Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Because many broken ribs are caused by motor vehicle accidents, you may find out you have a broken rib in a hospital's emergency department. If your broken rib was caused by repetitive stress over time, you may seek advice from your family physician.
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about medical problems you've had
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For broken ribs, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- How long will I be in pain?
- What treatments are available and which do you recommend?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any activity restrictions that I need to follow?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask any additional questions you may think of during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask:
- Where exactly does it hurt?
- When did the pain start?
- What happened that may explain the pain??
- Can you do anything to make the pain better or worse?
During the physical exam, your doctor will press gently on your ribs. He or she may also listen to your lungs and watch your rib cage move as you breathe.
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- Fractures. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec21/ch309/ch309b.html#sec21-ch309-ch309b-141. Accessed Feb. 8, 2011.
- Preventing falls and related fractures. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/prevent_falls.asp. Accessed Feb. 8, 2011.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 8, 2011.