Popping, Cracking, Clicking Sternum (Breastbone) Rib Joint

A popping or cracking noise emanating from the sternum (breastbone) is usually associated with the joints between the breastbone and ribs. These bones are connected to each other by a length of cartilage (costal cartilage) that extends from the rib and attaches to the sternum.

The cartilage of the first seven ribs articulate with the sternum at the sternocostal joints. These cartilages also articulate with the ribs at the costochondral joints. The clavicle also articulates with the sternum at the sternoclavicular joint although this is less likely to be associated with any audible clicking. The popping or cracking noise may be accompanied by breast bone pain, tenderness and/or joint swelling.

Why do the sternal or rib joints click?

The exact mechanism of popping or cracking of any joint is not known. It may be due to the ‘snapping’ of ligaments or tendons, gas bubbles released from the joint fluid (cavitation) or partial dislocation (sublaxation). At times a grating noise may be heard, like two rough surfaces scraping against each other. This may occur if there is erosion of the bone or joint lining which occurs as a consequence of certain types of arthritis that persist over a long period of time.

Popping joints are not usually considered to be a medical problem unless there is pain, swelling or limited mobility associated with the cracking or clicking. In these cases, inflammation of the joint is likely and the popping noise may settle, along with the pain and swelling, over time or with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

The popping may occur spontaneously but usually occurs with movement like when breathing deeply or stretching the arms wide. The popping may sometimes relieve the pain, if present. In some cases, stress may aggravate the popping sound and breast bone pain.

Popping, cracking, clicking of the breastbone and ribs

Causes of Popping, Cracking Sternum or Ribs

Some of the causes of the clicking of the sternum or rib may include :

  • Trauma. Injury to the chest area, example – assault, falls or car accident injuries where there is impact with the steering wheel.
  • Physical strain. This may be seen in excessive weight lifting (bench pressing) or other activities that put pressure on the chest wall, its muscles and bones. A person who supports their body weight on one hand or elbow over long periods may transfer the weight across the costal cartilage and thereby strain the joint possibly leading to inflammation or sublaxation.
  • Costochondritis is the inflammation of the costal cartilage and usually affects the fourth to sixth ribs. This may be caused by infections, postoperatively (like in cardiothoracic ‘open heart’ surgery) or after repeated minor trauma and/or physical strain. Pain and tenderness is usually present although swelling is not typically evident.
  • Tietze’s syndrome is similar to costochondritis but usually affects the second and third ribs and more commonly occurs in young girls. Apart from pain, there is also detectable swelling. It is usually caused by the repeated minor trauma or physical strain, including persistent coughing or repeated vomiting.
  • Muscle spasm may also cause sublaxation of the joint as the degree of flexibility is limited due to ‘tight’ muscles. This is usually accompanied by chest pain. Refer to the article on Muscle Chest Pain.
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These types of arthritis do not commonly affect these joints or cause clicking but it may be possible in widespread cases of arthritis. Joint degeneration due to chronic arthritis could cause a grating sound.
  • Calcification of the costal cartilage.

Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. By using this website and the comment service you agree to abide by the comment terms and conditions as outlined on this page

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  • towing_trans

    My 8 yr daughter came to me and said mom feel this. she bent her chest over and straightned it and her ribs made a popping noise and you could feel it pop. I am not quite sure what this if anyone knows what it is please let me know. I plan on trying to call her doctor tomarrow. Thank you

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Towing
      It may be Tietze’s syndrome which is more common in young girls. Anyway it is a good idea to take her through to the doctor and let him/her examine your doctor and make a final diagnosis.

  • mikaela

    I’ve been having this problem since about April this year. I don’t recall any injuries that could have started this but my chest gets really tight and I have shortness of breath until i try to breathe in deeply and the popping noise happens. After that I feel fine. I’ve tried telling my parents about it but they think I’m crazy and my doctor has no diagnosis. I had a chest x-ray just last week but everything showed up fine. What’s wrong?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Mikaela

      A bubbling sound during deep breathing may indicate inflammation of the air ways and mucus production or even fluid accumulation in the lung so it is important to differentiate between popping and bubbling. The chest cavity expands upon deep breathing and this popping noise may be related to the cartilages that join the ribs to the breastbone (costal cartilages) or the joints itself. This may not always show up on an x-ray. In young women, Tietze’s syndrome is one of the causes of this. Treatment is not always necessary and it may pass on its own but if the pain is severe or impairing your daily functioning then you may need to be on anti-inflammatory drugs or even corticosteroids. Your doctor will first have to diagnose this condition and then consider appropriate treatment options.

  • braxtonianman

    About a year ago, a friend “attack-hugged” me from behind. When she hugged me, she kinda tackled me at the same time, and her fists hit my sternum. After that, I was in intense pain for a few hours or so. Ever since then, I’ve had my sternum pop quite frequently. Whenever it does, it doesn’t just pop, but it feels like it’s ripping, in a way and is extremely painful. Sometimes it just hurts, and that’s the only way to temporarily relieve the pain. It’s gotten to the point of where it’s even uncomfortable to drive. Could that be a dislocation, and if so, is there anything I can do to at least minimize the symptoms?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Braxtonianman

      Yes, it could be dislocation during these periods but you have to exclude any fracture. This would be extremely painful at the time and may have healed inappropriately. You need to see a doctor and have a chest x-ray. The fact that your symptoms are persisting for such a long period after the incident means that there is some more serious cause. Conservative management may not offer much relief. There is no way of knowing what may be occurring without proper investigation.

  • colinadms

    For the past two years I have had pain on the left side of my chest either just inside my nipple or along the edge of my sternum. It can be … question posted on Swollen Lumps on Chest, Popping Sternal Pain.

  • michelle r

    My chest/sternum has been popping, like when you pop your knuckles, for about 2-3 weeks now. I am 19 and it has made my chest sore now. It pops when i spread my arms or twist and it provides a temporary relief but then it hurts more than before. I haven’t done any heavy lifting or anything so I have no idea what it could be or what I should do. Help?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Michelle

      Costochondritis can arise for a number of reasons even if you have not been doing any weight lifting. Once these cartilages become inflamed and swollen, they may not articulate properly with the joints of the rib on one end and sternum at the other end. This is most often noticed when these joints are put under strain – breathing in deeply or stretching the arms or using the pectoral muscles. While injury and obvious physical strain may be the most common cause, other conditions like large breast and inappropriately fitting brassieres can also put strain on these joints.

      There could be a number of causes and this should be discuss with your doctor who will do the necessary investigations to come to a final diagnosis. Immobilizing the are by limiting movement of the arms and not breathing in deeply will not help if the condition has been persisting for so many weeks. You will need to see a doctor.

  • viarmenta

    A couple years ago I was in a car accident and ever since i’ve had pain in my sternum. The only way this pain goes away is waiting for a popping noise which sometimes takes days. While i wait for the popping i feel pressure on my chest. Can this be corrected by surgery?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Viarmenta

      A lot depends on the condition itself, whether is related to inflamed costal cartilages, dysfunction with the joints, or even fractures of the breastbone or ribs. You will have to see a doctor who will conduct the necessary investigations and decide on the appropriate treatment. Without knowing the exact cause, it will be difficult to say whether surgery will correct this. From what you say, it appears to be costochondritis and surgery is usually not necessary. Anti-inflammatory drugs and a corticosteroid injection may provide some relief. Speak to your doctor.

  • Sarah

    My boyfriend was in a car crash about a year ago. His car was hit by a semi-truck, causing his steering wheel to crush him between it and his seat. He suffered several rib fractures. A year on from this accident he still gets pain in his ribs, especially at night, and quite often he wakes up expressing severe pain for a short while (a minute or so) before suppressing it himself. Although his breathing does not sound as bad as it did for the first few months after his accident anymore, in addition to the pain he can also crack his ribs. I tell him not to because I don’t think it’s good, but he does it a lot regardless. He is very stubborn and refuses to see a doctor (I’d have to drag him). The last doctor gave him a muscle-relaxant to help him, but he doesn’t use it. After doing some research into ribs, I worry that perhaps he has a flail chest or something similar. I don’t think it’s normal that he still suffers from pain a year after the accident. When he wakes up in pain I feel useless, I want to be able to do something to help him. Is there anything you think I could do?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sarah

      At this point, it is unlikely that it is a flail chest. He needs to see a doctor though. There could have been fractures that have not healed properly and the costal cartilages may be inflamed thereby creating a problem when articulating with the rib or sternum. It could also be muscular in origin and this could have been confirmed if he experienced significant relief upon using the muscle relaxant. Your boyfriend should see an orthopedist at this point.If he is an adult and refuses to seek treatment then there is not much you can do. He should be more proactive given the severity of his symptoms. There is little you can do without knowing the exact cause. He needs to be aware that the condition may complicate further and cause significant problems in the long run if he does not seek treatment ASAP.

  • tanner123

    I am starting to get really frustrated. Every time i cough, or laugh, there is a notable and palpable snap or ‘pop’ at my eighth rib, I think. It’s on both sides, but more prevalent on my right. I also have bi-lateral Sterno-clavicular ‘popping’. The left one sounds like a grinding, the one on the right more of a pop, and doesn’t bother me too much. But my obliques and muscles in my diaphragm and abdominal area are really sore and tired. I should probably also say (sorry for all of this!),I also have a labral tear in my right hip. I have pain in my my entire left shoulder that’s gotten progressively worse and consumed my scapula with subluxation and AC. My main question is, can you have some sort of auto-immune disease without swelling of the digits and small bones of the hands, because I’m only 20, and over the past 4 years all I’ve been plagued by random and terrible joint issues in almost all joints, that cant be explained by environmental factors, like excessive weight lighting or trauma. Because for the most part my hands are good, but this abdominal popping is really starting to cause some discomfort.

    thank you,

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Tanner

      Simply, the answer is yes. There are many conditions that can affect the joints and muscles without clearly evident signs like swelling. Before you get ahead of yourself though, speak to a doctor about it. He will do certain autoimmune tests like an ANF, RF and so on. These markers will not be evident in every single patient (sometimes up to 25% may test negative depending on the test) but it is worth having a full range of investigation. You may even find that the cause is not as serious as you may be thinking.

