9 Common Causes For Sternum Pain

Common Causes For Sternum Pain


Sternum, also called the breast bone or chest bone, is positioned in the mid of the chest like a necktie connecting all the ribs and stabilizes the thoracic cage. Like pain occurs in any other part of the body, pain is experienced in sternum too due to trauma or some other condition. But located in the chest, this pain is often misread as heart attack and causes anxiety. In this read, we have compiled a few causes for this non-cardiac pain so that you can understand how to differentiate it and get a proper diagnosis when you consult a doctor for breastbone pain.

Here Are Some Common Causes For Sternum Pain:

1. Heartburn

Heartburn is a common cause for episodes of sharp pain in the sternum, which is often misinterpreted as heart attack. A burning pain radiating through the chest and gets worse when one bends or lies down is usually due to gastroesophageal reflux and not cardiac problems. Heartburn occurs after meals and the pain is felt only on the chest and not in the back and arms.


2. Muscle pain

Pain or strain in the pectoral muscles (muscles that cover the ribcage in the front and pulls the arms toward the chest) might be a reason for pain in the sternum or breast bone. Furthermore, strained intercostals muscles (muscles running between the ribs) might cause sternum pain.

Muscle pain

3. Costochondritis

Costochondritis is a condition with inflamed rib cage cartilage. It is a painful condition with no definite cause indentified. Minor trauma, respiratory infections, overuse of arms, pinched nerves, chest muscle soreness can result in the condition and result in aggravating pain in the sternum. Pain can get worse with breathing, coughing or any other physical activity and mimic heart attack.


4. Stress

Stress is a common factor that can set off a non-cardiac chest pain which could be misread for heart attack. Stress can result in panic attack and intensify chest pain so that you might have to rush to your doctor. Even after panic attack is eased, sternum pain could last.


5. Respiratory Problems

A few respiratory conditions might lead to inflammation in the lining of the lungs. When the inner walls of lungs get inflamed, it might result in pain in the breast bone while coughing, sneezing and even while taking deep breaths. Conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, etc can cause pain in the sternum.

Respiratory Problems

6. Surgery

The organs in the Chest (Thoracic) cavity consists of several critical organs including lungs and heart. Any surgery performed on these organs like the open-heart surgery could cause sternum pain even after the wound heals. Although the pain may disappear eventually, in some case it may return due to changes in climatic conditions or when the person performs stressful activities.


7. Fractures

Accidents such as a car accident could cause fracture in the breast bone. Although rare, a sternum fracture could be caused when there is a direct forceful blow to the breast bone. The fracture could lead to severe or mild sternum pain, which depends on the intensity of physical trauma. Besides this, fractures involving collarbone as well as sternoclavicular joint can also cause sternum pain.


8. Joint Damage

When you perform extreme physical activities such as weight lifting and exercise, it can lead to joint damage causing pain in the rib area and sternum. This could be a persistent pain, which can even affect your collar and shoulder bones.

 Joint Damage

9. Tietze Syndrome

Tietze syndrome is a condition in which the costochondral cartilage is affected and causes sternum pain. Although the cause of inflammation is not known, it is generally associated with infections in the upper respiratory tract, chest injury, severe cough or strenuous exercise.

Tietze Syndrome

Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.