Dislocated rib Symptoms

If you experience any one or more of the following dislocated rib symptoms, you need to see your doctor right away, as some rib dislocation could cause rupture of blood vessels or internal organs around in the rib cage – PLEASE DO NO IGNORE THESE SYMPTOMS

Patients with a dislocated rib injury can experience following symptoms:

  • Strong, stabbing pain in the chest with every movement of the rib cage area: Patients with a rib injury usually experience strong, stabbing pain in the chest, first in the moment of injury and then for a longer period afterward. In the case of smaller injuries, rib pain can be minimal, enabling further activities. In more serious injuries, the patient can experience strong, paralyzing pain in the rib cage and a disability to continue with any injuries.
  • Strong pain will be experienced during injury and later will change into throbbing pain that can turn into intensive stabbing pain if patient tries to move too much

Patients usually experience more intensive pain in the morning and in the evening. The Rib pain is more intensive if the patient lies on the side that is injured.


  • The patient will experience difficulty to inhale deeper as this causes instant sharp pain: The patient can be unable to take deep breaths as this causes instant sharp pain, deep breaths are usually associated with an intense and sharp rib pain.
  • The patient will also experience pain during coughing, sneezing or more intensive chest movement, such as bending over, lifting weights, pushing or pulling.
  • Pain is experienced during coughing, sneezing or more intensive chest movement, such as bending over, lifting weight, pushing or pulling


Tip: if you have just displaced a rib, it’s important to apply a direct ICE on the affected area to reduce pain discomfort and swelling.

How do you treat a displaced rib?

Displaced rib and general rib injuries like rib subluxation, dislocation and out of place rib head mostly have no special treatment (unless it’s a severe case of rib injury), minor rib injuries like dislocated floating rib or  rib head subluxation can heal on its own with any doctor’s intervention.

The first and foremost first aid would be to use a cold compress – apply a pack of ice, or pea, or frozen meat (basically any frozen item would do) directly on the place where there was a popped rib, this helps reduce the pain and swelling.

Your doctor may prescribe some pain killers such as acetaminophen, and prep your up for surgery if the dislocation was severe. if the dislocated isn’t too bad, then you’d be administered some general anesthesia before you have your ribs pushed back in place, back to where it was displaced from.

But in a case where there’s not dislocation but subluxation, your doctor may or may not further intervene as most subluxed rib occurrences can correct itself and go back in place with time.

Once the rib bone has been pushed back to its original position, your doctor will put a bandage (normally called a rib belt/chest support belt) around your chest in order to hold the already aligned rib bone in place.

More serious injuries like fracture and rib head out of place most like would need some basic therapy measures like:

  • surgery
  • pain minimization by the use of pain medications
  • rest
  • cough suppression – to reduce/avoid the possibility of ribs getting dislocated after treatment
  • preventing secondary lung infection
  • symptomatic measures
  • prevention of bleeding
  • recovery from rib dislocated, i.e. relocation of rib to its proper place

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