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Chest Wall Pain In Children

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Chest wall pain may be caused by problems with the muscles, cartilage, or bones of the chest wall. The pain may be aching, severe, dull, or sharp. It may come and go, or it may be constant. The pain may be worse when your child moves in certain ways, breathes deeply, or coughs.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child has severe pain.
  • Your child has shortness of breath.
  • Your child has palpitations (fast, forceful heartbeats in an irregular rhythm).

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child's pain does not improve, even with treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Medicines:

Your child may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much your child can take and how often to give it to him. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Self-care:

  • Have your child rest as needed. He should avoid any activities that make his pain worse.
  • Apply heat on your child's chest for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.
  • Apply ice on your child's chest for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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