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Chest Wall Pain in Children
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.
Call your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has severe pain.
- Your child has shortness of breath.
- Your child has palpitations (fast, forceful heartbeats in an irregular rhythm).
- 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.
Treatment for chest wall pain
depends on the cause. 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 or her. 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 and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. 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.
- 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.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
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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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