A bruised sternum is normally caused by some type of injury. This may be due to running into something, or it could be caused by someone hitting, kicking or bumping into you. Your sternum is a part of your rib cage and is designed to protect the front of your chest. When this area becomes bruised, it can take four to six weeks to heal. More serious bruises may take longer than this amount of time, but check with your doctor to figure out a timeline and a treatment plan.
Some of the Symptoms of a Bruised Sternum
Most people will easily be able to tell if they have a bruised sternum. Once you have symptoms of a bruised sternum, you should seek medical treatment right away to make sure that your symptoms do not become worse. If your symptoms are severe, you could have fractured your sternum. Due to this, you will want to visit your doctor to make sure that everything will be fine. Among other symptoms, you may experience pain when you breath or move around. Your sternum may be tender, bruised or it may feel swollen. You may experience sharp pain when you cough or laugh, and the pain may last for several weeks.
How a Bruised Sternum Occurs
A bruised sternum is not a particularly common injury. There are only a limited number of ways that you could bruise your sternum, but it does happen on occasion. If you have been sick lately, hacking coughs could have bruised your sternum. When your coughs are exceptionally violent, the force of the cough puts pressure on the chest plate. If these coughs continue, they can cause your sternum to become bruised from the inside out.
Another common way to injure your sternum is through a car accident. When you get into a crash, your seat belt works to keep you within the vehicle. Since part of the seat belt is placed over your sternum, the pressure of keeping you in the car could cause a bruise.
The last common way to bruise your sternum is through a sports injury. Violent, physically intensive sports often involve people brushing up against each other in practice. If you are not wearing protective chest gear while playing your sport, you could end up getting a bruised sternum.
Medical Options for Treating a Bruised Sternum
Micro-Current Therapy: If you have injured your sternum,you should see a doctor for help. In serious cases, your doctor may recommend micro-current therapy. This type of therapy changes the body’s electrical fields back to normal. By breaking up the electrical current that developed after the injury, it helps to bolster the body’s defense systems and help it to heal.
Medication: If you have extremely severe symptoms, your doctor may offer you an NSAID like Tylenol or ibuprofen to help minimize the swelling and the pain.
When your bruised sternum is not severe, you may want to try treating it at home. Fortunately, there are many different natural treatment techniques that can help you to alleviate pain and to heal. Some of the most common treatment options include:
A Balanced Diet: You need to eat a healthy diet so that your bones get the nutrients that they need to recover. This means that you should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. In addition, you will want to include calcium sources like kale or spinach, yogurt, lean meats, fish and whole grains in your food plan.
Take an Ice Massage: One of the best ways to limit some of your pain is to get an ice massage. With some ice, rub the bruised area gently for up to ten minutes. You can do this up to three times a day to help reduce the swelling and pain on your sternum.
Supplements: Some supplements like vitamin C and echinacea have been shown to improve your body’s immune system and speed up the time that it takes to recover. Vitamin K is great for the blood, and it can reduce the time it takes for bruises to heal. Other supplements like fresh pineapple and bromelain help to remove swelling.
Low-Impact Exercise: As your symptoms gradually get better, you can start to exercise again. Low-impact exercises like biking, walking or swimming will help you to regain your range of motion and recover your muscles. Before doing this, you should make sure to talk to your doctor to ensure that you have healed enough to handle a little low-impact exercising.
Be Careful: A single bump or misstep could cause you to hurt your sternum even more. While you are healing, make sure to limit the amount of repetitive stress and heavy lifting that you have to do. You will also want to stop smoking because nicotine slows down your healing time and reduces blood flow in your body.