Pain in the sternum area (breastbone pain) is rather common, and in many cases, doesn’t indicate anything particularly dangerous. Fitness lovers and people who are involved in physical labor experience this pain so often that they can get used to it. If your workouts are regular, the pain should be replaced with slight soreness in a matter of days. This feeling should disappear entirely after a few weeks, and will only return when you increase the intensity of your exercises. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone should dismiss sternum pain as an insignificant symptom of physical workout.
What Causes Breastbone Pain?
This condition can be caused by serious health issues. The most common of them are:
- Fractures – Breast bone fractures are extremely rare. In most cases, they are caused by the impact of a steering wheel in a car accident. This injury rarely goes unnoticed because the person involved in a serious accident always gets mandatory X-rays. It’s imperative to seek immediate medical attention if you think that there is a risk of sternum fracture (usually accompanied by strong sharp pain).
- Heartburn (acid reflux) – This condition can be dangerous if left untreated. The reflux of stomach acid causes a painful burning feeling under your breast bone. It will intensify with time, and you will feel like it is your sternum that is actually in pain. This condition can be mistaken for a heart attack.
- Joint pain – Your breast bone connects to your shoulder bones and ribs through tiny joints that can be affected by other medical conditions. It is highly uncommon for arthritis or similar conditions to cause pain in the sternum area, but not impossible. If you are suffering from this condition, you should consult your doctor about the pain as it may indicate that your current treatment program is ineffective. Costochondritis, on the other hand, is a condition that affects the cartilage in the joints between your sternum and ribs. Severe pain that occurs due to the inflammation is one of the most common symptoms. It is not particularly dangerous and can be treated effectively.
- Heart disease and other cardiac conditions – As your sternum is a part of the main “shield” that protects your heart, the pain that originate from this particular organ are often projected to your breast bone. In this case, the pain you experience will most likely be a dull pain, like the feeling you get from a big bruise.
- Psychological conditions – Panic and anxiety attacks are the most common psychological causes for sternum pain. They also make your heart beat much faster and can even result in a cardiac arrest if you suffer from heart disease. There is no way to anticipate this type of psychological attack, but you need to know how to deal with it if someone you know is affected by this condition and is unable to manage it properly.
- Respiratory diseases – Sternum pain is a common symptom of bronchitis, pneumonia, tracheitis, and bronchiectasis. These conditions are also accompanied by high fever and cough.
Consult a doctor if you experience any type of pain in sternum area, except if it’s caused by overworked muscles. However, you should seek a physician’s advice if the feeling persists, regardless of your usual training regimen. You will need to take a few simple tests in order to eliminate the threat of this being a symptom of a dangerous condition.