Lower sternum pain

Updated November 21, 2016

The sternum is another name for the breast bone, which is the long, flat bone in the middle of the front of your chest. The sternum is made up of the upper segment of the sternum, which is called the manubrium. The manubrium is a roughly triangular, flattened bone. The second part of the sternum is the body of the sternum or the corpus, and the third part is the xiphoid process or the little tail of the sternum that points downward. Pain is sometimes felt in the sternum and at times is concentrated in the lower portion of the sternum.


When experiencing pain in the lower sternum, where the xiphoid process or lowest point of the sternum is located, you pay be experiencing xiphoid syndrome, according to Xiphoid syndrome can be associated with gallbladder disease, bone disease and heart disease. When you eat a big meal, bend over or lift objects this can cause pain in the lower portion of the sternum if you have this syndrome.


Symptoms of xiphoid syndrome include shoulder and back pain; shoulder discomfort and tenderness; chest discomfort and tenderness and epigastric discomfort, which means that you are feeling unpleasant sensations in the upper central region of your abdomen.


Several factors can be responsible for lower sternum pain including esophageal spasms, gastritis, esophagitis, epigastric hernia and an abscess of the left lobe of the liver.

Other Possibilities

If you are suffering from arthritis it is possible to experience pain in the sternum. The pain may occur where the ribs and shoulder bones connect with the breast bone or sternum. If these joints become inflamed this can cause pain in the sternum. Two conditions that are the result of inflamed costal cartilage and joints are Tiezte’s syndrome and costochondritis.


Fractures of the sternum do not occur very often but it can happen. If you have been in an automobile accident and your chest can into contact with the steering wheel, your sternum may be fractured and causing you pain, notes


You can experience pain in your sternum if the muscles that are located between the ribs have been bruised, overworked or injured. Those with asthma and emphysema, which are respiratory disorders, have to work hard to breathe and this can strain the muscles, causing sternum pain. Chronic heartburn can cause pain under the sternum/ bone rather than in the sternum. This type of pain is a burning sensation.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.