  • pianomaestro89

    I am a 21-year-old non-smoking, 145 pounds 5’9, fairly healthy female. In the past, I have had the occasional seasonal allergies, sinus infections, and bronchitis like any other normal person. The last time I had bronchitis, I coughed so much and so violently that I had severe pain in my right side, so much to where I had to sleep on that side (having pressure applied made the pain go away). When I sat up or stood up, it took great effort to do so, and for about a month I had to reinvent most of my movements. I never went to a doctor, because I figured it would go away as the bronchitis went away, and I figured that since I could still breathe, it probably wasn’t broken, but just strained. Luckily it did. Seeing that I am at a healthy weight, I can feel my ribs fairly well, and between them feeling symmetrical and looking symmetrical, I am not as concerned about my ribs anymore because the pain went away. However, right after my bout of bronchitis, I noticed that sometimes I get a tight feeling in my chest, like I am short of breath, and when I inhale deeply, a single pop sounds from the left side of my sternum right around the 3rd or 4th rib below my collarbone. Even more recently, I have noticed that if I move a certain way, it pops. Occasionally it aches, but the pain goes away if I can get it to pop. Could stress to the lower ribs (particularly the ones right around the bottom of the rib cage) cause problems with the sternum between the sternum and higher ribs, or is this popping coming from somewhere else?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Pianomaestro89

      Prolonged and persistent coughing often causes muscle strain – the intercostal muscles (between the ribs) and accessory respiratory muscles. It would account for the chest pain at the time. However, this should have eased now that the coughing stopped and would not result in the popping.

      Instead the costal cartilages, which connect the end of the ribs to the sternum, may be the problem. They may either be inflamed or the joints between the ribs and cartilage or cartilage and sternum may be the problem. This could account for the popping noise and can be quite painful. They may have been strained at the time time of the coughing although there is possibly some other contributing factor that was pre-existing and the bouts of coughing just pushed it a little further. It is unlikely the rib itself or you would be in severe pain, have noticed swelling and experience difficulty upon breathing.

  • tcherner

    Hi All,

    I played rugby last weekend and my rib popped out of joint. How should I go about recovering from this injury? My rib popping in and out, and it is painful to say the least.

    Todd

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi TCherner

      You need to have a chest x-ray immediately. Do not assume that it popped out. Isolating the exact cause is important. Immobilization, some strapping (done by a physical therapist), anti-inflammatory drugs or even a corticosteroid injection may all be necessary. Your doctor and physical therapist will advise you further.

  • thaxboyd

    20 years ago I crashed skiing and hurt my ribs/sternum area. I never did go to the doctor for it, I just took it easy for a few weeks. Ever since then I experience a very strong pain in my sternum when I slouch or move in a certain way. If I bend backwards and pull my arms back it will pop and the pain will go away. It seems to be really bad for a few days where it goes out with the simplest things. Sometimes it doesn’t pop back and the pain stays. When this happens I am in a tremendous amount of pain and have a hard time doing anything. I have seen my doctor a couple times in the last few years and he seems to thing it is no big deal. He will give me pain meds and has once given me a steroid pack (regimen of steroids) for it. It only ever seems to fix the symptoms for a week or more. Can anything be done to fix this?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Thaxboyd

      Without further investigation like an x-ray or CT scan, it will be difficult to say whether it can be treated. The concern at this point is that the original injury may have healed but not as it should have since you did not seek medical treatment at the time. This means that you could have some permanent defect as a result of the inappropriate healing response. These are just IF’s and you need to see an orthopedic surgeon (orthopedist) and undergo further investigation to identify the extent of the problem. A conclusive diagnosis is necessary in order to decide as to what your treatment options are. If no abnormality can be found, it is may just be isolated to joint laxity and inflammation. It will in that case never heal completely but occasional corticosteroid injections may help to reduce the severity of an episode.

  • venkatasu

    Dear doctor, I am tall thin built and thin chested. Having trivial MVPS. For the past 5 to 6 month I have pain in the sternal angle. Usually my second rib and point of sternal angle looks prominent to the naked eye like other ribs. I too hear popping sounds. I checked with the dr who said nothing to worry. He never commented on this. Pls throw light on the pain which is mostly felt while lying on the bed sidewards. While driving while leaning forward etc. I too have occasional chest pains which is no way connected with movements which dr diagnosed as GERD or due to MVPS. I want to know about that sternal angle pain and prominence.

    • Dr. Chris

      Venkatasu

      If there has been no history of trauma, nutrient deficiencies and so on, this prominence of the sternal angle may be normal and just more obvious since you are thin. It could also be related to inflammation of the joint in this area (swelling) and may also explain the pain and popping sound. You can read more about this under Costchondritis and Breastbone Pain. You should speak to an orthopedic specialist about this. In terms of the pain and given your history, it is possible that this is related to your mitral valve prolapse, and the condition may be progressing. Hopefully you are consulting with a cardiologist.

  • martybspace

    Bottom right 5 ribs were broken 20 years ago and healed fine. Bottom rib occasionally and painlessly pops or shifts. This can be felt with my hand easily.
    Have developed pain on right side where ribs end; and no indications of spleen,liver or pancreas trouble with blood tests and cat scan.
    Can this be a sort of “flail Chest syndrome”?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Martbspace

      Unlikely. Rather it seems related to the costochondral joint – this is the flexible area between the ribs and breast bone occupied by costal cartilages. You should see a doctor just to verify this.

  • BobbyV

    Hello Dr. Chris,

    My chest does this popping/cracking sound and its always confused me as to the cause. I don’t recall having any stress placed on my ribs or sternum that would cause this inflammation. I’ve had this issue for a little over a year and the last 4-5 months its gotten more and more addictive. The pressure builds up so much I just want to pop it and no matter which way I try it wont pop, it usually happens randomly during a stretch or if I turn quickly. It also only happens on the left side of my sternum ( when I turn and stretch to my right).My question is how long does this normally last? If I begin taking anti-inflammatory medicine will it subside or be gone forever? I feel the pressure building and building every day and when it pops it feels better and better, just dont know how long this will be the case.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi BobbyV

      There is no way of telling you how long it will last or if anti-inflammatories will help without knowing the exact diagnosis. You need to see a doctor who can examine you and possibly run other investigations like an x-ray. Your doctor will then be able to advise you on the best course of treatment and prognosis. From what you describe, it seems quite likely that this is costochondritis. In severe cases, you may even need corticosteroids or steroid injections. You can read more about this condition in this article on What is Costochondritis?. Treatment is discussed under Severe Costochondritis. Of course you have to see a doctor who will then diagnose you.

  • harish

    Hello Doctor,
    I am hearing a popping or bubbling sound from sternum(breast bone) joint in middle of my chest. I am able to reproduce this sound if i can put by chest in a particular position and if i twist my body to a little right. I am feeling a little pain, but sometimes i am also feel burning there.
    I am thin and tall, having no health problems, am vegetarian and have no bad habits(smoke, drink).
    Please tell me whether this is a serious issue or because of being thin.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Harish

      There is no way of telling you if this is a serious condition just based on the symptoms you report. You may be missing other key clinical features which is why you have to speak to a doctor who will also consider further investigations. This sounds like costochondritis and you can read more in this article : What is costochondritis? You do however need to see a doctor to exclude other serious conditions.

  • xtremx

    I am 39 year old male 203pounds, have been having chest pains for over a year now but the doctor has put this down to costochondritis and gerd have had a few ecgs and a stress-test also an x-ray of the neck (cervical rib)but all cameback fine have aslo had the normal bloods done and that showed a very slightly high esr level (as was having splinter hemorages on finger nails but they have cleared up now) but that has gone down to normal now,but over the last few months or so have have noticed large visable veins leading from my shoulder to my breast/heart area left side they are not bulging just very visable,also seem to have discomfet in my left shoulder/arm and sometimes pins/needles in my little finger/ring finger could this be heart related as my doctor has just said not to worry.also my blood pressure does vary a bit sometimes upto 140/90 but the doc tells me that is fine, Aswell as that my chest/sterum has started to crack sometimes when i move or i have to crack it myself by moving from side to side (but sometimes that does not help and it seems as if my chest/sterum locks up for a while and i cannot move.
    + also seen to get stressed easy and sometimes my chest begins to ache then.

    • Dr. Chris

      Xtremx,

      Your question has been answered on Health Hype Answers. Click here to read more on Chest Pain, GERD, Sternum Pain

  • Ramon Bonilla

    Ok im a 24 yr old male about 6’0 135 and right in the middle of my cheast it feels like its sinks in and dont feel right until i streach my arms to the back and it pops can you tell me whats wrong?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Ramon Bonilla

      You may be describing pectus excavatum which is a chest wall deformity also known as funnel chest. This is present from childhood and presents with pain and so on. Not much can be done except for surgery and so on. However, if it has arisen more recently, then it could be conditions like costochondritis and if it is ongoing, you may be doing something that is putting pressure on the costochondral joints. This can be treated and depending on the severity, it may require anti-inflammatory drugs or even corticosteroid injections. See your doctor as soon as possible.

