If you're suffering pain in your rib cage as a result of trauma, you may have damage to the ribs. Common rib related injuries include strained ribs, fractured ribs and bruised ribs. Since it's a painful condition, you'll want to diagnose bruised ribs.
Consider your injury. You won't have bruised ribs if no trauma affected the area. However, if you experienced a blow to the rib cage, you may have bruised ribs.
Notice the way your rib area feels. If you bruised your ribs, you'll feel tenderness around the rib cage. Certain movements will feel very painful, like laughing, coughing and deep breathing.
Look at the appearance of the skin around your ribs. When you have bruised your ribs, you're likely to have some bruising outwardly as well.
Make an appointment with your doctor. If you suspect you may have bruised ribs, then you should let your doctor know your symptoms. He'll want you to come in for an examination of the rib area.
Undergo any testing. To rule out broken or fractured ribs, your doctor will order a chest x-ray. If the x-ray shows the bones in tact, then he'll likely diagnose you with bruised ribs and recommend the appropriate treatment.
If you're diagnosed with bruised ribs, you won't have to go through a major treatment process. Your doctor may recommend rest, icing the area and a pain reliever. You may need to wear a pad to protect your ribs until they start to heal.