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I was recently in a car accident, and the airbag hit me directly in the face and chest. The airbag came out with so much force that it shattered the entire car windshield. My face was fine, but i felt a dull pain in my chest (mostly in my sternum) right after. For the next couple of days my sternum hurt very badly but ONLY when i pressed down on it. Then i went swimming and noticed that i had trouble breathing in the water, couldn't stay afloat longer than 10 minutes, and certain movements in the water caused me great pain. Now it hurts to sneeze, laugh, and specific movements of my arms make my sternum hurt as well. I had a normal check up with my doctor and i asked her about it, she said there were no dents so it was most likely a contusion. Could it be just this? Or could i have really hurt my sternum?

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Hello. In your case, as I can see the main cause of sternum fracture is the blunt trauma of the chest. It can be really bad and of course that you are going to feel some really bad pain in the first couple of days, especially when you press your chest or when you are sneezing or coughing. It hurts. Car accidents are causing up to 85 % of all sternal fractures. It is very important for you to do an X-ray and to see what exactly is going on with your chest. The doctor should diagnose a sternal fracture based on how the accident occurred, and if there was direct trauma to the chests an x-ray can be done to reveal the presence of the fracture. Good luck. 

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you may have a callapst lung, see a doctor or go to the ER
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If you had a collapsed lung you would hear a sound like air being let out of a tire immediately upon it happening. More than likely you've bruised your sternum and this takes some time to heal. If you are really concerned get your doctor to send you for a chest xray.
There is nothing but time that can heal a bruised sternum. You might find some comfort in wrapping an elastic bandage around the area to keep it tight so that when you breathe or cough it doesn't contract as much, therefore less pain.
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I shattered my sternum after a bike crash (bike landed on my chest) Hospital said NEVER wrap it as it can cause pneumonia!! Any advice on here MUST be checked with a practicing qualified doctor. They used to wrap sternum injuries but not anymore.
2 years later and I am still suffering with chronic pain.
I was gonna say go hospital get a check, but i realised this post is 2 years old . :$
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I hate when ppl love to give advice but can't give their name. actually I hate it. I need real advice from a real person not some "guest". I fell down the stairs and the first thing that hit was my upper chest. It hurts so bad and it's been about 24 hrs. Of COURSE I would go to the doctor if I felt a lung had collapsed but obviously this is not the case. It hurts sooooo bad when I hiccup but I have slept overnight and it doesnt' impair my movement to change positions.I am only concerned because it still hurts 24 hrs later and if I hiccup...it simply puts me to my knees.
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Health Ace
6879 posts
I'm with you "Guest". Don't you just hate it when someone doesn't have the balls to identify themselves?


I'm wondering why anyone would say to wrap it?
How many centuries ago did they do that?
I had heart surgery 14 years ago and they didn't wrap me. They laced the two sides together with what looks like piano wire on an x-ray. For several weeks I could feel the sides shift where they came together. They finally healed with one side about 1/8 inch higher than the other. I can feel that by running my fingers across my chest.

They sent me home with a "cough pillow" to hold against my chest when I had to cough or sneeze. I became very good at stifling both due to the pain. There was a special technique for lifting myself up to get out of bed. The standard roll to the side method was way too painful. They really do tell you that old doctor favorite: if it hurts when you do that --- don't do it.

They also said not to lift anything over 10 pounds, so a week after I got home I was outside putting the snow plow on my Jeep because we got a foot of snow during the night. Four weeks later I was in a customers house moving a 36" TV around to work on it. The joys of being self employed. If you don't work you don't make any money. You can't afford the kind of health insurance big companies supply so I had hospital bills to pay.

I don't remember how long it took to completely heal. I was only away from work for about 4 weeks. The doctors gave me hell for going back to work, but their billing departments wanted money. I told them I was taking it easy --------- and they believed me.
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I was in an car accident Sept. 15, 2012. My sister was airlifted to the turma center but I walked away with chest pains. As of today four months later my chest still hurts. My heart doctor wanted to make sure my heart was not causing the pains so he ordered tests and found out my heart was not causing the pains. It hurts me to bend down and lift up high to reach for something. . I hurts me getting up and down from sitting . Turning in the bed hurts too. Sometimes just sitting doing nothing hurts. The pains reminds me of the accident everyday. My husband told me it probably was my sternum and it will have to heal on its own.
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I can sympathize totally. I was in an accident last week and the airbag hit me in the chest. I have awful pains in the midline of my chest that radiates to across my chest and into my back. I have other bruising and stiffness and numbness but that by far hurts the worst and is the most scary. I sleep in my recliner becauseit is torture to lay down in a bed. They gave me medication but I didn't want to stay on Lortabs so now I have Ultram and Flexeril and had so many x-rays I glow in the dark. Now they want me to go to a chiropractor and I think he might do more harm than good because I still hurt so much. I can't afford to be off of work either and I am in school, too and haven't been able to go. I love my job but am afraid I will lose it if I don't go back soon. My car is totalled and the darn thing was paid off!

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I have a fractured sternum from a car accident on 02/15/13 when a guy in a pick-up ran a redlight and totalled my car. I went to the hospital in the ambulance. The fracture was verified by a CT Scan. 3 months later, I had to have surgery to implant metal plates and screws as a second CT Scan showed the sternum was not healing and the gap between the broken parts was widening.  This type of injury is nothing to fool with or delay treatment for as it can be deadly.  Anyone with severe chest pain should have a CT Scan. As a side note, of course the at fault driver had only minimum insurance coverage which will not pay even half the medical expenses. I've been off work for 4 months but will return soon.

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I was recently in a car accident where i have hit the Dashboard very hardly,and have a pain in left part of mychest when i went to the hospital the doctor mentioned it was a normal pain and gave me a pain killer, which the pain has become lessBut after1 day i am having severe pain in my chest when i laugh or sneeze and i am unable to getup comfortably when i slept on a flat bed there is not much problem in remaining activities.did i hurt my sternum or is it just a pain.

Please let me know,which specialist doctor can i meet in and around Hyderabad.

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I have gotten checkups and it is said that there is. itching wrong or at least that they can see. Could it be possible that I bruised my stur um while playing volleyball? It hurts very badly with any sort of sudden movement of the arms, when I touch it and when I breath. That is to say I have very frequent panic attacks that seriosly affect my chest and breathing.
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