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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Need help diagnosing sternum pain


 kathryn - Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:34 pm

I am a 29 year old healthy (very stressed) Causcasian female. On Monday Sept. 12th I woke up at 5am with a sharp pain just under my breast bone. It hurt when breathing and certain movements. I was concerned and went to my doctor that morning. He seemed to rule out heartburn (which I have no history of) and said that because it hurt with movement and breathing it wasn't my heart. He said it was probably a strain in the tissue around my breastbone and to take advil and come back if it didn't go away. It did get better that day. Since then I often have mild chest pains under my breastbone in the early morning (while still in bed) and I had another 'sharp' episode on Monday Oct. 31st. This time I just relaxed and breathed through my diaghram and it was better later in the morning. This morning I had another less sharp but notable breif episode. I am trying not to worry, but it seems that any chest pain is disconcerting. I have been looking at hiatal hernias, hearburn, or muscle strain but don't know if any of these could be the cause. I know that I exacerbate symptoms by feeling panicked about the pain. I do not do any strenuous excercize. I am under a lot of stress. Could a doctor please let me know if I should be concerned and what action to take. The pain is more upsetting then physically limiting but I am a worrier!
 Dr. J. Jennings - Tue Nov 08, 2005 9:48 pm

I agree that it is not the heart. Chest pain can nonetheless be disconcerting. What you describe sounds very much like a muscle strain. Ibuprofen is a good choice because it also has antiinflammatory properties. However, if you are very anxiou about this still, it would not be unreasonable to re-see a physician. But other conditions that cause pain when you breath (like pleurisy - inflammation of the lininng outside your lung) seem much less likely than the muscle strain.

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