The sternum is best described as an elongated, flat bone located in the center of the chest. It is the attachment point of various chest muscles and responsible for connecting the bones of the rib cage. A fractured sternum can be caused by vehicular accidents but can also occur during delivery of chest compressions or direct contact sports such as football or hockey. The damage brought about by a fracture is rarely exclusive to the sternum since it is closely connected to other muscles, bones, organs and ligaments. With this in mind, rehabilitation exercise that must be performed should take into consideration the whole chest cavity.
Safety consideration for those who have fractured sternum
Due to the high impact trauma that results to sternal fractures, the individual must expect pain, bruising, stiffness, swelling and soreness to manifest. These symptoms can be treated before the individual starts an exercise rehabilitation program. Being properly diagnosed by the doctor will help rule out other possible injuries such as internal bleeding, cardiac lesions and compression fractures involving the thoracic spine since these conditions requires immediate emergency care that you can learn by enrolling in an emergency course today. Additionally, a fractured sternum that is severely displaced or injured would require surgical intervention before the individual can perform any exercise routine.
Initial treatment for a fractured sternum
The individual must be instructed to rest from any physical activity. Additionally, he/she must limit using the chest and shoulder muscles. The individual must avoid pushing, pulling, lifting or any activity that involves heavy lifting. When providing pain relief, you have to place crushed ice in a plastic bag that is applied on the sternum without pressure. The ice must be held in place at 20-30 minutes on and off for the initial 24-72 hours.
Range of motion of the chest and shoulders
The ideal way to prevent stiffness of the chest and restore proper respiratory function is to perform slow and regulated breathing. In doing so, it will help expand the chest, stretch the surrounding tissues and restore the range of motion. The individual must finish 8-10 slow, deep breaths.
When stretching the muscles of the chest, the individual must start in a comfortable standing position with the arms on the sides. Both arms must be raised in front at 90 degrees. One arm must be moved at a time to the side and as far back as possible without causing pain and held for about 30 seconds.
Strengthening of the chest and shoulders
Rest is initially required for the chest muscles, but they have to be strengthened soon. The individual will start in a standing position facing a wall. He/she must plant his/her hands on the wall, directly in front of the shoulders and perform small push-up movements against the wall. The next stage would require performing push-ups on the floor but from the knees.