Four Natural Home Remedies for Bruised Ribs
My Bike Accident
There I was, thinking I was stylish whilst zipping round Brighton town centre on my Dutch bike. I was so busy feeling cool, I neglected to look where I was headed—and I had to swerve to avoid hitting an elderly couple. I took a tumble across a low wall. Lying on the ground, pride dented severely, I mentally checked myself. I'd left the skin on my knuckles somewhere and my foot was sore, but the worst pain was from my lower right ribs.
Initially I thought I might have broken a rib. From my crumpled position, I took a few deep breaths, both to calm down and to make sure that a rib hadn't punctured a lung. My breathing was stable and my lower right ribs painful, but not unbearably so. I stood up very, very gingerly, holding my side and staggered home using my bike for support.
Safely back at the flat, I cleaned out my gritty knuckles with a bubbling solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide before wrapping with clean gauze and rubbed a little arnica gel into the burgeoning bruise on my foot. Much as I prefer natural home remedies to conventional medicine, I made an appointment to see my doctor, just to make sure I wasn't at death's door and confirm my suspicions about the bruised ribs.
Consult Your Doctor
If you believe you have injured your ribs, always seek medical attention. Punctured lungs caused by broken ribs can be life-threatening. Whilst I report here on what worked for me, please consult a qualified medical practitioner before embarking on any natural home remedy treatment.
Accelerating the healing of bruised ribs
So I visited my doctor. She agreed that it was simply bad bruising to the muscles around the right side of my rib cage, caused by the jarring movement in the ribs when I landed across the wall. Unfortunately, the only remedies conventional medicine offer those suffering the pain and discomfort of bruised ribs are rest and painkillers. She estimated a painful extended healing time of two to three weeks!
I have a busy schedule and was in the throes of renovating my flat, so two to three weeks was time I didn't have. I started investigating ways I could use simple home remedies to heal my bruised ribs and get back to my normal routine faster. After some home study, I decided to throw the following natural remedy regime at the painful bruised ribs:
- Raw apple cider vinegar compresses
- Epsom salt and lavender oil baths
- Blackstrap molasses tea
Raw and packed with nutrients
Apple cider vinegar compresses
Three times a day, I mixed a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with the same amount of water. I dipped a clean muslin rag or paper towel into the apple cider vinegar mixture and held it against my bruised ribs firmly for about 15 minutes.
Raw, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar with the 'mother' has traditionally been used to heal bruises. As the bright complexion of anyone who takes apple cider vinegar regularly will testify, it stimulates the blood circulation. In this case, apple cider vinegar helps the body to remove the clotted blood from beneath the skin, both improving the appearance of the bruising and speeding healing.
Epsom salt and lavender oil baths
Normally, I shower to conserve water, so a daily bath for a week felt like absolute luxury. The body absorbs magnesium sulphate through the skin as you soak in an Epsom salts bath, which helps to reduce the inflammation of the bruised ribs. It pays to have Epsom salts in your bathroom cupboard, as they can be bought very cheaply from your local pharmacy or online and are brilliant for soothing all kinds of aches and pains.
I added a cupful of Epsom salts to a warm, not hot, bath, along with a couple of drops of lavender oil to promote relaxation of the muscles.
Completely natural and safe, turmeric is one of the most powerful home remedies for the treatment of injuries. Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is a potent anti-inflammatory, an effective painkiller and also speeds healing.
I took a teaspoon of turmeric with a grind of black pepper (piperine, one of the chemicals in ordinary black pepper, enhances the bioavailability of turmeric significantly) in water three times a day. I'm used to downing it quickly, but if you're not a fan you can buy the active ingredient, curcumin, in capsule form for convenience.
Blackstrap molasses tea
Another traditional home remedy, blackstrap molasses has long been used by arthritis sufferers as an alternative to conventional pain relief, so I thought I'd try it for my aching bruised ribs.
I drank a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses dissolved in water once daily whilst my bruised ribs healed. Blackstrap molasses assuages my sweet tooth and is packed with iron, magnesium and potassium to support the body while it heals.
So, how long did it take me to heal my bruised ribs?
When you bruise your ribs, the first thing you notice is how you use the muscles supporting your rib cage - bending, lifting, gesturing, reaching, turning in bed, everything is painful with bruised ribs. The evening of the day of the accident, I felt like crying just standing still.
The blackstrap molasses tea helped initially, mainly psychologically I think, as it soothed and warmed me after a difficult day. I noticed after each Epsom salts bath my back muscles felt looser, which definitely made a positive difference to the pain in my side.
After literally three days following the home remedy treatment for my bruised ribs, I was back on my bicycle again! I was most definitely avoiding the bumps in the road, but able to get to an important meeting in town and sit through an hour and a half without too much discomfort. The 'old lady' feeling of tension and aches lasted for just over a week all-in-all.
Obviously, without injuring my ribs again and testing the doctor's course of bed rest and conventional painkillers, I can't tell whether my home remedy for my bruised ribs worked more effectively. I can only say that I felt better knowing I was giving my body the best chance of recovery by piling on all the good stuff!