How to Treat Pulled Rib Muscles

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A pulled rib muscle will typically result in pain on the front side of the body, and it will hurt to breathe, cough or sneeze. Find out how to use ice and exercise to treat pulled rib muscles with help from a physical therapist in this free video on sports medicine and pulled rib muscles.

Part of the Video Series: Sports Medicine
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Hi I'm Tara Pollak, physical therapist at Evolution Physical Therapy here to tell you how to treat a pulled rib muscle. Now usually a pulled rib muscle will be pain on the front side near the ribs. And it will hurt with a deep breath, a cough, or a sneeze. Or transitions in and out of bed or from sitting or standing. When you first pull a rib muscle you should immediately apply an ice gel pack to the ribs. That way you help to decrease pain and inflammation immediately. You can also take any kind of over-the-counter anti inflammatory as directed on the bottle . And you want to make sure that you also rest and avoid any heavy lifting. You also might want to seek the advice of a skilled physical therapist so they can help prescribe some stretches and some exercises for you to help heal the pulled muscle. Now you want to ice in the beginning, probably the first three or four days. And after the acute pain is over then you can start to apply heat to bring blood flow to the area to aid in the healing of the muscle. Now the most common problem I encounter with pulled rib muscles is the pain and the difficulty with transfers from sitting to lying down. So what I give to my patients is the hug a pillow trick. I'm going to give Shante this pillow folded in half right up against her stomach under her ribs. Now she's going to hold it really tight and squeeze into her ribs to provide a little bit of compression. This is going to help support her as she goes down into the lying position. So go ahead and slide down. Good. Laying onto your side slowly. And then transition to the back as you're still hugging that pillow. So providing that compression and that squeeze into the ribs will help aid with lessening the pain while you do the transitions. I'm Tara and this is how to heal a pulled rib muscle.

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