It is difficult to tell without an X-ray if a persons rib is cracked or not. Also, the symptoms of it are not immediate as they tend to appear gradually. A cracked rib, ifleft unattended over a period of time, can start hurting the lungs or the chest area.
There are different levels of fractures when it comes to ribs. Sometimes the rib might be cracked or broken but not displaced. This means that the bone is damaged but is not out of position. The ribs are naturally held together by the other muscles and bones in that area and there fore it does not get displaced easily. However, it is a very painful situation. When a rib is broken, then you will experience pain when you breathe deeply or try to move you body. If you feel that way, then you should get an X-ray and let a doctor check it.
However, to get relief from the pain in the mean time you should use a strap that supports the chest area and relieves the pain. However, you cannot use the strap for too long as it restricts the lungs. The doctor can give you some painkillers which might help the condition and also heal the ribs.
Some simple things you can do to ease yourself is take care while lying down and do not lie down on the side where the rib is broken. Keep using the strap on ad off so that you can get relief from pain for some time. Do some gentle upper body exercises that would help to heal the rib faster.
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