• Corey Richason

How to Recover From a Chest Injury More Quickly


If you suffer chest pain during a hard workout or any intense physical activity, the first critical thing to check is the cardiac function. Once you've determined the problem is not your heart, you will need to deal with your chest injury. Chest injuries can include anything from a pulled muscle to a bruised or fractured sternum. Here are some ways to properly recover from a chest injury.


Physical Therapy


Depending on the source of your pain, physical therapy and careful monitoring are critical. In the event of a hard hit to the chest, you may suffer from a bruised or fractured sternum. Collisions on the field or a strike with a racket can damage your sternum, as can a car wreck. If your sternum is damaged, breathing will hurt, and you will likely develop a bruise. Physical therapy to help you relax and breathe from your abdomen rather than your rib cage can lessen your discomfort.


Chest Injury or Heart Attack?


Monitor yourself after a chest injury as cardiac involvement may be masked by your pain. If you notice sweating, dizziness, or a panicky feeling, seek medical help immediately. A chest injury makes it hard to breathe because breathing hurts. A heart attack or poor cardiac function will leave you feeling breathless because your heart and lungs aren't moving oxygenated blood effectively.


Rest and Relaxation


If you find that you don't breathe deeply because of chest tenderness, try meditation. Sit comfortably in a chair and find a spot to focus on across the room or light a candle to gaze at. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Focus on the spot or candle and simply work to inhale and exhale slowly. Try to expand your tummy as you inhale and let it deflate as you exhale without moving your ribcage up and down. Most importantly, don't overdo things when you try to return to your normal activities. You should rest when pain increases to find relief from your symptoms.


Remember to RICE


Muscle strains and bone bruising can be effectively treated with the RICE treatment. Rest if you feel pain. Ice the area by lying flat and laying an ice pack over the injury site. Compress the injury to avoid inflammation or keep an ice pack in place, but loosely. Elevate the injury by laying back on a wedge pillow. You may need to sleep in your recliner to avoid discomfort as you heal.


Chest injuries can generally be addressed with rest and time. Be aware that pulled muscles can turn into torn muscles if you try to go back to your regular level of activity too quickly. Finally, if a chest injury just isn't getting any better, seek medical help. A bruised sternum will hurt a lot, but if it's broken and it separates, you may be facing serious complications.


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