  • zhyke

    can you help me about cracking sound on my chest and every 20 -30 minutes to crack again . when im looking on mirror it seems some deformity on my chest . can you helop me about this ??

    thanks

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Zhyke

      You have to see a doctor about this who can assess you, conduct further investigation and reach a diagnosis. There are various deformities of the chest wall so it is difficult to understand what you may mean with so little information – it could be a deformity tin the entire shape of the chest or abnormalities noted on teh chest wall itself. This popping may be a symptom of costochondritis where the costal cartilages (between the rib and breastbone) are inflamed and the popping causes by the disrupted joint movement. Your doctor will be able to advise you further.

  • Tyler l

    Hi dr.Chris,

    I am an athletic 20 year old male. Back in march I was diagnosed with functional dyspepsia due to stress, and had severe heart burn and was on losec for two months. At the same time I herniated a disc in my lower back from a Sudden twisting motion. I could not exercise or even walk very much for 2 months. This caused some deconditioning. Whenever possible, I would use my arms to support myself and take the weight off my back.

    In June I had bent backwards to stretch my abdominal muscles after sitting at the pc for several hours in a forward posture and using my elbows to support my weight to relieve my back, and suddenly I popped my sternum. It was very loud and pain shot down from the center of my sternum from my collarbone down to my lower ribs, Immediately i could not bend down even to tie my shoes. After 1 week of sternum pain and shortness of breath, the symptoms disappeared and I carelessly reinjured it trying to pull open heavy doors, this caused another week of shortness of breath like my lungs cannot expand. Two weeks after, symptoms disappeared and I had hurt it yet again doing some heavy lifting. I’ve reinjured it 5 times by my count, the last time in July and took 3 months for the intense stabbing gnawing pain to subside to the point where I have enough lung capacity to carry a casual conversation and for me to be able to touch my sternum lightly without agony. It’s now been 6 months since the initial injury and 5 since the most recent injury.

    I still have difficulty breathing, expanding my chest fully to yawn, speaking for extended periods of time or going on a long slow walk causes shortness of breath. Sneezing causes a cracking or popping sound in my chest, I have to hold my chest with one hand to sneeze. Raising my arms to wash my hair and brush my teeth causes discomfort or if for a long time, also causes shortness of breath. My ribs are always sore to the touch and ache but only if I press to examine. If I press on my sternum I will be short of breath and in pain, although not as severe. I also had back, neck and shoulder and shoulder blade pain after the 5th time I had reinjured it back in July. I could not Even turn in bed And i had to lie down very carefully because of the sternum pain, lyjng down too fast would cause a surge of pain back in august.These symptoms have subsided.

    I did 2 weeks of Tylenol extra in July, after the 5th reinjury, I also rested and did not use my arms other than absolutely necessary.

    Question: after repeated chest X-rays, multiple MRI’s from my lumbar to upper thoracic spine, a ct scan of my lungs, blood and urine tests, and even a brain MRI for some reason, every doctor has assured me that I am fine and in no life threatening danger and should take more Tylenol, but left it at that without a solid diagnosis…. I become short of breath when sitting at a computer for 20 minutes or more, or when reading, I have adopted a forward posture (hunch back) to protect my chest because standing erect with my chest forward hurts, and every morning I wake up with ribs and collar bone pain which goes away in time. WHAT exactly do I have, even if it isn’t life threatening, and how do I treat it??? I have missed half a year of school, what can I do to become functional again??? Will the shortness of breath from conversation or activity completely improve in time or is this as good as it can get? There are improvements in my condition, but how do I know if my condition becomes chronic and I’ll not be able to get back to weight training, or if it is still acute but taking a long time to completely heal? I have lost 30 pounds in muscle from adapting a very careful lifestyle and resting as much as possible for the past 8 months including from the sciatica which has completely gone away. Can I go back to school in January?

  • Gabriel Jae Gideon

    Hello. I am noticing that whenever I lay on my right side (I can only sleep on my right side due to back pain and abdominal issues) or sit in a side-saddle position leaning towards the right, and then sit up, I have a very loud audible POP, sharp pain and it feels like the wind is knocked out of me. Usually when I first sit up my chest feels quite tight and then either I turn my left shoulder back and turn slightly to the left side and that causes the pop. However, if I do not relieve the pressure and make the pop happen, I have trouble breathing and the pain intensifies greatly. This has been happening regularly a few times every day for over 5 years now and I just want to know if it sounds like something I should have checked out. I don’t have insurance nor do I have income so if I’m going to see a Doctor I want to make sure its important before I go.

    • Hi Gabriel. It is difficult to say just how important or serious this matter is through an online platform. The fact that there is significant pain with tightness of the chest and difficulty breathing already makes it very serious. This means it needs to be assessed by a doctor.

      The fact is that people who have conditions like costochondritis and Tietze’s syndrome don’t often have the symptoms as severely as you describe. And tightness of the chest is not as prominent as you are experiencing, if at all present. So this definitely needs to be seen by a doctor. It may not be just one condition at play here. Since has been happening on a daily basis for 5 years without medical attention could mean that complications may arise which could be untreatable.

      See your doctor ASAP.

    • Ritesh Malpani

      Hi Gabriel,
      what did you do about this. I have exact same symptoms and experienced it for short duration – 6-8 months break and now for a month it is the same behaviour.

      Advise please.

  • James

    Pain in sternum, which increases if I tilt my head back and arms out.. Sternum hurts more when I sneeze and pops usually when I to sneeze. any ideas?

    • Hi James. This sounds a lot like a problem with the costal cartilages which lie between the ends of the rib and sternum. Costochondritis is one possibility and you can read more about this condition here – http://www.healthhype.com/what-is-costochondritis-pain-in-rib-sternum-area.html
      There is also a joint between the top part of the sternum (manubrium) and the longer body part. It can sometimes become dislocated with trauma to the sternum and may account for some of these symptoms. This is a less likely cause.

    • James you posted “Pain in sternum, which increases if I tilt my head back and arms out.. Sternum hurts more when I sneeze and pops usually when I to sneeze. any ideas? ”
      i figured i quote this in case ur reading this on a forum not related to this post. anyways, i have this EXACT same issue to a T. i also noticed if i were to try and flex my chest, i notice the pain. im pretty sure this is from me lifting weights and have been dealing and working through this pain for over a year now. and sometimes i can stretch a certain way and make it pop or crack, just like someone would crack their knuckles, asnd it’s almost a relieving feeling. and for the sneezing, definitely. most times i feel a nice pop and again, almost a relief feeling. anyways it’s quite anooying and bothersome, ive had x rays but they didnt find anything. no real way so far to fix this or make it better, so im just curious, how is urs going? any updates u can tell me about this? would love to know, as im almost at the point where im just accepting this is going to be the way it is for me, unless maybe i decided to take a long time off the weights, which i just cant stand the thought of doing

      • Hi Some_Guy. Have you ever tried anti-inflammatory drugs for a period of 5 days or more and seen an improvement in the condition? What may seen like a dislocation of the costal cartilages (the cartilage that connects the end of the ribs to the sternum) can in fact be inflammation. This causes the costal cartilages to swell and lose the somewhat normal snug fit. Moving, stretching and sneezing may cause it to “slip” back into position.

        • hmmmm no i havent but i will look into that ty!!! is there one i can buy over the counter that you recommend or would i need to see a doctor?

          • It is not advisable to self medicate without first consulting with a doctor. This condition has been going on for a while from what you say and self-medicating at this point may just mask aspects of the condition that can complicate the diagnosis. However, you may speak to a pharmacist.

  • Shylu

    Hello
    My dad had an accident ..fall from motorbike. He is complaining of paon and some clicking sound when he breaths and he says pain while breathing and eating..also having secretions formed in his chest … But he culdnt able to even cough out the sputum aswell……is the have any issue with his ribss.. M so worried..please reply me..x- ray reviewed by doctor he said no frracture…..please reply

    • Hi Shylu. He has to see a doctor again. While the initial assessment of a motor vehicle accident will focus on broken bones, concussions, etc, a more intensive medical investigation may be needed thereafter if there are ongoing symptoms. Pain when breathing and eating are serious symptoms. While it may just be severe bruising and some muscle spasm following the injury, a medical doctor has to assess him and exclude other serious conditions.

  • Samer Baqaeen

    Hello Doctor,

    I am 16 years old, my height is 5’11, I weigh 155 lbs. Well, I have a healthy and athletic body. Apparently, I am not suffering from any significant illness or disorders.

    But I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more about joint cracking, because I can get the popping noises by stretching any part of my body every 20-30 minutes (ex. Spine(Neck&Back), knees, ankles, feet, fingers, sternum). Is this normal? Should I stop it or do it less frequently? Will it affect my body, especially if I am involved in serious sport contests?

    And by the way, I have also two other issues relating to joint popping. First, two years ago when I used to play basketball a lot, I used to suffer from Injuries to the proximal interphalangeal joint, most of them were slight injuries and I used to recover in a few days or a week, maximum a month. But eventually I received a very intensive blow to my middle finger, and my proximal interphalangeal joint was injured severely(almost dislocated)(to be more precise the basketball hit my middle finger in a way which hyperextended both the DIP and PIP joints) , it was bruised and swollen for months, I suffered from incessant sharp pain and stiffness in finger movement throughout that period. After approximately a year the pain and stiffness lessened significantly(became dull pain). But now (2 years later) my finger looks normal, no deformation or dislocation or any bruises or swells. What seems to be the issue is that whenever I do some serious work (especially in sports) that puts some decent pressure on fingers I get very dull pain in that exact same place( it happens to that finger only) that last for a few minutes. Not only that but I can pop that joint infinite amount of time, I can keep popping it for hours or days nonstop (endless popping), very strange!

