Sternal pain or costochondritis is seen as swelling and painful sensations at the breastbone. By and large, treatment of costochondritis focuses up on assuaging the swelling and pain as you wait for inflammation to resolve on its own.
Sternal pain aggravates when you cough and when you take deep breaths. There will be associated inflammation of the breastbone and the rib too.
What Can Cause Pain In Sternum?
Common causes for pain in the sternum are:
- Injury /trauma: An injury to the sternum / ribs / chest triggers swelling and pain.
- Lifting heavy weights: If you pick up very heavy objects, perform strenuous exercises and in case you suffer from chronic severe cough, you may develop sternal swelling and pain.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis are vital etiological factors.
- Infection: Bacterial, viral or fungal infections of the chest wall.
- Tumor masses: Benign and malignant masses may press on to the sternum and inflame it.
Natural Remedies To Relieve Sternum Pain
Consult your health care provider in case the pain is excruciating and does not resolve in 2 weeks’ time.
Treatment regimen for sternum pain comprises of:
- Ice: During the initial part of the pain, apply ice; place the ice bag, over the painful area for 10 – 15 minutes, 5 to 6 times during the day.
- Heat: Afterwards, place hot compresses to the affected area; it helps ameliorate the pain considerably.
- Rest: Do not do any of the activities which worsen your pain.
- OTC drugs: If the pain is agonizing, discuss with your doctor and take over the counter pain medications.
- Ginger: Is a very beneficial home remedy which helps decrease the pain. Ginger is loaded with gingerols, which help fight inflammation and swelling effectively; and thus, pain diminishes. Have ginger tea, several times daily.
- Garlic: Experts recommend having 3 to 5 flakes of raw garlic; garlic too is an effective anti-inflammatory agent, which reduces swellings and pain. What’s more, garlic also fights off bacteria and virus which could be producing an infection.
- Turmeric: Some say that turmeric works faster than most over the counter drugs as well as NSAIDs. Have powdered turmeric with honey 2 to 3 times daily. Turmeric will greatly assuage the pain and will also deal with infections well.
- Aromatherapy: Essential oils help allay pain too. Add 2 drops of clove essential oil and nutmeg essential oil to hot water. Dip a cloth in the hot water and apply to the sternum; it will reduce the pain and discomfort.
- NSAIDs: When OTC medicines fail to bring any relief to the pain and discomfort, your health care provider may prescribe NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to manage the pain better.
- Narcotics: In really severe cases, your doctor may have to prescribe drugs which contain codeine.
- Anti-biotics: If the blood work shows infection to be the cause of the pain and swelling, your doctor will prescribe anti-biotics to achieve faster cure.
- Physiotherapy: Talk to your doctor and physical therapist about starting stretching exercises. Gentle stretching exercises promise a lot of help.
- In case all the conservative measures fail to work and you see no pain relief at all, your doctor may advise injecting numbing drugs and corticosteroids directly in to the breastbone for some respite.