The sternum or breast bone refers to the long, flat bone in the center of the chest. It connects to the ribs to form the anterior portion of the rib cage. This means that it functions to protect the lungs, heart, and major blood vessels.
It is one of the largest and longest flat bones in the body. The sternum can be divided into three parts: the manubrium, body, and xiphoid process. It also supports the clavicles and serves as a connecting point for the sternocleidomastoid muscles.
Since the sternum is connected to many other processes, many conditions can cause sternum pain. This article looks at 10 causes of sternum pain.
Cause #1: Heartburn
Heartburn is a condition where there is a burning sensation in the upper central abdomen or central chest. This sternum pain or discomfort may radiate to the jaw, neck, or throat. It is most commonly due to regurgitation of gastric acid from the stomach into the esophagus.
Heartburn usually occurs after eating. Pain is often worse when one bends forward or lies down. In most cases, heartburn resolves on its own without treatment. However, antacids such as calcium carbonate, may help with the symptoms. Other medications such as proton pump inhibitors and H2 receptor antagonists may be beneficial as well.