Side/Rib First Aid (after a mild-moderate accident)


So perhaps you had a crash or a fall, or maybe you were hit in the area which cause immediate or delayed pain in the side or the rib area. Firstly, I need you to pause the video and make sure you aren’t experiencing any of the ‘red flags’ below:



If you are experiencing any of the following please consult a doctor asap or go to the emergency department of your hospital.

  • Losing control of your bowel or bladder
  • Feeling dizzy or losing balance
  • Feeling weak or numb anywhere in your body
  • Persistent pins + needles
  • Feeling nauseous or vertigo
  • Feeling faint
  • Have double vision
  • Having problems with your speech or swallowing
  • Have a fever or night sweats


For more information about ‘red flags’ watch this video (click here).


Try and rest in a position of comfort, such as lying on your opposite side or sitting and use pillows to support the area.


If you need to cough or sneeze, support the area with a folded towel between your arm and your side.


You should apply an ice pack, for up to 20 mins every two hours. Just be sure to put something between the ice pack and your skin, such as a towel or ice pack holder and make sure you check every few minutes for any skin irritation.


Avoid massaging or putting heat on the area and avoid drinking alcohol as all of these may increase any inflammation that may be present.


If your pain is aggravated when, for example, turning to the side, avoid this action for now, but do try and keep it moving in comfortable range and keep walking as much as tolerated.


One of the most important things is that you try not get to stressed or anxious about your pain. Just try to stay calm and know that pains like this are common and can be treated.


I recommend that you try and see a physiotherapist in the next 48hours, so that they can assess you and work out what’s most likely causing your pain and guide you through rehabilitation.


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