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Injured (not broken) rib pains for 3 weeks or more. Friends, doctor and some online material suggest taking some paracetamol based pain killers, e.g http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panadol

First aid is rest, ice, and light compression. Long-term treatment includes rest, support around the rib cage, pain medications, and a gradual return to exercise.

(source)

My question is, will pain killers actually aid to faster recovery?

Or will they simply make me feel better during the days of rest?

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Pain killers only mask pain. Pain is what tells you to stop doing something. Ribs are very easily reinjured, take the time, rest and gradually get back into training. –  JohnP Jun 3 '13 at 16:18
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The nerve fibers connect to indicate pain, which is actually good, because it tells you to stop what you are doing momentarily. If you use painkiller, it doesn't allow the fibers to connect but the defect in the body part is still there. So it is not advisable to take painkiller unless you are in a very important occasion (like an event or anything else). Take proper advice from you doctor. –  Freakyuser Jun 3 '13 at 17:58
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Wish there was a way to downvote comments. It's perfectly ok to take painkillers when prescribed, and it may or may not be advisable to compete on painkillers (Many are narcotic and will skew perceptions and level of consciousness/awareness, and/or slow and impair reactions. –  JohnP Jun 3 '13 at 21:43
    
Voting to close as the core of the question is about the mechanics of how pain killers work. I think the question is interesting, but still off topic here per faq. If its effect as a recovering aid was an effect of pain killers it surely would be listed on Wikipedia anyways. –  Baarn Jun 4 '13 at 9:04
    
@Informaficker: I don't care how pain killers work. I just asked whether taking them will aid to faster recovery because everyone (friends, doctor, online material) suggest taking some pain killers while recovering. –  cherouvim Jun 4 '13 at 10:14
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closed as off topic by JohnP, Doc, K.L., Baarn, Matt Chan Jun 7 '13 at 3:05

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1 Answer

I've cracked ribs four times. The amount of time that it takes for the bones to knit does not depend on whether you are taking painkillers or not; it takes about 6 weeks either way (for me, at least).

Advice from my physician with cracked ribs (broken ribs are different) is "you can do whatever you can tolerate. Try to breathe deeply a few times an hour (helps prevent pneumonia)".

When I was healing, I would take a pain reliever at bedtime to help me sleep, and gut it out during the day.

Panadol (Paracetamol (international name) or acetaminophen (US name)) is a good pain reliever, but you should be careful not to exceed the dosing guidelines, which can lead to liver failure.

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