My girlfriend was reaching over her head this morning and felt/heard a pop. All the sudden she had a sharp pain going through her chest, from her sternum to her back. She felt pressure on her lungs (on her right side) when she tried to breath. The sharp pain hurt as she stood or as she bent over. But as the day progressed, the sharp pain subsided and a dull pain continued. The pressure on her right lung continued as well, she doesn't feel like she's taking full breaths as she feels a pressure when she inhales.
Neither one of us have health insurance and she is reluctant to go to a doctor and wants to 'wait a few days' to see if it gets better but it makes me nervous. Can anyone with medical knowledge help me figure out what could have happened?
I am sorry that your girlfriend has been subjected to this pain and fright. What you describe is likely to be cause by one of two things. The first and most likely in this circumstance is what we call musculoskeletal, the result of stretching or tear of rib cartilage or ligaments between the ribs. Such can be most painful and often require days to resolve. This scenario is highly likely given the fact that the initial “sharp pain” was felt in the area of the sternum. The second is what is called a pneumothorax – leakage of air from the lung into the chest cavity with partial collapse of the lung.
The first is often accompanied by tenderness to touch, such as finger pressure. The second is not. It is not possible for me to say with any certainty what might have occurred and so I cannot advise you to not seek medical evaluation. Ideally, you should have a chest X-ray to be sure that something more serious, other than the two possibilities I have mentioned, is not the cause of your girlfriend’s sudden-onset symptoms. Your best bet for minimal expense would not be an emergency room but rather, an Urgent Care or Walk-in clinic.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.