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Chest Injuries: Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

March 28th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Muscle Injuries | Skeletal Injuries

A chest injury refers to an injury that causes damage any structure in the chest. Minor forms of injuries to the chest include small injuries to the skin such as bruises, while severe forms of injuries to the chest may include damage to the internal organs such as the heart or the lungs. Injuries to the soft tissue of the chest may include lacerations, stab wounds, puncture wounds and abrasions.

A person with a chest injury may have bruising along with chest pain, chest swelling and chest wall tenderness.

Treatment for chest injury often depends on how severe the damage to the chest is. General treatment options may include cold compresses, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or narcotic pain medication for pain. Often rib fractures require narcotic pain medication for short-term use

Chest Injuries

Chest Injuries

only. Your doctor may also advise deep breathing exercises to reduce the risk of incurring pneumonia and atelectasis.

Important Disclaimer: this post on chest injuries, signs, symptoms, causes and treatment is for learning purposes only. When in doubt contact a medical professional or learn more about recognizing and managing these emergencies by enrolling in first aid and CPR courses through St Mark James.

Causes

Causes of chest injury may include the following:

  • Motor vehicle or car accidents
  • Altercations
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries – especially contact sports injuries
  • Occupational injuries
  • Industrial injuries
  • Gunshot wounds – puncture wounds
  • Stab or knife wounds – puncture wounds

Types of chest injuries include:

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of chest injury may include:

  • Mild chest pain
  • Chest pain while breathing
  • Chest pain while coughing
  • Worsening pain with movement
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Tenderness of the chest – breast tenderness or tenderness of the chest wall
  • Chest contusions – bruising to the chest wall
  • Mild breathing difficulties
  • Swelling of the chest wall
  • Back pain

Severe chest injury may cause the following symptoms:

  • Fainting
  • Deformed chest
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing – severe – use of accessory muscles to support breathing
  • Nasal flaring
  • Rib retractions

Treatment

General treatment for chest injury includes cold compresses, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain and deep breathing exercises. Many casualties, however, find it difficult to breathe deeply due to the increasing pain while breathing. It is important to note that deep breathing is very important in case you have a chest injury as it reduces the risk of pneumonia and atelectasis. Pain medication can be taken by these patients who are no able to breathe deeply due to the pain.

Severe chest injuries may occur due to rib fractures or damage to the vital internal organs such as the heart and the lungs. Treatment for severe chest injuries may include oxygen therapy and surgical repair of damaged tissues of the chest.

Treatment options for chest injury may include:

  • Cold compresses – apply every 2-3 hours for 20 minutes
  • Rest
  • Deep breathing
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain
  • Narcotic pain medication for short term use only
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Surgery to repair damaged tissues in the chest

Additional treatment measures include:

  • Stop smoking and avoid passive smoking
  • Perform deep breathing exercises for every 4 hours
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Take medication as directed by your health car provider and avoid skipping doses

Learn More

To learn more about minor and severe emergencies involving chest pain and injuries sign up for first aid and CPR training courses through workplace approved.

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