sternum pain

by Andrew
(New york, New York,USA)

About a year ago I sneezed really hard and my chest was sore for 4 days; recently I aggravated it maybe in the gym. Now when I'm laying down, and go to get up, I get a pain in center of my chest; it does not hurt when touched it only hurts when crunch my upper body to get up or when I cross my arms or cough; sometimes I get a tingling feeling in my left forearm and into my fingers as well.

Hello Andrew,
A sneeze is quite violent and obviously you injured one of the many rib joints, either at the back, or with the sternum; or even one of the muscles associated with breathing.

At this stage, since the sternum is not tender or swollen, I'd classify it as a sprain of the costosternal joint; there are ligaments holding the joint in place and they have been stretched.

Ice it, do some massage between the ribs with your fingers and stop all chest and shoulder work at the gym. Probably for at least a month, and then start in slowly again.

If you start to get pain between the shoulders in the midback, then it's time to see a local chiropractor; ask him not to a hard posterior to anterior thrust on the midback as this will aggravate the sternal pain. An "anterior thoracic" technique is better.

That tingling in the arm is part of the deal. Try and identify exactly which fingers tingle, and whether turning your head and looking up provokes it.

What you want to try and prevent is this turning into a Tietze's syndrome; that hurts and is very frustrating.

Good luck.

Dr B

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