Breast Bone, Sternal Pain Causes | Painful Burning Sternum Bones


What could cause pain between my breasts? It hurts when I breathe, move my shoulders up, or even to touch it. It is almost unbearable.


Pain between breasts is due to the underlying breast bone. It is also called sternal pain. The breast bone is the flat strong bone in the middle of the chest.

Function of Sternum

Breast bone is an important bone due to its location; it protects the vital organs of the body, such as the heart, the lungs, the esophagus and the air ways.

Second important function is that it connects one end of the ribs, and the shoulder bone i.

e. Clavicle forming a Ribcage.

Causes of Breast Bone Pain

  • Hyperacidity or esophageal reflux can cause burning pain under the breast bone. Some times this sharp pains are mistaken for cardiac pain.
  • Pain in the joints of the sternal bone and the ribs, and the shoulder bone. This is due to the stress while lifting weight, it is also called Costochondritis. The pain is more felt when the shoulders are stretched, or when a person bends.
  • Intercostal Myalgia, it is the pain due to the pectoral muscles and the intercostals muscles, the muscle attached to the ribs.
    These muscles are attached to the sternum, when there is strain to these muscles or if they are stretched like in case of asthma, chronic cough, and other respiratory disorders.
  • Sternum is a strong bone, there is very rare chance of fracture, but some times in accidents like car accidents the sternum can get damaged and give rise to pain. In cardiac surgery the bone is manipulated giving rise to long term pain in some individuals.
  • Cardiac condition like coronary artery disease, angina, and myocardial infarction can give rise to Substernal pain.
  • Respiratory condition like chronic bronchitis, COPD, can be the cause for sternal pain.
  • At times psychogenic pain can also occur where there is palpitation, and burning in the epigastric region.
  • Other cause can be hiatus hernia, excessive belching.

In your case the pain looks to be due to intercostal myalgia, or costochondritis, but if the pain persists or if it is excruciating, a physician advised is necessary to rule out any other serious condition.


  1. SU said:

    I’ve been having burning sensation and pain in between my breast, belching and farting with the pain sometimes felt at my back. What might be causing the uncomfortable feeling? Sometimes this feeling is there for a week.

    December 30, 2012
    • PUP said:

      To answer your question I need some more information. What is your age? It seems you are suffering from hyperacidity and indigestion. You may have to alter your diet. If you are eating too much of spicy and oily food, avoid it completely. Also avoid drinking alcohol and cigarette smoking. Eat a cup of yogurt twice in a day. Eat vegetables and fruits in plenty.

      December 31, 2012
  2. JL said:

    I have severe pain in the upper back between the breast bones. I also have shoulder pain. I have developed acid reflux and gas too. I have been on medications like Nexium for the last 9 years. I will be going for an Endoscopy next month. I have trouble coping with this excruciating pain. I spit up blood clots. I also pain behind my right ear. I think this could be Meniere’s Disease.

    January 22, 2013
    • PUP said:

      Considering you problem since many years and spitting of blood, pain between the breast bones etc, it does not appear to be Meniere’s disease. Your condition should be examined and evaluated in detail. Spitting of blood is not good sign. Follow your health care providers advise. Further detailed tests may be required to come to a conclusion of your ailment.

      January 23, 2013
  3. MR said:

    I am having recurrent pain in my breast associated with soreness on my breast bone to the point that I cannot touch the bone. What do you think is the cause?

    December 15, 2014
    • PUP said:

      The condition that you have described appears to be costochondritis. It is a painful condition affecting the chest wall. It is an inflammation in the cartilage which joins the ribs to breast bone (sternum). The exact cause is not known, but it commonly affects young people. Usually after a period of time, it settles on its own. However, if pain is unbearable, anti inflammatory medication and pain killer for few days may be useful. You should take these medications only after consulting your doctor, because they are known to have side effects.
      You can easy your discomfort at home by applying heat pad, ice fomentation, acupressure and acupuncture, avoidance of exertion exercises etc.

      December 16, 2014

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