    Secondly, 2 years ago also, while I was playing football (at that time I was not stretched or warmed up) I had an unexpected blow to the face which I managed somehow to dodge by leaning extremely backwards, after that I got serious acute pain in one of my L vertebrae (lower back) in my spine. After about one year the sharp pain turned into dull ache, 2 year after (which is now), in normal standing/sitting position no pain is noticed, but as I lean backwards I start to feel some slight dull pain in that vertebra ( and around it) and if I lean more and more the dull pain turns into sharp, all vertebra seem to pop when I stretch them, but I feel pain while leaning and popping the injured one.
    What are your comments, thoughts, explanations, recommendations, tips about those two injuries I had?

    Thank you very much for your time,
    Best regards

    • Sameer, we would appreciate shorter comments and questions. This platform is intended to serve as a quick guide for users. It is not to diagnose conditions. I would suggest that you see an orthopedist for all your concerns or a sports physician if one is available in your country. Popping of the joints is not necessarily a problem if the there is no joint pain, swelling or stiffness present. You may want to read up on joint cavitations and ligament snapping since you seem familiar with some aspects of medicine.

      • Samer Baqaeen

        Thank you for replying, I am sorry for that. Actually we don’t have sports physicians in my country, and not many orthopedists around, which even dont give good recommendations as well as cant answer some questions. Thats why I had to ask you for help. I will read that, thanks again!

        • Hi Sameer. There are several orthopedists, also known as orthopedic surgeons, in your country especially in the city of Amman. You may want to Google it. Also speak to a physical therapist (also known as phyiostherapist) who may be able to refer you to a sports medicine physician or clinic in the area. Unfortunately government clinics/hospitals are not always as thorough in cases that are not life-threatening. You may want to consult with a private doctor.

  • Samer Baqaeen

    Hello Doctor,

    I am 16 years old, my height is 5’11, I weigh 155 lbs. Well, I have a healthy and athletic body. Apparently, I am not suffering from any significant illness or disorders.
    But I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more about joint cracking, because I can get the popping noises by stretching any part of my body every 20-30 minutes (ex. Spine(Neck&Back), knees, ankles, feet, fingers, sternum). Is this normal? Should I stop it or do it less frequently? Will it affect my body, especially if I am involved in serious sport contests?

    And by the way, I have also two other issues relating to joint popping. First, two years ago when I used to play basketball a lot, I used to suffer from Injuries to the proximal interphalangeal joint, most of them were small injuries and I used to recover in a few days or a week, maximum a month. But eventually I received a very intensive blow to my middle finger, and my proximal interphalangeal joint was injured severely(almost dislocated)(to be more precise the basketball hit my middle finger in a way which hyper-extended both the DIP and PIP joints) , the PIP joint was bruised and swollen for months, I suffered from incessant excruciating pain and stiffness in joint movement throughout that period. After approximately a year the pain and stiffness lessened significantly (became dull pain). But now (2 years later) my finger looks normal, no deformation, dislocation or any bruises or swells. What seems to be the issue is that whenever I do some serious work (especially in sports) that puts some decent pressure on fingers(and stresses that part which was injured) I get very dull pain in that exact same place( it happens to that finger only) that last for a few minutes. Not only that but I can pop that joint infinite amount of times, I can keep popping it for hours one after another without break (endless popping), strange!

    Secondly, also 2 years ago , while I was playing football (at that time I was not stretched or warmed up) I had an unexpected blow to the face which I managed somehow to dodge by leaning extremely backwards, after that I got serious acute pain in one of my L vertebrae (lower back) in my spine. After about one year the sharp pain turned into dull ache, 2 years after (which is now), in normal standing/sitting position no pain is felt, but as I lean backwards I start to feel some slight dull pain in that vertebra (and around it) and if I lean more and more the dull pain turns into mild pain, all vertebra seem to pop normally when I stretch them, but I feel some mild pain while leaning and popping the injured one. And by the way, I think that I got slight anterior pelvic tilt that makes my back bend backwardly a bit at that vertebra, I am not quite sure about that but when I stand straight(while maintaining correct posture) it is hardly noticeable. When I relax , it becomes a bit more noticeable. Nonetheless, not really sure if its the normal spine bend or not.

    What are your comments, thoughts, explanations, recommendations, tips about those two injuries I had?

    Thank you very much for your time,
    Best regards

  • Nigel Coutinho

    I get the same cracking sound. I workout. It pains while bending forward. Stretching backward. Please suggest how do I get rid or how do I treat it

    • Hi Nigel. You should have it checked to verify that it is costochondritis or other such conditions. The treatment will depend on the diagnosis. Resting the area, anti-inflammatory drugs and even corticosteroids may be necessary. Your doctor will advise you accordingly once the diagnosis is confirmed.

  • Cheebs

    While pregnant with my 1st child 4 yrs ago she was rather long and strong and did quite the number on my rib cage, left hand side. Ever since having her when doing simple tasks like bending over while sitting on my bed to pull on socks I’ve had this ‘lump’, which I assumed was a piece of my rib, POP out of place and get stuck right in the middle of my chest just above the bottom of my sternum .

    This happens whenever I strain a little, not a lot, only a little usually in a bent position will cause this. What I have to do to remedy it is slowly straighten up into an upright position while pushing the lump back into place. All the while there’s either some pain/discomfort, not extreme but certainly present and definitely some panic on my part.

    My doctor didn’t seem too concerned about it.. but I am. Is there cause to be alarmed? I’m now pregnant with our 2nd and do not want to be in any risk.

    • Hi Cheebs. It is unlikely that this will be a problem for your pregnancy. It is also unlikely that this is a rib. Slight dislocations are usually painful and do not as easily slip out or return to position as you describe. You should speak to your doctor about it further as this appears to be a hernia. While it may not immediately be a problem, it has to be monitored so that it can be repaired in the future if necessary.

  • Mike

    Well, my breastbone/sternum occasionally seems to pop (sort of like when ‘cracking’ your knuckles). However, today, it seemed to pop out of place and became very painful. I took some advil and sat down for a little bit. I just got up and jumped up and down several times, wiggled around, and it seems like perhaps the ‘joints’ might have snapped back into place

    • Hi Mike. It is worth seeing a doctor about this to assess for conditions like costochondritis. While it is not a serious condition, it can lead to the discomfort that you have described and sometimes be very painful. The medication that you took may not be sufficient to treat the condition and your doctor may prescribe something stronger.

  • charliejc

    Hi,
    I’ve got what feel like quite a serious problem in my neck, right shoulder and ribs across my whole upper back and chest. I have a constant hot/sharp pain in my neck/shoulder on the right side, and in the middle of my upper neck, which is exacerbated by lying down and then causes my neck to spasm (which is v painful) and seems like it slightly sticks out/becomes inflamed on the right side. This then causes my ribs/rib muscle (m. teres minor/major, mm. intercostales externi, m. serratus anterior & m. pectorallis are areas that feel painful) to become excruciatingly painful when i’m lying down, I have to be very carful lying down and can only do so on my left side without to much pain and fear of making it much worse, although can still feel the pressure on my ribs, sleeping is unnerving and painful if i can sleep at all!

    It feels almost like my ribs are being pulled apart and my neck/spine constantly click when i straighten my back. I also get pain in my sternum but the pain seems to be moving about.
    Any ideas what this might be or how to fix it? Have seen an osteopath, physio & chiropractor and none have solved my problem.
    I was hit hard in my sternum about 5-6 years ago which may be affecting this all now….not too sure??
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi charliejc. Your symptoms seem quite extensive and at this point you should be consulting with an orthopedist/orthopedic specialist. While it could be associated with common conditions like extensive neck and back muscle spasm, there may also be more chronic and serious underlying conditions. Given the long term for which it has existed and no development of further symptoms, it could be purely a problem with posture and physical activity. But there is also a possibility of conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis and so on. It would require further investigation in the way of x-rays, MRI scans and other tests before a diagnosis can be reached. Spasm alone is difficult to diagnose as it is present in so many conditions. A face-to-face consultation with a medical specialist is therefore necessary.

  • heidi harmon

    Hi my mame is Heidi and I went to a heavy metal concert on Oct 21st 2014 it was five finger death punch volbeat and hellyeah …there was a crowd suffer that was dropped on my back I was up front I bent over for the security staff to catch him and they failed to instead they dropped him or her I was bent over a metal gate like fence type and when that happened all my air was forced out of my lungs and I heard and felt two loud pops and I couldn’t breath and now its getting worse I feel pressure on my heart and lungs I can’t sit up lay down everything I do hurts I’m in tons of pain ….I’m scared I’m alone and a truck driver over the rd long haul I have no home no one to help me …what do I do??

    • Hi Heidi. It seems you could have sustained chest wall injury and it is possible that you may still have symptoms considering that the event way just over a week ago. This is relatively recent so symptoms at this point would still be expected. It could be conditions like costochondritis or Tietze’s syndrome (slipping rib syndrome) but of even greater concern at this point is whether you sustained a fracture to one or more of your ribs, your breastbone or even collarbone. There is no way of saying without further investigation. You need to see your doctor ASAP.

  • jess

    Just like when you crack your knuckles or back or whatever.

    Been going on for a couple of months. Leaned back in a chair and felt a crack or pop in my sternum. It felt good and I’ve felt the need to do it again whenever I feel a bit of tightness in my sternum.

    Now I can just do it by spreading arms and expanding the chest cavity. is this normal?

    I started doing weight lifting about 2 months ago. I do upper body and lower body twice a week usually with friday saturday and sunday off from lifting?
    what is causing this popoing?

