The sternum is also known as the breast bone. The breast bone is attached to your ribs, and helps to protect the heart and lungs from harm. Normally, this bone is out of sight and out of mind, even though it provides important protection for organs. Some common causes of a broken sternum include sports injuries, a direct blow to the bone by a person or object, and vehicular accidents. Here we will talk about how to identify a broken sternum, as well as home treatments to alleviate the pain.
Symptoms of a Broken Sternum
Usually, the most noticeable symptom of a broken sternum is that of sharp, sudden pain that begins shortly after the fracture occurs. This pain may become worse when laughing, coughing, sneezing, or deep breathing. You may also have trouble with this pain when lying on your sides or face down. Look for swelling, tenderness, and bruises in the area. A severe injury may cause the chest to look deformed. If you think that your sternum may be broken or fractured, seek medical attention immediately. Only your doctor can confirm your suspicions.
Seeing Your Doctor
When you see your doctor, they will most likely request an X-ray of your chest area. They may also ask for a MRI or CT scan to be done if they are concerned about injuries to any organs. Test to make sure that your heart and lungs are properly functioning may also be needed. At first, your doctor may prescribe some pain relievers to keep pain at bay. Or, they may simply recommend that you start taking over the counter pain relievers. Combine this, rest, and the below remedies. You should see a return to being able to perform non strenuous activity in around three months. For very bad injuries, recovery may take up to six months, and healing occurs from 6-8 weeks. Simple fractures can heal with split support within 4-10 weeks, depending upon age. You may need to wear padding in order to avoid secondary injuries while your bones are healing.
There are several things you can do to help with the pain of a broken or fractures sternum, including:
- Ice packs, for twenty minutes, every two hours, soon after the injury only
- Over the counter medications
- Simple exercises or physical therapy
- Lots of rest