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How to Treat Sternal Fractures

How to Treat Sternal Fractures

A sternal fracture is also called a chest fracture. Its treatment is quite different from other fractures due to its peculiar location. This article will throw some light on its treatment options.
Sujata Iyer
The human body is as fragile as it is strong. Cracking and breaking of bones are sometimes a frequent phenomenon for some. A sternum fracture is one such common fracture that people can suffer from if due precautionary measures are ignored. The most probable cause of a sternal or chest fracture is usually a motor accident. It needs to be diagnosed at the earliest in order to prevent any other serious complications. This HealthHearty article will tell you about the usual method of treating one.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
Treating a Sternal Fracture
A sternal fracture can be caused by many reasons, like an assault or a heavy impact to the chest. But the most common one is a motor accident. When the driver hits an object with a deep impact, the chest suffers a major injury, either with the steering wheel or due to the shoulder belt (if not accompanied by the lap component as well). This injury results in the breaking of the breastbone with a crunching sound, which is the first indicator of the fracture. This is followed by severe pain in the chest area. If you are ever in such a situation where your (someone you know's) chest receives a major blow, follow the steps given below to ensure that you get the appropriate treatment.
  • The first thing that you need to do is call an ambulance for help. Do not move the injured person. Let the medics handle it.
  • Once at the hospital, you may be asked to take an X-ray of the chest. The X-ray is taken from the front and from the side to check if there are broken ribs and bones.
  • The chest will appear a little swollen and there will be pain. The area will be checked for other injuries like heart injuries, muscle injuries, etc.
  • If you have a minor fracture in your sternum, the first thing you will be advised is a mild analgesic or painkiller. This is done to give you some relief from the pain that you might be experiencing.
  • In case of a serious fracture, you might be advised surgery in order to set it right.
  • A sternal fracture is peculiarly different from other fractures because you cannot wrap the chest in a cast. You will be advised bed rest for quite some time in order to rest the chest area.
  • Take this rest seriously and do not give any undue stress to the area. You might find it difficult to breathe due to the pain. This is a strong indicator that you need to rest.
  • Also, remember to take the medication that your doctor prescribes, regularly.
  • After some (2-3) weeks, you will notice that your pain will reduce considerably. Now, you can begin some mild activities like walking a little, lifting objects, and begin to give your body some exercise.
  • When you feel better, your doctor may also advise you to undergo physical therapy, depending upon the extent of progress that he sees. The dosage of medication may or may not continue. This is up to the physician to decide.
A sternal fracture can culminate into something unnecessarily serious if not diagnosed properly and on time. The process of treating it is quite long and slow. This is because no physical support can be given to the chest bones. Hence, if you get a severe blow to your chest, get yourself tested immediately. And if diagnosed with a fracture, follow the treatment procedure very carefully and without ignoring any piece of advice given by your physician.