    • Hi Jess. It may be costochondritis or Tietze syndrome. You may want to read up more on slipping rib syndrome. The problem could be due to inflammation of the costal cartilages that connect the ends of the ribs to the breastbone (sternum). It can also be due to stretching or weakening of ligaments in the areas, which normally holds the relevant structures in place. You should speak to a doctor and consider all the options for treating this. You will first require further investigations like a x-ray.

  • Jorgen

    Hi!

    I am a young male, 23 years old. I recently started noticing audible sounds from the middle of my chest, as I try to stretch my shoulder and arms backwards. I have very small amounts of pain before doing so. It sounds like when someone is “cracking your back”, or “cracking fingers”. The amounts of pain are very small, but I want to deal with any difficulties so it doesn’t get worse.

    Background info: I work out regularly to stay fit, and I eat somewhat healthy food. I fear i might have gotten this “cracking” in the aftermath of a work out session? But I can not recall to have experienced a blow to my chest, or anything of the sort. when I benchpress in the gym, I don’t feel any pain.

    Should I just wait it out, and have the body heal itself, or is there something else that should be done in addition?

    Thank you

    • Hi Jorgen. As you may notice from the comment below where the commenter has a very similar problem to you, this may be costochrondritis or Tietze’s sydnrome (also slipping rib syndrome). Strenuous workouts involving extreme weight lifting can be responsible for this condition. However, you should see a doctor to confirm that it is indeed costochondritis or Tietze’s syndrome. Your doctor will be able to advise you further on a course of treatment.

  • kelly

    I am having right now pain in sternum and surrounding middle area and popping similar problems a week ago er test showed normal not sure what to do I’m worried in bed not for sure if my edit went through but I also have asthma

    • Hi Kelly. We only received this message and the one above about your pain getting worse. Chest pain should always be taken seriously although the cause is not always serious. First you need to conclusively identify the cause of the pain and this means that you have to seek help despite being afraid to do so. Delaying can lead to complications and may even lead to life-threatening situations, depending on underlying cause. While this could be a chest wall problem or a condition like slipping rib syndrome which is not life threatening, there is no way of knowing for sure until a doctor assess you. Speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

  • kelly

    Things are getting worse pain wise gonna have to stay in bed I’m afraid to seek help

  • Jevon Ackland

    Hi, I can feel a crack down the middle of my sternum and when i stand up and stretch it makes a click noise,it is a little painful when it happens. Is this normal?

    • Hi Jevon. Cracks cannot be felt unless there is an actual break in which case you would be in significant pain. There are many notches on the sternum which is part of its normal anatomy. The clicking noise is more likely from the joints between the ribs and sternum. Occasional clicking may not be considered abnormal but if it happens often and when there is pain then it needs to be investigated further. It may be a condition like costochondritis or Tietze syndrome. Speak to your doctor. Further investigations may be necessary.

  • So thats what it is. I was always curious to why my chest cracked when I stretched my arms wide. It only hurts for a bit after that but I forget about it til I crack it again. Breathing wont make it hurt, but any kind of flexing of the muscle under a load will make it hurt a little. It might of been from when I cracked a rib working on my truck, I put my chest against the fender and used my body as an anchor to torque down some bolts, and I felt a crack and heard a pop. For 3 months I had a sore rib. Been like that since last year when I did it.

    • Hi Last. A broken rib is very painful. While it could be a fracture this sounds more like costochondritis or possibly even a temporarily dislocation. You may also want to read up on slipping rib syndrome. It may be related to your previous fractured rib or to the precipitating incident. It is difficult to say through an online platform and you should go back to your doctor to have it assessed further.

  • E Val

    So I have read several dozen of the comments and a lot of what people are describing is happening to me. The popping and cracking when I stretch etc. My situation differs slightly in that I need to do it every 3 or 4 minutes otherwise I feel like I’m going to freak out. The severity of the tightness and pain in my chest if I don’t “crack it” is more than I can handle sometimes. And when I do, it’s such a relief and i can relax until the next time I feel the need. It’s so bad that I’ve had people ask me if I have tourettes syndrome because of my shiftyness and “ticks”. I’ve even gone to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack due to the tightness in my chest. I’ve mentioned it to my doctor but he didn’t seem too worried. However it is starting to dominate my life. I can’t even sit still for more than a few minutes at a time. I am 33 years old, don’t have any medical issues, take no medication, and am in good shape. Sorry about the length of this but it’s something I’ve wondered about for years. Thanks.

    • Hi EVal. Usually these conditions are not too much of a concern if there is not significant pain. However, if it is affecting your life then you definitely need to see an orthopedist (orthopedic specialist) who can assess your condition, conduct further investigations if necessary and then make a diagnosis. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis. It is also important to differentiate between repetitive stretching that may have become more a force of habit rather than being necessary. Your doctor will advise you further.

  • Moedebeski

    Hello
    Im a 26 years old guy height 174 cm , weight 85 kg
    I had experiensed discomfort in the sternum erea. And when i strech my hands i hear a crack and i feel fine without pain
    I never saw a doctor for it bcos it happened like once a month and it did for years, but trough time the discomfort became a bit painful and so does the crack , and it became more frequent that it hurt my breathing , now days i feel discomfort but i strech and nothing cracks , and when i take a strong enhale i feel a little pain , i saw a doctor he told me u r fine nothing to worry about but health care is the worst in my country and the doctors honostly a shame , is there something i can do , is it a weight problem because i recently gaind some weight ,

    btw i used to workout before this started and did some hard chest pressing but that was years ago , i have no health problems .

    • Hi Moedebski. From what you are describing, it does not seem to be serious because the same symptom has persisted for so long with no other symptoms arising. Your weight gain is unlikely to be an issue unless there has been a change in your posture with the extra weight. As you would read from the article above, conditions like costochondritis may cause this cracking sound and discomfort. There are various possible causes but sometimes the exact cause is unknown. You may want to speak to a physical therapist at this point about possible exercises that could help, as well improving your posture if necessary. Many people who do develop costochondritis find that they are unknowingly placing stress on the chest bones by placing all their body weight on one hand or weight lifting and so on. Remember that the force on the hands is also transmitted across the chest bones. A physical therapist will be able to advise you further.

  • EazyTheKiing

    Hi, my name is daron. I was sitting in my chair and i kinda tried to bring my face to my thighs. Like hunch over. And i heard a pop as if i was popping my knuckles on the left side of my body. And now when i bend over i feel pain on my left side. Please help me.

    • Hi EazyTheKiing. If you are not physically conditioned to do these types of positions as you described then you could have strained the muscles, tendons, ligaments or joints. Pain and tenderness can persist for days or weeks thereafter, particularly when doing a similar move. While these types of soft tissue injuries are not uncommon, it is always advisable to seek medical advice. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication to relieve the symptoms until the area heals or may diagnose a more serious underlying condition that needs attention.

      • EazyTheKiing

        thank you much!

  • Anarhija Je Sloboda

    Hmmm,not quite what I was looking for, I’m trying to figure out why my heart doctors look at me funny when i talk about popping my sternum in the same way I pop nearly every other joint. i don’t get pain from popping the sternum, I get pain and pressure from NOT popping it. Popping it makes the ache go away for a good while, at least a day, sometimes a week, but longer than that and I start twisting around trying to get it to pop manually. the difficulty is that in order to really do it right I need something to hold my lower back in place so it doesn’t just bend with my upper back. Same thing applies to cracking my lower back, except there it’s that I need my pelvis to remain still while I twist left and right. Since i no longer regularly sit in school desks this is really difficult now.

    • Hi Chaos. This is not an uncommon condition. You may want to read more on costochondritis, Tietze syndrome or slipping rib syndrome. It is strange that your doctors have not mentioned these conditions to you. None of them are serious and are not related to the heart in any way. However, even if there is no pain it is worth having it checked up further.

    • ElinuNoArcher

      Dude do you still have that problem? I feel like i have the same problem as you becuase i start to feel pressure and a little bit of pain until i pop it then it will go away but it doesnt last as long as yours and it comes back like really quickly…( next day or even hrs ) I went to the hospital plenty of times already (about 6 times).

      • DarkQTR

        This is exactly what I have. It has been around for like 5 months or so.. I started to put some theories and here what I “think” is causing the problem.
        When I get this unpleasant feeling in my chest and I pop it.. it goes away for the rest of the day.. until I wake up for the next day and I start feeling it again

        I think it’s all about how you sleep (on your belly or back), the height of the pillow(s) and how cold your room is (If you got an A/C working or somethin’)… it may sounds silly…. but if you noticed that as well, one of these factors is causing the problem.

        I’m a 22 soccer player, being active all week didn’t solve a thing.

      • Guy Daniel

        This happens to me constantly

        • ElinuNoArcher

          For me the pain have gone almost completely and also the problem with the chest cracking… this was all after going with a chiropractor. It seems it was related with the down part of my back. Now i still feel a little bit of pressure on my chest but it is nothing compared to how it was 4 months ago.

  • Thea

    Hi I got kicked by a horse in the lower left of my back and ever since I have heard a cracking/popping noise in the left of my chest when I’m lying down. It also is quite painful and hurts more when I breathe deeply. Thanks

    • Hi Thea. Hopefully you had been to a doctor at the time of this injury and had the necessary medical investigations like an x-ray. If not then you need to do so immediately. This popping is most likely arising from the joints of the ribs (either where it meets the sternum or the vertebrae). It is difficult to say for sure but hopefully any fracture of the ribs has been excluded at the time of the injury.

