Rib injuries in simple words mean rib fractures but less intense. They can occur of force on the chest due to falls, sports injuries, accidents, prolonged coughing, etc. In cases like these, ribs are not broken completely but are bruised and cause pain and breathlessness. Though, they heal by themselves in a few weeks but need proper care to get relief from it quickly.

It is important to get it diagnosed by a healthcare professional who can suggest appropriate measures to help your bruised ribs heal without damaging it further. Here, we have listed some ways how to get relief from bruised ribs and subside their pain and discomfort as you heal.

How To Get Relief From Bruised Ribs And Heal It Quickly

1] Apply An Ice Pack On Bruised Ribs To Reduce Inflammation

This method is one of the most obvious ways how to get relief from bruised ribs. Icing on inflamed areas decreases the blood flow in that area. It numbs the area helping in relieving the pain. Icing that particular portion of the body three to four times a day acts as a pain reliever. Wrap cubes of ice in a cloth and apply them to the affected area for easy application and to reduce pain and swelling. If you do not have ice at the moment, you can use a frozen bag of vegetables or a cloth dipped in chilled water which will give similar effects, or use polar ice machines from OrthoBracing.

2] Sleep In A Semi Upright Position Until The Bruise Gets Healed Completely

Sleeping with a rib bruise can be challenging as it obstructs proper breathing. Putting pressure may worsen your pain and can be discomforting. When you are dealing with a rib bruise, you must adopt sleeping in a comfortable position that does t is better than sleeping in a semi-upright position. Use a pillow or bolsters to help you sleep better by creating an elevated surface. They also act as props to not let you make involuntary movements while sleeping. This will save you from aches and pains when you wake up in the morning.

3] Apply A Warm Compress To Relieve Pain

People often wonder how to get relief from bruised ribs quickly and it often confuses them whether to use a heat compress or a cold one on the injured area. According to health experts, one must apply a heat compress to the affected area when there are muscle spasms. You can either use an electric heating pad or dip a towel in hot water to make it a warm compress. It is also recommended that you apply hot and cold compress alternatively to achieve effective results. Be careful not to burn your skin in the process and adjust the temperature according to your convenience.

4] Avoid Heavy And Strenuous Activities

Avoid heavy and strenuous activities at any cost when your rib is bruised. Any activity that puts pressure on your ribs or makes your breath harder must be avoided as it damages the area around the rib further and takes longer to heal. Moreover, it engages your core and puts enormous pain on the ribs. If you want to indulge in exercising, go for very light exercises that are easy on you and avoid intense ones. You must also refrain yourself playing sports.

5] Do Not Indulge In Smoking Until Your Rib Bruise Gets Better

If you are looking for how to get relief from bruised ribs, then you must quit smoking as it hampers your healing process. When smoking, it makes it harder for you to breathe and also increases the chances of lung infection. Furthermore, it can also cause lung disease by damaging the small air sacs(alveoli) and airways. It replaces the oxygen in your lungs with carbon monoxide which results in constant coughing So, it is better to quit tobacco products to make your healing better.

6] Take Pain Relievers When Required

If you experience extreme pain from a rib bruise, then you can take pain relievers after consulting healthcare professionals. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be taken for mild to moderate pains but it is suggested to consume it after 48 hours after getting the injury. Painkillers work on the body by keeping the injured or damaged cells from making and releasing prostaglandin. When cells make less of this chemical, the brain does not get pain messages quickly or more often. As your rib’s bruises heal, you can cut down on painkillers and rely on other pain removal methods such as warm compress.

7] Do Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises can help you greatly with rib bruises. It helps you with pain and also makes your breathing easier as it is obstructed when you get a rib bruise. Indulge in slow breathing exercises that can help you release mucous from the lungs without coughing too much. Breathe in and out through your nose take a slow and large breath and release it on the count of three. This controls the cycle of your breathing which can be repeated up to 3 times.


Bruised ribs do not heal overnight and need proper attention and care to make the healing process quicker and more effective. However, we strongly recommend not to skip consulting a doctor as you must contact them as soon as you face the injury. We have tried our best to list out how to get relief from bruised ribs which can improve your healing process. Avoid intense workouts and rest as much as you can to give your bruised ribs the proper care.


1] How does a rib bruise occur?

There are various reasons why a rib bruise scan occurs. They can occur due to excessive and constant coughing, falls, accidents, sports injuries, etc.

2] Are rib bruises painful?

Yes, rib pain is painful as it causes swelling and inflammation, though the severity of the pain depends on person to person. It varies due to the origin of the rib bruise.

3] Should you apply a warm compress or ice pack on the rib bruise?

To reduce inflammation and swelling you must apply an ice pack to the injured area. In areas where there is muscular pain, you must use a warm compress to relieve the pain.

By Kriti