Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What could be causing the pain in my sternum?"
I have a strange, aching feeling in my chest. I'm 29 and have never had anything like it before. I don't have chest problems or smoke or anything. What could be making my chest bone feel so sore?
The kind of aching pain that you are describing is very common in people your age! Although most people associate chest pain with heart attacks and other serious problems, there are actually a whole bunch of other, more common, reasons to have chest pain in a young person. Unless the pain is severe, or associated with shortness of breath, palpitations, or or severe symptoms it is unlikely to be related to your heart. Much more likely is musculoskeletal pain. For example, in people who do vigorous exercise such as weight lifting or who have recently been engaging in unusual activities (such as moving heavy furniture) a sprain or strain of the muscles between the ribs is a likely cause. This usually gets better with rest and maybe some anti inflammatory medication like ibuprofen. Another very common cause is costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the joints connected the ribs to the sternum. Often with costochondritis there is pain when you press over these joint areas. Costochondritis is sort of like a "cold" of these joints and can be associated with many common viral infections. It tends to get better on its own. Please discuss with your primary care doctor to learn more about how this could affect you.
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