Well-known Afrikaans singer Kurt Darren is in the intensive care unit of the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg after being involved in a car crash on Sunday morning.
It was initially thought he’d broken his neck, but it turned out he only fractured eight ribs. This is a common injury sustained in motor vehicle accidents.
What is a rib fracture and how should it be treated? Here are some quick facts:
- A rib fracture is a crack or break in one or more of your rib bones.
- Your ribs are the long, rounded bones in your chest that wrap around your upper body. They connect your breastbone to your spine.
- A rib fracture can be very painful because your ribs move when you breathe, cough and move your upper body.
- The ribs in the middle of your chest are the ones that break most often.
- Healing of fractured ribs can take at least six weeks.
- Unless other organs have been injured, you can heal at home. Most people with broken ribs don’t need surgery.
- If you have broken a rib, doctors won’t put bandages or belts around your chest, as this could keep your ribs from moving when you cough or breathe, and may lead to the development of pneumonia.
- Patients with broken ribs may need prescription painkillers while the bones are healing, as this is a painful condition.
- Deep-breathing and coughing exercises can help to prevent a collapsed lung or a lung infection.
- Bed rest isn’t recommended, but neither is physically strenuous activity.
- While you heal, avoid movements that put painful pressure on your ribs.
- Watch out for the side effects of taking pain medication for a prolonged period of time.