Your sternum, or breastbone, is a long, narrow flat bone that is connected to your rib bones. It forms the section of your rib cage that helps protect your lungs, heart, and major blood vessels. The cartilage that connects your sternum to your ribs is known as the costosternal joint. Sometimes the costosternal joint can become inflamed, causing sternum pain and symptoms that are similar to a heart attack or other heart conditions. This inflammation is called costochondritis.
If you are experiencing sternum pain that is not severe or alarming, visit FastMed Urgent Care. We provide an affordable alternative to the emergency room for non-life-threatening conditions. FastMed has extended hours during the week, and we are even open on weekends and holidays.
Sternum Pain and Costochondritis: What You Should Know
Along with causing pain and tenderness around your sternum, costochondritis usually occurs on the left side of the sternum, affects more than one rib, and worsens with deep breaths or coughs. Costochondritis can be caused by conditions like arthritis, injuries, or joint infections; however, a cause isn’t always known.
To determine whether your sternum pain is caused by costochondritis or something else, FastMed’s healthcare providers will likely ask you about your symptoms and conduct a physical exam. He or she may also order a chest x-ray to help rule out other conditions. Non-life-threatening sternum pain will typically go away on its own with over-the-counter pain relievers, but your doctor may recommend other treatment options like physical therapy and prescription anti-inflammatory drugs.
If your chest pain is sudden or severe, call 9-1-1 or immediately head to the emergency room. It is important to rule out other life-threatening causes, such as a heart attack, before starting treatment for costochondritis.
At FastMed, we understand that pain doesn’t happen on a 9 to 5 schedule, so we are open extended hours to meet your needs. For non-severe cases of sternum pain, visit a FastMed Urgent Care near you.