  • Fritz Wickert

    Other day I leaned over the footboard of my bed , to reach for something in a box. I stretched too far , and heard 2 fast popping sounds. Breathing is not painful , no funny discharge or anything , but it usually hurts when I am upright and the i twist to either side. From where the pain is , I’m guessing it’s on my bottom 2 ribs right where the cartilage connects them to my sternum. It is 3 days now , it’s getting better , but slowly , as moving to bathroom and so on aggravates it. I find I get the best sleep in a semi upright position

    • Hi Fritz. This could be a popping from the joints between the ribs and sternum. However, if you have no pain on the chest wall then you also have to consider the possibility that the sound may have arisen from the upper spine. Overall from what you say it does not seem to be very serious. If it does not continue to improve and go away on its own then you need to see a doctor. It is always advisable to seek medical attention immediately if you are concerned, even though your symptoms may not very severe.

  • Genesis

    Hello I am a 18 year old female and I am very concern with the popping sensation right under my breast in between the middle. it started a couple years ago, probably like 3 or 4 years ago.. it first happened when I went to sit down, and it felt weird. It comes for a bit but then goes away for a while. when it pops, it does hurt a little. Now every time I lie down on my side, I get that feeling that it wants to pop but it doesn’t, and its really uncomfortable. Its like pressure right at that spot, when I lie down on my stomach, the feeling goes away, so every night I’ve been finding myself sleeping on my stomach to get rid of that feeling of needing to pop.. should I be worried about this and go to the doctors? I really hate going to the doctors so if its not that serious I don’t want to go.

    Three days later update:

    The feeling of it wanting to pop has gone away but now I have this horrible sharp pain on my left upper rib that expands into my breast as well. it hurts to take a deep breath and to move my left arm, it kind of felt like a cramp as well, it happened in the morning when I got up and now as I’m lying down at night, I can feel the sharp pains coming again.

    • Hi Genesis. You may want to read up on Tietze’s syndrome and slipping rib syndrome. The popping sensation and sound is somewhat common in your age group.However, this does not mean that it should not be checked up by a doctor. The appearance of these sharp pains and pain with deep breathing is worrying and now you definitely should be consulting with a doctor. Most people do not like seeing a doctor 🙂 but by delaying medical attention the complications could be serious and even more difficult to treat.

  • Milly

    Can you help me I’m only 12,and my chest pops and hurts,it has never cracked it just pop. It has been hurting for all my life so 12 years. Whenever it hurt I can’t move because I’m only 12-the pain is unbearable! I can’t move, and when I breath it hurts sooooo much. So I usually have to sit in one position for about 10- 1hour. I usually take Advil but it dosnt work. The worst thing is its starting to last longer,and occur more! Pls help, and is this a bad thing since I’m so young? Thx

    • Hi Milly. It is important that you speak to a parent or caregiver about this pain and have it checked by a doctor. It may be a condition like Tietze’s syndrome which is common in your age group but it is difficult to say for sure. It could even be an internal problem with your airways or lung. For this reason it is important that you see a doctor and not just mask your symptoms with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. By delaying medical attention you could make the situation worse.

    • janeydot

      I think you need to go and see a doctor, honey. Please don’t worry about it all alone. Have you a parent or teacher you can talk to, or an extra good friend or sibling? I have exactly the same symptoms as you (but I’m quite a bit older!) and it is a lot worse at bedtime so I have to half sit up.
      Please don’t worry about seeing a doctor or a nurse. if you see a doctor they might not be able to tell you what it is, but they can definitely try and help make the pain go away; but if you don’t see one, then you might never know how to make it better.
      Stay strong kiddo 🙂 xxx

  • DukeDiesel

    What kind of Dr. Do I see about my breast bone popping in and out? Sometimes it does cause me pain. It started about, and I am embarrassed to say, a year ago but has been doing it more and more. I was a weightlifter in my twenties and am now in my forties. Could it be an old injury showing itself now? I was also in a pretty bad car accident in 1999 but did have a seatbelt on. Please let me know, I would appreciate it. A Dr. where I work mentioned a cardio thoracic surgeon, what do you think?

    • Hi DukeDIesel. It is unlikely that an injury from your twenties or even from 1999 would now become symptomatic without there having been no symptoms in such a long period of time. It is possibly an old injury but very unlikely. It would be advisable to start with your family doctor who can assess you and then decide on further referrals. You may need to see an orthopedic specialist if it is solely a musculoskeletal condition (which is what it seems like) but if you are having other symptoms that are indicative of a possible cardiac condition then you may need to see a cardiologist. Going to a cardiothoracic surgeon at this point is probably ‘jumping the gun’ a bit. Speak to your family doctor first.

      • DukeDiesel

        Thank you so much! I will take your advice as I did not consider an Orthopedic Specialist.

  • Zhaylin Black

    I’ve “popped” the center of my chest since I was a teen.
    Sometimes, my chest feels “caught”. Deep breathes or exhalations would cause intense pain. If I breathed through it then took a really deep breath, it would pop and that would be the end of that.
    The intensely painful version doesn’t happen so much any more. I pop my chest as if any other knuckle/joint several times a day. Anxiety and fatigue make it worse.
    I’ve always wondered how it was possible to pop your breastbone lol.

    • Hi Zhaylin. Hopefully the article above explains it. You may also want to read up about Tietze syndrome or slipping rib syndrome which tends to be more common in the teens. Yes, it is possible to ‘pop’ this area because there are joints between the breastbone and ribs.

      • Zhaylin Black

        Thanks for the reply 🙂 The article was very informative as were the comments, which I read after I posted mine. It surprised me to see how many other people do this.

        • Hi Zhaylin. Glad to be of assistance. 🙂 This is not an uncommon condition and it often resolves on its own after months or even years with no complications. So it usually does not get much attention. Nevertheless it is always advisable to have it checked up by a doctor.

  • markietta

    Hi, I’ve been experiencing server pain in my chest and popping and cracking for about 2 years now. It has effected my 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th rib at this point all on the left side. There are days were the 4th on the right side sticks out but not often. It prevents me from moving a lot of the time and I can’t swallow food unless yogurt or something like that because I can feel the food pushing past the large lumps. I have been to many specialists and had the treatment for Costocondritis twice (a shot in the cartilage) and it always came back. The last time I saw a doctor they told me that it might be a birth defect but at this point the only thing they can do is open me up and look at it because it didn’t show up in any of the scans they did (xray, cat scan, mri) but they didn’t want to cut into me because it could make my heart more susceptible to desease. I am an 18 year old female. I don’t want to live with this pain forever it prevents me from doing any activities that use shoulders or arms.

  • fred

    Hi thank for this article 😉 I hope you can help me. I have strong chest popping sounds in my chest and sometimes have strong electrical cramp in my mid chest. Many times my left chest side feel very tight and it goes up to neck and upper back to my left arm. I also have problem with Tachycardia fast heart rate 105-135bpm when I sit or stand (not when I sleep or swim then it goes down to 43-75bpm) In the last 4 years I went 6 hospital visits for full body checkup. They can not find anything. The problem persists do you have any advice? Thanks

    • Jacinta

      Fred my husband has the same thing. We just spent over 5 hours in the ER and they don’t know what is wrong. Have been diagnosed with anything yet?

    • Jacinta

      HealthHype – My husband is experiencing the same thing as Fred. We were at the ER for over 5hours last night and they don’t know what is wrong. EKG, lab work, and chest xray came back fine. I would like to know your opinion/advice. Is it Costochondritis or what? Fred have you had any luck?

      • Hi Jacinta. It is difficult to say with any certainty whether this is costochondritis or not. It’s good to know that they have excluded cardiac conditions for now because that would be the first concern. However, this is not to say that there is definitely no underlying heart issues. Costochondritis is a relatively common condition even though there may be no sign of a problem on the surface. It may be advisable for your husband to see an orthopedist at this point.

    • Jacinta

      HealthHype – My husband has the same problem as Fred. We were in the ER or over 5 hours last night and they could not find out what was wrong. Fred -have you had any luck finding out what is wrong? Heathhype – Please respond. Thanks!

  • Brittany Dixon

    I have had this sense I was a kid and have been diagnosed with it but now its popping and crackling every time I take a breath not like how it would just pop and at least 2 times every 6 months or so it will put me in crippling pain and again my doctors look at me like I’m crazy and don’t have an answer how do I get them to actually look further into what is going on

  • Allen

    Hi. I usually can pop it when i stretch but now im working out more and its been feeling like it needs to pop but i just cant stretch right to get it. Any suggestions because its getting really uncomfortable. …

    • Hi Allen. Although there is no significant evidence to indicate that this stretching and popping does any damage, you should not make it a habit. If you are having problems like popping of the breastbone and ribs then you should have it checked up by a doctor. Workouts involving your arms in particular can worsen the condition. Make sure that you stretch and warm up sufficiently before working out.

  • Frederick Coene

    Hello, I am 21 years old and have noticed when I breath in, I always can crack my bones in my back, when I do this i don’t have any kind of pain. I also have a lot of troubles with my neck, i almost can constantly crack my neck. Every morning i need to crack my neck to relieve tension out of my neck. Mostly I need to push my fingers on the left/right side of my neck and move my head to the right side and then i can feel everything pop back in place. I also can crack my neck by moving my shoulders in an upwards direction. I play volleyball and I have also some kind of knee injury, I did some research and i think it’s called disease of osgood schlatter, because i have some bump under my knee. I like to do my own research, but neck problems are very hard to understand.
    I went once to a cracking specialist and he cracked everything in place and he said I had 3 back blockages and one neck blockage.
    I feeled really good after he did his job, but one day after i struggled with the same problems.
    Are these problems any kind of related with each other? Do i need to go to the doctor?

    • Hi Frederick. We assume that the “cracking” doctor was a chiropractor. Yes, it is advisable that you see a doctor since these symptoms are persisting. Doing your own research is helpful in understanding a condition but you should never try to self-diagnosis. Many people delay a proper medical diagnosis but trying to do their own research and by the time they get to a doctor vital time has already been lost. Rather start by speaking to your family doctor and then once he/she isolates a possible cause you can research to learn more about the condition.

