Treating a Broken Sternum Following a Car Accident

When involved in a car accident, a broke sternum may be one of the injuries that you sustain. Here is a closer look at what is involved with a broken sternum, otherwise known as the breastbone, and how it is treated.

Symptoms of a Broken Sternum

If you have fractured your sternum, breathing will become difficult and painful to do. The pain is generally worse with deeper breaths or when laughing or coughing. Moving your arms and lifting heavy objects may also be painful.

Treating a Broken Sternum

To treat a broken sternum, you will likely be ordered to simply rest as your body heals. Ice may be applied to your chest to help reduce swelling and pain. You may also take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. If the pain is too severe, stronger pain medication may be necessary. Furthermore, depending upon the extent of the break, surgery may be necessary to put the bone back in place.

For most people, it takes a few months to fully recover from a broken sternum. During this time, it is essential to avoid developing a chest infection. To avoid a chest infection, you should:

  • Frequently take deep breaths throughout the day
  • Avoid taking cough medication or otherwise suppressing the need to cough
  • Provide support to the chest wall when coughing

You should also be sure to contact your doctor immediately if you feel short of breath, develop a fever or start coughing up yellow, green or bloody phlegm. To learn more about treating a broken sternum or other injuries following a car accident, contact Advanced Spine & Rehab today!

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