rolling around; and make sure to put at least 1-2 pillows underneath your knees to reduce back stress and/or pain.
- Tip # 3 – Use pain relievers a short while before you go to bed – Whether you’re using prescription pain relievers or OTC medication, take some pain relievers a short while before you head to bed so that the medication has time to start working before you lay down to sleep. Make sure that you are only taking medication that can be used before you go to bed.
- Tip # 4 – Apply cold therapy before going to bed – Similar to # 3, you want to try and relieve as much of the existing pain as possible before you go to bed. One way to do this is to apply cold therapy (ice gel pack, cold therapy wrap for ribs, etc.) to the affected rib area. This should numb the pain in the sensitive area which may relieve enough of the pain for you to get some rest.
- Tip # 5 – Try sleeping on your side or your back – The best sleep position when you have a rib injury is to sleep on your side or your back. It may seem contrary, but try sleeping on your injured side first; some people find that this reduces the pain as it keeps the injured ribs still. If it hurts, however, switch to the other side.
Sleeping with broken ribs isn’t easy, but these tips should get you going in the right direction. The key is to experiment to see what works for you. If you have experience with this, we’d love to hear from you. What helped you? Did anything make it worse? Whatever it is, we’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below!
Disclaimer – We are not medical practitioners here at SimplyJnJ. The information that we post, such as how to sleep with broken ribs, is done so for information purposes only. Always consult a doctor if you experience pain.