Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Most broken ribs heal on their own within six weeks.


It's important to obtain adequate pain relief because if it hurts too much to breathe deeply, you may develop pneumonia. If oral medications don't help enough, your doctor might suggest injections of long-lasting anesthesia around the nerves that supply the ribs.


In the past, doctors would use compression wraps — elastic bandages that you can wrap around your chest — to help splint and immobilize the area. Compression wraps aren't recommended for broken ribs anymore because they can keep you from taking deep breaths, which can increase the risk of pneumonia.

March 04, 2014