Why Do My Ribs Hurt After a Car Accident?

The first thing you should do after a car accident is check yourself and anyone else involved for injury. Collisions often cause damage to both your car and your body – and some damage isn’t always visible at first blush. For example, many people find themselves asking this question after a fender bender: “Why do my ribs hurt?”

Car accident injuries are important to treat.

Possible Injuries

If your ribs hurt after a car accident, you’re likely suffering from one of two injuries: bruised ribs or broken ribs.

These are some of the most common injuries after a collision, and they usually occur if your chest suffers severe impact during the crash. Maybe you smashed into the steering wheel or dashboard, or maybe your seatbelt put significant pressure on your chest and ribcage as you slammed on the breaks.

Signs and Symptoms

Bruised and broken ribs have very similar symptoms, including the following:

  • Tenderness and swearing around the injured area
  • Pain when you breathe, cough, laugh or sneeze
  • Pain when pressure is applied to the chest
  • Muscles spasms in the chest

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, it is important to visit the doctor and get checked out right away. Remember, your ribcage protects your most vital organs – like your heart and lungs – and chest trauma can lead to very serious injury. Visit the doctor right away if you experience these symptoms after a car accident to check for your risk of injuries like a ruptured spleen, trauma to the blood vessels, or pneumothorax (a collapsed lung).

chest pain
What are the signs of a rib injury?

How To Heal: Everett Spine & Rehab

Unfortunately, a bruised or broken rib does not heal very quickly. Typically, it will take four to six weeks before your ribs will heal properly. Your doctor will likely tell you to ice the painful area, take over-the-counter pain medication if necessary, and get plenty of rest in the meantime.

However, going to a chiropractor or physical therapist can help you recover from your injuries a little faster. Your chiropractor might suggest exercises like lateral twists, swimming, or even deep breathing, which can help you maintain some level of activity and stay healthy while you wait for your body to heal naturally.



Of course, it is best to consult with your Everett chiropractor or Everett physical therapist, to make sure you don’t push yourself too far and hurt yourself even more. After a car accident (or any other significant injury), slow and steady is the way to recovery – and your chiropractor can help guarantee your safety as you get better.

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