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Sternum Pain

Sternum Pain
Sternum plays a very important role in the human body. This article provides some information about the condition, its causes and treatments, that might prove beneficial to keep the sternum in a functional state for many years.
Geeta Dhavale
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Many of the people who experience sternum pain are unaware of this condition, and mistake it to be a heart attack. As the affected person feels a pain in the chest, people immediately think of cardiac diseases and this makes it difficult for the affected person to bear the pain. So, it is essential that we all become aware and give significant importance to this neglected, yet one of the most crucial internal organs of the human body. The sternum or the breastbone is located right in the middle of the chest and is an essential subpart of the ribcage. It protects the vital organs such as, heart, lungs, and major blood vessels, etc., and helps in completing the rib circle.
Causes
The pain can be caused due to a variety of conditions that may result in harming the sternum. Here are some of the conditions that many cause pain that is highly unbearable.
Joint Pain: The ribs are joined to the sternum to form the loop. These joints can get hurt due to trauma or wrong posture during exercising or condition that strains the sternum joints. Apart from the joint pain, one of the rare causes of this condition can be arthritis.
Muscle Stretch: Many chest muscles and pelvic muscles pass through or are attached to the breastbone and the rib cage. When these muscles are pressurized or pulled, it can result in sternum pain. Many times the muscle pain results from swelling that may lead to pain in the breastbone.
Heartburn: Heartburn can also result in pain that is often mistaken as heart attack. It can be caused due to acidity or any digestion-related problems. In this case, the chest pain is accompanied with a burning sensation that can be very difficult to bear.
Respiratory Disorders: Bronchitis, tracheitis, excessive coughing, etc., are some of the causes that can put excessive pressure on the sternum resulting in pain in the same. Apart from this, the people affected by tuberculosis and pneumonia also experience pain in the breastbone.
Fracture: Sternum fracture is one of the most common reason for the pain. The fracture may result from accident or any traumatic event.
Collarbone Trauma: The collarbone is placed between breastbone and scapula. The collarbone pain can reach the breastbone resulting in pain.
Costochondritis: Costochondritis is characterized by the injury or swelling to the rib cartilage. The lower part of the breastbone is made up of cartilage that has chances of getting swollen due to many reasons. This swelling results in the condition.
Apart from this, many surgical and psychological problems can result in this pain. Another cause of this condition can be related to heart problems. So, it advisable to consult the concerned doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment
As the pain is not directly related to the breastbone, one has to eliminate the cause of the pain. In case of joint and muscle pain, one needs to take care while exercising and sleeping, and maintain a good body posture. The doctor would generally prescribe some pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs that would ease the muscle swelling resulting in reduced pain.
In case of a physical trauma or fracture, one would have to undergo the treatment till the bone gets healed again. If the damage is vast and cannot be treated with medication, the doctor may suggest an operation to fix the bone in place. In case of heartburn and respiratory diseases, one would have to take the treatment for the respective diseases. Once the disease is subsided, the pain would subside too.
The diagnosis of this pain is quite simpler. The doctor would ask one about his/her medical history, and some imaging tests such as X-ray or CT scan would also be required. This would help in detecting the position and the gravity of the injury. According to the results, the doctor would suggest the treatment. Along with this, proper rest is mandatory so that the condition gets healed faster.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.