The chest is the part of the body between your neck and your abdomen. It includes the ribs and breastbone. Inside your chest are several organs, including the heart, lungs, and esophagus. The pleura, a large thin sheet of tissue, lines the inside of the chest cavity. The ribs enclose vital organs such as the heart and lungs, so chest trauma can cause life-threatening injuries. Injuries can include contusions, rib fractures, sternum fractures, and injuries to the lungs. Symptoms can include breathing difficulties, chest pain and coughing up blood. A pneumothorax is a collapsed lung. A pneumothorax occurs when air leaks into the space between your lung and chest wall. This air pushes on the outside of your lung and makes it collapse. Any blunt or penetrating injury to your chest can cause lung collapse. Symptoms usually include sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. On some occasions, a collapsed lung can be a life-threatening event. Treatment for a pneumothorax usually involves inserting a flexible tube or needle between the ribs to remove the excess air. However, a small pneumothorax may heal on its own.
Many people experience chest pain after a car accident. Chest injuries can be caused when the chest hits a locked seatbelt or the steering wheel, or when an airbag deploys and strikes the chest.