Asthma and Torso Injury

Last updated: July 2022

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I was last on, but during that time I have learned a huge amount about the lungs, what impacts them, and about my own body. A little over three and a half months ago I fell on some wet stone steps and injured my back in two places. I spent the better part of the following weeks healing. Of necessity, I had to keep quiet, although able to still exercise slowly to keep everything moving while it was healing. During this time, I realised that my almost daily asthma issues, apart from periodic high pollen counts are definitely exacerbated by exercise (EIA) unfortunately.

My asthma and torso injury

Fast forward to two and a half weeks ago, and just when the back injuries had healed enough to get back to normal life, I had a car accident, which landed me in the hospital for three days with a wounded and severely bruised sternum and ribs. Miraculously, if you had seen the state of my car, I had no broken bones or internal organ injuries according to the MRI and X-rays. At the time of the accident and for the last couple of weeks, however, my chest has hurt to breathe, and basically move, but I have used my asthma experience to help me keep calm and make breathing easier. Thankfully my newly healed T5 vertebra managed to escape further serious damage, but still, muscle spasms make me feel like my upper body is in a vice grip at times.

Asthma flare in the hospital

While in the hospital, I had a very strange uncharacteristic asthma flare (or maybe from the injury). All of a sudden while lying in bed, my lungs filled with mucus and I couldn't cough it up, because it hurt too much, but I can only say that experience and knowledge told me to get up and walk. So after a couple of puffs of my rescue inhaler, there I was with the nurse holding my arm, with my drip in one hand, walking up and down the passage with a pillow clutched to my chest. I must have looked a real sight. Thereafter I had a nebulizer for a while.

I read that chest infections are very common with chest injuries, as with asthma due to the increased mucus, and difficulty clearing the lungs as well as the inflammation.

Lessons learned

So what did I learn? Other than life is precious and can be taken away in the blink of an eye, is that the asthma and torso injury have a lot in common and by having knowledge of one can definitely help in an emergency situation with the other. My instinct at the time of the accident was to panic and breathe too hard to get oxygen into my lungs, maybe hyperventilate and probably make things worse, but instead, somehow, my asthma 'training' kicked in and I did my best to keep my chest open, breathe slowly and not allow myself to panic.

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