  • Renee Dixon

    I hope someone can answer this. My husband was in a car wreck nearly 9 years ago and steering wheel to the chest cracked his sternum in few places. 9 years later he has chest pains all the time and can pop his chest or sternum…and the doctors just keep giving him medicine and sending him on his way without checking it out. Any ideas what this could be. Seems like stress may be a trigger to the chest pains.

    • Hi Renee. Conditions like costochondritis can arise with trauma to the chest wall like with a motor vehicle accident when the chest strikes the steering wheel. Costochondritis may explain the persistent popping. It is also important to note that there were fractures and many people experience pain for years after when thin bones like the sternum fracture. Unfortunately there is little that can be done in this regard apart from pain medication. However, there are some treatment options for costochondritis if this is one of the problems. Separately stress and chest pain can occur without any history of a fracture. Rapid breathing with stress can strain the chest wall. However, at times there may be no clearly identifiable explanation. This stress and chest pain link should be discussed with your doctor as well.

  • harrison

    Hello am only 24yrs old now and i have been feeling a serious pain in my upper back {center}, my spine and it do come and go and am also feeling a crack sound on my chest which is not painful,. it been 2yrs now, please healthhype what maybe the cause,..

    • Hi Harrison. The fact that it is persisting for 2 years and quite severe from what you describe means that it requires medical attention. We cannot tell you the cause for sure. It has to be assessed by a doctor.You may need further tests like an x-ray and need to consult with an orthopedist. Start with your family doctor and then see what he/she has to say.

  • Dustin

    Hey see with me its weird i feel short of breath i do have asthma but i take my puffers ass told to do so.. i feel short of breath sometimes but ive noticed that when i crack my sternum wither by stretching or turning my back it becomes eaiser for me to breath is it normal or okay for this to crack im worried and im only 18 i got my xrays and stuff but im kinda freaked out and hoping you could help me out

  • Dominique Clarque

    Hello, I’ve noticed that these threads are really old, but I am in desperate need of help, because something just does not feel right at all, and I don’t want to be in pain for the rest of my life for something I could have fixed earlier.

    I had a nasty fall about a month ago. I was doing pull ups at home and had got complacent and forgot to tighten back up the bar. As I lifted my legs to do an L sit, I came crashing down to the ground and landed clean on my back, I hit my head too, but I was more worried about my back, as I landed only one side of my ribs. It hurt like hell and winded me completely, but I got up quickly and brushed it off. I think I must have been in shock, because the next day, I went to start my first day of CrossFit and felt slight pain, everything seemed ok, but then the pain got worse and worse, and by the end of the one hour session I felt like my ribs had literally moved!

    By the time I arrived home, I was crying, because I couldn’t breath properly and every time I turned my body, I would get these sharp shooting pains which literally made be bowel over in pain. I knew something was very wrong, so I made an appointment to see my doctor. She told me that she didn’t think anything was broken, but I could possibly have fractured my bones with the fall, she told me, that even If I went to the hospital and had an X-ray, there would be nothing they would do to fix it, so I didn’t go. Instead, she gave me a prescription for co codamol to take with ibuprofen and Diazepam. I have taken the first two every day, but only took 2 of the diazepam as they are too strong and make me feel sick.

    Anyway, I am nowhere near in the pain that I was in a few weeks ago, but I am still in pain, and worst of all my back/ribs feel like gristle, I really don’t know how else to explain it and I do not want that on my back for the rest of my life if it can be fixed. I don’t know if my bones have move or something, but I know my body and it is not right at all. There is a part on my back that if I take my right hand press the palm on the back of my ribs, it moves/clicks in and out! I’m not exaggerating and it feels horrible.

    Sometimes I can lie down with no strain at all and other time it’s so painful i have to crawl on my bed hands first, lie on my front, then roll on my back. It’s really starting to jar me now because I have always healed very quckly. Do you think that my rib bone/s have popped out or do you think it’s cartilage floating around there, if so, does it ever heal and go away, or am I stuck with this for the rest of my life? I’m wondering whether or not I should go to see a chiropractor, or should I wait for the pain to fully subside. I may knock him out if he presses on the painful part (joke), but I’ll definitely hit the roof. Any advice from anyone at all would be so much apprieciated, I’m getting fed up now. I was hoping to start CrossFit again in a weeks time, but it’s not looking good at all.

    Least I can sneeze, cough and breath deeply without wincing in pain now, so I must be healing. Sometimes it feels like I’m carrying led on one side, it feels really heavy, I cannot explain it. Maybe I need more time. Feels very wrong though.

    By the way. I wanted to share something to help anyone still in pain. I learnt that when you go to sneeze, to stop yourself, all you have to do is press on your Philtrum, that’s the channel type part in between your nose and upper lip. As you go to sneeze, just press your finger on it and keep it there till the sneeze passes. Works every time. I had to Google how not to sneeze, because It felt like I slipped a disk, the pain was so excruciating, it was unbearable. Hope that helps your ribs ; )

  • Dominique Clarque

    Hello, I’ve noticed that these threads are really old, but I am in desperate need of help, because something just does not feel right at all, and I don’t want to be in pain for the rest of my life for something I could have fixed earlier.

    I had a nasty fall about a month ago. I was doing pull ups at home and had got complacent and forgot to tighten back up the bar. As I lifted my legs to do an L sit, I came crashing down to the ground and landed clean on my back, I hit my head too, but I was more worried about my back, as I landed only one side of my ribs. It hurt like hell and winded me completely, but I got up quickly and brushed it off. I think I must have been in shock, because the next day, I went to start my first day of CrossFit and felt slight pain, everything seemed ok, but then the pain got worse and worse, and by the end of the one hour session I felt like my ribs had literally moved!

    By the time I arrived home, I was crying, because I couldn’t breath properly and every time I turned my body, I would get these sharp shooting pains which literally made be bowel over in pain. I knew something was very wrong, so I made an appointment to see my doctor. She told me that she didn’t think anything was broken, but I could possibly have fractured my bones with the fall, she told me, that even If I went to the hospital and had an X-ray, there would be nothing they would do to fix it, so I didn’t go. Instead, she gave me a prescription for co codamol to take with ibuprofen and Diazepam. I have taken the first two every day, but only took 2 of the diazepam as they are too strong and make me feel sick.

    Anyway, I am nowhere near in the pain that I was in a few weeks ago, but I am still in pain, and worst of all my back/ribs feel like gristle, I really don’t know how else to explain it and I do not want that on my back for the rest of my life if it can be fixed. I don’t know if my bones have move or something, but I know my body and it is not right at all. There is a part on my back that if I take my right hand press the palm on the back of my ribs, it moves/clicks in and out! I’m not exaggerating and it feels horrible.

    Sometimes I can lie down with no strain at all and other time it’s so painful i have to crawl on my bed hands first, lie on my front, then roll on my back. It’s really starting to jar me now because I have always healed very quckly. Do you think that my rib bone/s have popped out or do you think it’s cartilage floating around there, if so, does it ever heal and go away, or am I stuck with this for the rest of my life? I’m wondering whether or not I should go to see a chiropractor, or should I wait for the pain to fully subside. I may knock him out if he presses on the painful part (joke), but I’ll definitely hit the roof. Any advice from anyone at all would be so much apprieciated, I’m getting fed up now. I was hoping to start CrossFit again in a weeks time, but it’s not looking good at all.

    Least I can sneeze, cough and breath deeply without wincing in pain now, so I must be healing. Sometimes it feels like I’m carrying led on one side, it feels really heavy, I cannot explain it. Maybe I need more time. Feels very wrong though.

    By the way. I wanted to share something to help anyone still in pain. I learnt that when you go to sneeze, to stop yourself, all you have to do is press on your Philtrum, that’s the channel type part in between your nose and upper lip. As you go to sneeze, just press your finger on it and keep it there till the sneeze passes. Works every time. I had to Google how not to sneeze, because It felt like I slipped a disk, the pain was so excruciating, it was unbearable. Hope that helps your ribs ; )

  • susan johnston

    My son sustained a chest/ rib injury during football. An xray ruled out broken ribs but he still has pain and a popping/ cracking sensation, what could this be caused by?
    It has been 2 weeks.

  • Jennifer B.

    Hello. This is actually the first day this happened. While stretching today I noticed some chest pain in the middle of my chest in between the breast. I did notice some discomfort last night while sleeping, like I felt gas in my chest and abdominal area. I have also had a cough lately. So I am not sure what is causing this pain. Can you give me some leads?

    • Hi Jennifer. It sounds more like it is related to the chest wall. Persistent coughing can strain the joints between the ribs and breastbone (sternum) and sometimes give rise to a condition known as costochondritis. Always worth having it checked up by a doctor in case it is a deeper lying problem with the heart or esophagus (food pipe).

  • Morgan Hartle

    Okay. I’m a healthy 22-year-old female. I don’t go to the gym regularly and I don’t suffer from any serious medical conditions… With that said, lately (the last couple of months) I feel as though my sternum needs to be cracked… Throughout the entire day I feel the need to stretch & try to relieve this sensation. The only relief I get, however brief it is, is when my chest gives in to my relentless stretching and finally cracks… The actual “cracking” can be compared to the feeling of cracking your knuckles. Even the near-compulsion to crack your knuckles in order to relieve the uncomfortable feeling is similar, just more severe in this case. I’m not exactly sure what the uncomfortable feeling is from a medical standpoint. Evidently, it seems that the more I crack it, the more frequent my need to crack it (and the uncomfortableness in my chest) gets.

