Chest & Sternum Pain from Car Accidents
Chest and sternum pain is a common aspect of a car accident. These frightening symptoms need to be addressed by medical personnel. From rib to sternum injuries, the consequences can be debilitating and cause financial damages for the injured party. Learn more about these symptoms and the injuries that cause them.
Table of Contents
- Understanding Chest and Sternum Pain After an Accident
- The Wilshire Law Firm Can Help You After a Car Accident
- Accident-Related Chest Pain: Three Common Causes
- Pain With Movement in a Rib or Sternal Fracture
- Diagnosis and Aftercare of Chest Fractures
- Precautions After a Rib or Sternal Fracture
- Possible Complications Due to Rib/Sternal Pain and Injury
- How an Attorney Can Help
- Wilshire Law Firm
- More Resources
If you are in need of immediate legal assistance after a car crash involving chest or sternum pain, contact Wilshire Law Firm 24/7 to get started on a Free case review. We’re here to answer your important questions. Call (800) 522-7274.
Understanding Chest and Sternum Pain After an Accident
Chest pain is one of the most frightening symptoms that follows a car accident. At the accident scene, an initial emergency responder usually checks for traumatic injuries such as fractures, head trauma and others. However, an evaluation by a medical professional is necessary since chest pain can signify a serious medical condition.
One problem is that some symptoms might not be evaluated at the accident scene or in the emergency room. Chest and sternum injuries are medical conditions where symptoms can lag behind the incident. Within hours or days, the pain may begin to escalate and represent a life-threatening condition. Let’s take a look at the causes of chest/sternum pain after an accident, the treatment and outcome of this injury.
Wilshire Law Firm Can Help You After a Car Accident
The attorneys at Wilshire Law are well recognized for their commitment to their clients by such organizations as the Top One Percent and by Best Lawyers. We provide diligent, compassionate and aggressive legal counsel. It is difficult to fight for your rights when you’ve been injured. By retaining our services, we will deal with the insurance company in your stead, investigate the accident site for proof of liability by the negligent person or party who caused your injuries and build a strong case against the defendant.
Accident-Related Chest Pain: Three Common Causes
Following a car accident, chest pain can be caused by a number of different things. The following are some of the most frequent reasons:
- Rib fractures: The ribs protect the lungs and heart from physical injury. Besides being solid bones, they are also held in place by muscles. Accidents involving motor vehicles are one of the most common causes of fractured ribs. Most ribs display an even break, making it easier for the pieces to mend. As a result, conservative measures are recommended to reduce pain, helping the injury heal within 30 to 60 days. However, sometimes, the rib fracture is jagged, and as a result, the pieces can damage internal organs such as the heart and lungs. Pain with pressure, discomfort that worsens with deep breathing, and tenderness that gets worse with twisting of the body are some of the symptoms of a broken rib. A rib can fracture for a variety of reasons, including osteoporosis or cancer that has spread to the ribs. As a result of these conditions, the bones become weaker and more likely to fracture.
- Bruised ribs: The ribs can also be bruised. Most people recover from this injury within a few weeks. Although it is not life-threatening, it can be painful. The aim of treatment is to provide pain relief.
- Bruised sternum: Located at the point where the ribs meet via cartilage, the sternum is a large, flat bony plate. As well as protecting the lungs and blood vessels, it also protects the heart. The dash, steering wheel or shoulder belts can bruise the sternum during a car accident. Skin discoloration, stiffness, swelling and tenderness are all symptoms after a bruised sternum. It will be diagnosed by a physical examination by a medical professional. An X-ray is used to rule out a fracture. It usually takes two to four weeks for the sternal injury to heal. The pain is often relieved by ice packs, analgesics and avoiding heavy lifting.
- In most cases, trauma to the chest causes sternal fractures. People with osteoporosis and curvature of the spine are at a higher risk of developing sternal fractures. Because of weakened bones in older individuals, the propensity for sternal fractures exists in those with poor nutrition. Another reason for sternal fracture is the consistent use of steroids, which also weakens the bones.
Pain With Movement in a Rib or Sternal Fracture
Symptoms of a rib or sternal fracture include pain when breathing in and out, especially when taking deep breaths, laughing, or coughing. It is also possible to experience pain when moving the arms since the muscles are attached to the sternum.
Diagnosis and Aftercare of Chest Fractures
A lateral X-ray or CT scan can help diagnose sternum and rib fractures. A physical examination can provide support. An MRI will allow the physician to evaluate tissue damage associated with the fracture. Take breaks, apply ice and rest to treat chest fractures. Surgery may be necessary if the bone is displaced. In order to assess the progress of healing, additional CT scans and radiographs are taken. It usually takes several months for the patient to recover, and if surgery is needed, it may take longer.
Precautions After a Rib or Sternal Fracture
After leaving the hospital, you should breathe deeply several times a day. As a result, the chance of getting a chest infection or a collapsed lung is reduced. It helps to hold a pillow against your chest to reduce the pain that may arise. Your physician should be consulted if you develop a fever or difficulty breathing.
Do not take antitussive drugs that reduce coughing unless they are recommended by your physician. However, it would be best to support the chest when coughing. After two months, the injury should be reevaluated by a physician if the pain persists. Physiotherapy may help if stiffness develops in the arms, spine or shoulders following recovery.
Possible Complications Due to Rib/Sternal Pain and Injury
The most frequent complications of a broken rib include:
- Lung puncture: The collapse of a lung can be caused by a jagged, fractured rib. Medical attention is needed immediately.
- Blood vessel compromise: Fractures of the top three ribs can cause serious damage to the aorta or other main blood vessels.
- Heart contusion: A bruise to the heart or puncture can occur when the upper ribs or sternum are fractured.
- Organ damage: Liver, spleen and kidney damage by the two lower ribs, which are more flexible and rarely fractured, can be life-threatening.
How an Attorney Can Help
An attorney can help you defend your right to compensation after an accident that wasn’t your fault. They begin at the accident scene and work with medical experts to evaluate the extent of your physical damage. They also calculate lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life and the ability to live the way you did before a collision. Once this is done, the legal team will build a robust case with a strong chance of being resolved in your favor.
Call Wilshire Law Firm After a Car Accident with Chest Injuries
After an accident, it is usually in your best interests to have an attorney on your side. Insurance companies and the negligent party will have legal advice to protect themselves from giving you the compensation you deserve. You deserve the same protection from day one.
At Wilshire Law Firm, we leave no stone unturned in bringing you a successful resolution of your case. Begin by calling our offices in Los Angeles, throughout California, and in Nevada, or reaching out to us online. Don’t delay, because evidence can disappear.