Bruised Sternum – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Sometimes we can feel certain discomfort in the areas of our body, where we couldn’t imagine they can appear. Some are a cause of another disease but they can also be a result of injuries.

In this article we will be looking closely to the phenomenon of bruised Sternum. We will be explaining what is it exactly, how this part of our body gets injured and how we can treat it.

What is Sternum?

Sternum is actually a bone. It is located below our neck, on the front side of our body. And when we look at it, the first thing we will be thinking about is a tie. This tie shaped bone is connected with our ribs, and together with them it creates our rib cage. As you already know, inside are located one of the most important organs of our body, heart, lungs, and many others.

Sternum is flat, and it is not actually consisted from three bones. Besides being a flat bone, it is also curved to the front and down so it forms an almost C like form.

The three parts from which the Sternum is consisted are: Manubrium, body and Xiphoid process. They all form a T shaped bone, that expands from our lower neck to the middle of our lungs. First part it the upper part of the Sternum, and the biggest part by width. Second part is the longest and this part is connected on each side. The last part, or Xiphoid process, is the point of the Sternum and the most fragile one. When first aid is being used on a person, this part is the easiest one to get broken of due to hard pressure. So, be careful when reviving someone.

Sternum is connected with joints, just like any other bone.

Sternum injuries and pain causes

When it comes to Sternum pain causes, they are usually a result of some kind of injury that has been inflicted upon this fragile bone. Since it is not a type of bone that is prone to injuries, the most common causes are car accidents or intentional injury to this part of our body.

If the pain is caused by injuries, it can be pretty severe. Our breast bones are very fragile, and unlike bones in our legs and arms, they are not meant to endure severe trauma. The effects of trauma to the Sternum bone can be showed as bruising around that area, swelling, sharp pain in the area around the center of the lungs and sensitive feeling in the Sternum area.

This injury is most common in sports. In any sport where we have direct contact between the players, or pushing and kicking can easily bruise this part of the body. Boxing can be a good example of that. In the heat of the match, boxers don’t really look where they are hitting their opponents, and also in soccer or other sports, Sternum is the bone that can be easily hurt by injuries.

These pains can last for a long period of time. It all depends on the amount of injury that has been inflicted upon this part of our body. Even breathing can cause pain, since our bones and rib cage, expand when we are breathing  in and out. So, smaller or shallow breaths are recommended for everyone that has a bruised Sternum.

This goes for coughing and laughing or any other movement that requires Sternum to expand or change position. Enduring severe pain, while breathing, can be a living hell for everyone who has experienced trauma to this part of the body.

Sternum can also be bruised by severe coughing. Sometimes, during cold, when can have a big throat inflammation, and constant coughing can really hurt this part of our rib cage. You will probably remember this, since there is almost no one who hasn’t experienced this before. It is a more common condition while we are younger, and when we come to adulthood we learn how to calm down our cough and mild it as much as we can.

Treatment for bruised Sternum

When we apply the right treatment technique, bruising of the Sternum can go away easily. This also depends on the bruising. In harder cases, this pain can even last up to six weeks but usually no more than that. During this time, like I mentioned earlier, patient will have severe pain while eating, breathing, laughing or coughing. Any kind of movement of this part of the body, will cause sharp pain around Sternum area.

One of treatment options is micro current treatment. This means the patient will need to be treated with electric current of low frequency, and this is mostly used to restore the balance of trauma affected areas.

If patient requires medication for this condition, then anti-inflammatory medications are mostly used. They are Ibuprofens or Aspirin and Acetaminophen. They help to reduce the inflammation inside our body, which is in this case caused by bruising of the Sternum. If some swelling is involved, then these medications will help to reduce even these symptoms. When taking these medications, it is important to know that they are not recommended for everyone. So, it is best to ask your doctor for advice, and not take anything by yourself. You don’t want to cause more problems to yourself or anyone you are taking care of.

X-ray scan is always recommended by the doctors, just so they can be sure it is a Sternum bruising or fracture and not some other medical condition. Only after this has been done, you can ask for medications.

Home treatment options

If you are a fan of home remedy options, you can also consider these home treatments. But before doing so, make sure that you have visited your doctor, and that your Sternum bruising is nothing dangerous and life threatening.

To ease the inflammation around Sternum area, or any other inflamed area of your body, you can use cold compress. You can dip a towel in water and put it in the fridge for a short period of time, and then apply it on your Sternum. You should only tap the area with this cold compress, because holding it for too long can only make things worse. Repeat this for a couple of times during the day, and avoid over doing it.

To decrease swelling and bruises around Sternum, you can also use vitamin C and K. they will be a good support for other treatments of the Sternum, and also bruising and swelling will be decreased in a big amount.

When you have tried everything, and you are already feeling a little better, you can also try out some exercises. After treatment, our muscles can become stiff, and to reduce this effect and also strengthen our body after injury, try some swimming or biking. Of course, this is only recommended when you are feeling a little better. Don’t do this if you still have severe pain, or stop if you feel that your condition is getting worse.

Asking your doctor is a must in this last recommendation, because we can sometimes poorly judge our condition and only harm ourselves more.

While recovering, take a lot of nutrients and vitamins since your body needs them to feel good again. Whatever type of diagnosis we have, food is a big part of the treatment. Since bruised Sternum is a special case, try eating foods that have been processed in a blender or cut to small pieces so they can easily be swallowed without causing more pain in the already unbearable condition.

Bruised Sternum is not an uncommon condition. Probably most of us have experienced it, and have treated it successfully. Like in any other condition, it is important to stay calm until the pain goes away, and also follow your treatment to the end.

Movement while you have bruised Sternum is not recommended. Since actions like swallowing and even breathing are hard, everything more exhausting than that can only be worse for you.

Always make sure to check in with your doctor, to find out the causes and treatment that is recommended for you in this case. In case of an injury, don’t waste time, and go to the hospital immediately. This bone protects one of the most important organs of our body, and because of it’s fragility, it is not advised to ignore pain in this area of your body.