Chest & sternum pain

Updated July 19, 2017

The sternum, or breastbone, is a bone in the centre of the chest that connects to the right and left ribs. People can develop chest pain that may include sternum discomfort. Individuals with unexplained chest pain should see a doctor.

Sternum Pain

According to the Mayo Clinic, people may develop a burning sensation behind the sternum from heartburn or stomach acid washing into the oesophagus. A hiatus hernia or an esophageal disorder or spasm can result in sternum pain.

Cardiac Chest Pain

People can develop severe chest pain from heart related causes such as a heart attack, angina or heart inflammation that may be accompanied by breathing problems, nausea or dizziness.

Non-Cardiac Chest Pain

Patients may experience chest pain from non-cardiac causes such as sore chest muscles, injured ribs or inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone.

Chest Pain Tests

Doctors may use an electrocardiogram to record electrical activity in the heart and diagnose chest pain causes. Physicians may use imaging tests such as chest X-rays, echocardiograms and magnetic resonance imaging tests to observe chest abnormalities that cause chest pain.

Chest Pain Treatment

Physicians may treat heart related chest pain with medications such as aspirin, nitroglycerine or beta blockers. Patients with heartburn may take medicines that reduce stomach acid.

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About the Author

Eric Smith has been a freelance writer since 2007 and has published articles on various websites. Smith specializes in a wide variety of topics, particularly health, travel and business. He has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Oakland University.