Anywhere between the neck and the abdomen might suffer chest injuries. Any of the internal organs in the chest may be hurt. These may include the heart or lungs, as well as the chest wall. This comprises the ribs, sternum, skin, fat, and muscles protecting the lungs.
Bruising on the chest is a mild chest injury. More severe issues requiring immediate medical treatment include bleeding. They might result from a penetrating injury or from blunt force. Among the chest injuries are:
- The chest region suffers from bruises or cuts.
- Bone fractures. For instance, a broken sternum (breastbone) or broken ribs.
- When many ribs close to one another are shattered, the chest wall moves apart from the rest in a flailing motion.
- Heart damage might include, for instance, aortic or traumatic heart injury. The main artery via which blood travels to the rest of your body.
- Injury to the lungs. Bruising (pulmonary contusion, for instance).
- Chest wounds that penetrate deeply. These can harm any internal organs in the chest as well as the chest wall.
- Injuries to the diaphragm, trachea, or esophagus (the food pipe).
Symptoms of Chest Injuries
Depending on the type of damage, there may be different chest injury symptoms. Chest injury symptoms and signs include:
- Chest pain that worsens with laughter, coughing, or sneezing.
- Difficulty breathing in.
- Breathing challenges.
- Sensitivity in the back or chest over the ribs.
- ‘Crunchy’ or ‘Crackling’ sensation in the ribcage or beneath the skin.
- Bleeding when coughing.
There is a requirement for a physical examination and occasionally additional tests like a chest x-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan to identify chest injuries. With the use of a tiny pulse oximeter attached to your finger, the doctor may check your blood’s oxygen saturation. When carefully pressing on the hurt region, physicians can occasionally feel the shattered ribs in rib fractures.
On a chest x-ray, rib fractures occasionally do not appear. You might not require an x-ray if you seem healthy and the doctor does not suspect issues. To check for any significant issues connected to the cracked rib, including a bruised or collapsed lung, your doctor could request a chest x-ray.
Treatment For Chest Injuries
The goal of treatment is to reduce pain.
- Use cold or hot compresses.
- Avoid doing things that aggravate your discomfort.
- Painkillers may be able to reduce swelling and discomfort. These are available without a prescription.
- If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, renal illness, liver disease, or a history of stomach ulcers or internal bleeding, see your doctor before taking these medications.
- Take just as much as the bottle recommends or as prescribed by your healthcare practitioner. Before taking any medication, make sure to carefully read the cautions on the label.
- If your healthcare professional says taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) is safe, you may also do so. Those who have liver illnesses should not use this medication.
- Try to continue moving about and carrying out your routine activities if your injury is minor. But wait until your pain and other symptoms have subsided before lifting, bending, or engaging in any vigorous activity.
- Your doctor could recommend stronger painkillers if your pain is severe.
- Your doctor might occasionally advise physical therapy.
The Bottom Line
The lungs, blood arteries, heart, muscles, soft tissues, and breastbone are the areas of the chest that are most frequently injured. The fastest treatment is given to potentially life-threatening injuries. The damage determines the precise course of therapy.
Doctors take action to promote respiration and circulation when necessary for all injuries. Individuals may get intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, and oxygen (for instance, via nasal prongs, face masks, or breathing tubes). Serious chest injuries result in hospital admissions for those who suffer from this.