Sternum pain: anxiety and other possible causes

The chest pain or chest pain is a symptom that is often associated with heart disease.

However, in cases where there are no genetic or preexisting conditions of cardiac alterations, it is called non-cardiac chest pain, which can have several causes.

It can be mild or acute and come with other symptoms, such as muscle pain in the back and when breathing, pain in the neck, jaw, abdomen or arm.

The pain in the sternum may also be associated with chest pain. Discover the possible causes below!

Where is the sternum bone located?

The sternum bone is located in the center of the rib cage (chest), between the frontal ribs. It helps to protect the lungs, esophagus, heart and other vital organs of the human body, in addition to supporting the collarbone and ribs.

Its name originates from the Greek language ” sternon “, which means chest. It has a T shape and is the 10th largest bone in the human body.

It is there that the rib cartilages are inserted and articulate.

The rib cage contains 10 ribs in all, of which the first 7 are directly connected to the sternum. They can be divided into true, false and floating.

The first 7 are the real ones, as they are directly articulated with the sternum through its cartilages.

Ribs 8 to 10, on the other hand, are false, as they unite their cartilage to each other, finally joining with the seventh cartilage to insert into the sternum.

What causes pain in the sternum?

Sternum pain can have different causes. Check out some of them below:

Anxiety

The anxiety attacks can be characterized by excessive concerns that may be associated with fear and generate a sense of tension.

This condition is the first sign of anxiety and appears even before physical signs.

When this gets worse, it can trigger chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations. These pains tend to be like a kind of tightness in the central region of the chest, where the sternum is located and, therefore, can be mistaken for bone pain.

Tietze syndrome

The Tietze syndrome usually rare and the causes may be performing intense physical exertion or injury such as a blow to the chest. Stress can also be an aggravating factor for the syndrome, although it is not a direct cause.

Symptoms are: acute chest pain and swelling of the affected cartilage, which can be detected on a physical exam. The pain may resemble that of a heart attack.

Chronic costochondritis

The chronic costochondritis is characterized by inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs and the sternum.

Symptoms can be identified by pain and tenderness in the chest, when you breathe deeply or cough .

This pain can also radiate to the arms and shoulders. In addition, some people may have difficulty breathing.

The causes of the problem can be as diverse as chest wall injuries, bloodstream infections or sternum infections. Costochondritis can also develop after surgery on the chest or heart.

Read more: What can cause chest discomfort and pain?

Dor no external bone when open

Chest pain can result from joint problems, as the ribs articulate in the vertebrae and then directly in the sternum bone, which can cause greater sensitivity in the chest bone.

Traumas, sprains, bad muscles or severe muscular effort can cause dysfunctions and tensions in the region and its ligaments. This pain can be made worse by contracting the abdomen, squeezing the center of the rib cage (sternum) and making efforts.

In cases of trauma, it is important to perform radiological exams to check for possible injuries.

Treatment depends on the causes and can be done with physiotherapy, muscle and joint stretching, combined with the use of medications to relieve pain.

Read more: Anxiety: how to treat and natural tranquilizers


Chest pains are always a warning sign and should be investigated to find out the causes and treat them in the best way, whether due to stenosis, cardiac or psychological problems.

Did you already know the sternum bone? Did you know where it is located? Share with us if you have more information on the subject.

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