Medical Specialty >> Pulmonology

Doctors Lounge - Pulmonology Answers

Back to Pulmonology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

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.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us