Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What is the strange popping sensation in my chest?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is the strange popping sensation in my chest?


For the past few years, I have been able to extend my arms behind me and kind of ""pop"" something in the middle of my chest. It feels like it is relieving the pressure and feels much better afterward. Lately I get the same painful sensation, but I can't actually crack or pop anything. It usually lasts a whole day and gets worse and worse. Plus, I can't do anything too physical or the pain gets a lot worse. It is super bad when I try to do push-ups or even cross my arms in front of my body. Any idea what it is and how I can get the pain to stop? My friend told me that I should never pop it in the first place - is that true?


So sorry to hear that you have been suffering from this pain for some time, and hope that we may be able to provide some information that could help. First and foremost, with any sort of chest pain, it is always important to speak with your doctor. Even though you may be young and healthy, and even if this may seem like something that has a ready explanation, it is important to make sure that there is nothing more serious. It is unfortunately true that many young and healthy people ignored warning signs that turned out to have devastating long term consequences. Now, from what you describe, it is certainly possible that you could be suffering from conditions involving the chest wall, among other possibilities. Costochondritis is one such condition, where the cartilage of your rib cage gets inflamed and causes some pain. It is possible that the cracking that you did for so long caused some inflammation of the joint that is causing some associated pain. The best way to find out would be to speak with your doctor to start the next step towards treatment. He or she may recommend treatment with over the counter medication. Please speak with your doctor for more information, an accurate diagnosis, and to begin some sort of treatment.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.