    I’m not too alarmed by this, but I really would like some feedback on what could possibly be going on as the feeling is pretty constant, and consequently very uncomfortable and distracting. I just took the time to read about other people’s experiences with this strange condition, however they were typically men that work out regularly, fell victim to a traumatic event and/or deal with a lot of pain/arthritis. Since I suffer from none of the above, I’m curious to know if any other young women have dealt with this as well. I’ll add that there is nothing abnormal in my medical history that gives any indication at all.

    Thank you for your time,
    Morgan

  • Daniel

    Hi I have been have been experiencing a weird event now note this happens about 6 – 10 times a day I fell off a porch about 3 years ago and landed on a cinder block it was about a four foot drop. I was able to work all day and it happened in the morning granite I’m a pretty tough guy but I had no existing pain afterwards ever since then when I’m looking down or when I bend over to pick something up or even if I breathe abnormally say I’m holding my breath my chest near my sternum will feel like its locking up so I push my shoulder blades together and lean back and it feels like there’s a large pop and it sounds like a tear and this happens from 6 to 10 times every day and has been happening for a long time over a period Of years I guess to keep myself from beating around the bush my question is what is it?
    Here’s another thing to keep in mind it’s almost painless every time it happens except for the times when it’s really resistant to pop then it pops really hard and sort of hurts

  • Fellios

    Can scoliosis cause clicking of chest?

  • Rozz

    Already Went to the doctor and he said that I have PVC or premature ventricular contractions. Nothing to worry coz it happens to healthy hearts. Its just that my heart generates too much electricity. I have normal cholesterol level, not highblood. Then Im now experiencing this sudden popping or this bubble feels in my chest once in a while. Its really painful! As if my heart is tearing apart for a few seconds. I most of the time experience this when I try to breathe deeply. Inhale exhale thing before i go to sleep. I just freaks me out. I hope its nothing serious. Any advice about this!?

  • Guest

    -Partial Diagnosis-

    I have the same popping/cracking thing with my sternum. I went to the doctor and after a year they finally ran an mri on my sternum. They said that there is a lot of inflammation and edema on the manubrium but aren’t sure why. They want to start me on prednisone and test for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankolosing spondylitis etc. Just thought some people here might benefit from what I’ve been told personally so far.

    • slrj

      thanks, cuz I have had pain in my sternum for years with no answer and have had MRI’s done but of my spine cuz of DDD, STENOSIS, AND MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS but I can now tell my doctor to look at this as a possibility as to why the sternum pain the last two years. now I have severe pain there cuz I had CPR done on me Dec. 10th cuz of an asthma attack where I quit breathing from an asthma reaction to a medication then my heart stopped from lack of oxygen. I got on here to find out what may be the problem and while ur answer may be an answer to my previous pain n popping problem I doubt its the answer to my new issue,, this CPR saved my life and am forever grateful BUT I have got to find out why I have had popping the last few days and it was so bad tonight that I can’t use my arm now without screaming and it has radiated to my middle back so bad that I’m tempted to go to the ER. thank you so much and God Bless you, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

  • ABIGAIL

    Hello Health…
    I got kicked by my miniature horse in my stomach and when I press down on my left side it pops in and pops out with a thud? What can I do about that? I noticed 34hrs after getting kicked.. I never want to get a check up after the accident because I never felt like I need to! ?

  • ABIGAIL

    Hello Health…
    I got kicked by my miniature horse in my stomach and when I press down on my left side it pops in and pops out with a thud? What can I do about that? I noticed 34hrs after getting kicked.. I never want to get a check up after the accident because I never felt like I need to! ?

  • deepthi

    Hello, i do have this problem, i feel pain or sometimes like inflammation. i manually pop it by turning left or right or by stretching my arms up, then the pain goes away, but comes does comes in return after 5 to 10 mins. this i am facing from one week. which doctor should i consult? i mean the specialization?

  • LISA VAN DE WEGHE

    this has been happening since the birth of my youngest who is ovee the age of 10. i also have several chronic back issus like arachniditis 5 slipped discs sclerosis scoliosis right sided weakness fibro arthritis … i could go on… point is there is always strain and excrutuating pain until it pops and then i can feel anywhere from one to six places popping. im fine for a couple hours then the pain starts again… no its not misplaced gas. i bring it up and it gets ignored … kind of like me pointing out my right leg is three inches thicker in the calf than the left… the doctors and staff dont care people … its a sad but true story. i wished i could say it were otherwise. please just be careful if this happens to you. also please ignore any and all typos.

  • minda

    My chest has been cracking since late June. The first time it happen I was sitting in the passenger seat of my husbands truck. I was going to lay my head on his shoulder… when I leaned to my left side this excruciating pain shot through my heart I felt and I couldn’t move at all! I felt as if I was having a heart attack or someone had just stabbed me and I started crying because it was just unbearable. After about 1 minute passes by, it goes away. And it happen again later that night when I was getting into bed. For 2 almost 3 weeks my chest felt bruised and I couldn’t touch it without feeling pain, and I couldn’t lift my arms up all the way without feeling like it was going to snap inside of me. I never got into an accident or injured myself in any way what so ever, and I hate to bust my own bubble but I don’t work out either. So I really want to know why this is happening to me and what it is. Its November 18th now and this has been happening since late June!:( and it still hurts very bad every time it cracks. It doesn’t feel bruised anymore and I can move my arms normal again and I can even sleep like I normally do but when it cracks Its very painful. I’m only 20 I need help please.

    • Hi Minda. It could be costochondritis or Tietze syndrome. This means that the problem is related to the rib cartilages and joints. It can occur even if you don’t strain the area too much. Due to your age the risk of more serious causes like severe coronary artery disease is low but this does mean that it is not a possibility. There are also other heart diseases and related conditions like pericarditis which could affect you even though you are young. It is advisable that you see a doctor. It may not be anything serious but the only way to know for sure is to have your doctor exclude the more serious diseases.

  • slrj

    hi, my concern is on December 10th 2015 I had to have CPR cuz I was given a medication that in a couple of hours after taking it it caused my asthma to get so bad that I started to to a breathing treatment and within a few seconds I KNEW I was going to die and I yelled for my husband to call 911, I looked at him and said asthma, I am dying and I am so sorry and I love you and then poof I stopped breathing and my heart then stopped, but I had some xrays done and they said nothing was broken and in a couple of days was sent home, BUT the pain keeps getting worse and now I have this popping right under my left breast and tonight it popped so hard and loud and the pain was so bad I almost dropped to my knees and now I can not move my arm without screaming in pain, oh and I am taking oxycodone and MS Contin which is a time release morphine so with that much pain medication and I am STILL screaming in pain if I move my arm there HAS to be something very bad wrong. of course luck would have it today is Christmas so I can’t see my doctor till after the 1st so I don’t know what to do. I have DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE AND SPINAL STENOSIS PLUS MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS so that is why I am on the strong pain meds, but I’m just saying if I hurt THIS BAD even on THOSE KIDS OF MEDS,, wow it must be awful! since the CPR I first had tenderness but after a week I developed this popping in my sternum and it was pretty bad but tolerable, then now this happened three times now the first two were bad but I could still use my arm but tonight I can not use it without such pain that I scream and it pops if I move it at all! thanks for letting me share this and for feedback and Merry Christmas everyone. Mine WAS good until this UGH

  • Kong

    hi i am having problems with my chest as well. i can pop my chest like how you pop your fingers.. i can pop it like every 30 mins or 1 hour.. when i stretch my back, my chest pops and you can actually hear the sound like a bone cracking or something. sometimes i feel sharp pain in my chest when i bend my neck downwards or when i flex my chest. also, whenever i pop it, it kinda relieves the pain slightly. i’ve been to the doctor and he said its some kind of inflammation and prescribed some anti-inflammation medicines. i can feel that it helped reduce the pain but it did not really cure or heal it.. can someone help ? i’ve been having this problem for almost a year and a half now..

  • Brittany

    Hi, so sometimes I get a real sharp deep pain in the left side of my spine and the whole underneath of my boobs, it normally isn’t relieved until I have someone step on my back and crack it but until then I’m in a lot of pain to where it almost hurts to take deep breaths and just need to lay flat on my back, if someone could just kind of give me an idea on what’s going on or ways to maybe relieve it on my own would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  • Sonu Tamang

    Hi! Sonu here it’s been 6 to 7 months that I’m having pain and cracking sound in my chest whenever I’m stretching it. I’m really not getting rid of it. Please help me out….

  • Adyn

    Hello. Whenever I breathe in I can hear two pops just below my breast and when I breathe out they pop again. It’s very painful when this happens and somehow it only occurs when I sit down for a while. I am only thirteen so I’m not sure if this is normal or what I should do??

  • Ib4N8R

    I see many people with comments about needing help. Boy do I feel your pain. I am in the same position but have been given some information and helpful treatment.

    Please pay specific attention to the beginning of the article which states: “usually associated with the joints between the breastbone and ribs”. This could be the key to identifying your injury and beginning recovery.

    The popping is often the movement between the ribs and the sternum. There are several ribs attached to the sternum. One or more, on one or both sides, can be pulled out of alignment. This may be a reflection of a misalignment in the back or forward leaning / computer desk posture.

    I found a very sensitive and well trained chiropractor who showed me how misalignment of the ribs at the sternum are causing the stress and pain. The big thing is he can help me get out of that searing pain situation (for a while). It can be painful, not necessarily, but always a big relief. Of course, I prefer if I can find a way to release the problem myself, and often do, but sometimes the joints get too twisted and locked up. I do lots of ice / hot water, easy stretching.

    Once a connection is injured it becomes sore, and the ache seems to just go on for a very long time, and it is very easy to injure again. I’m trying to locate some specific Physical Therapy or pilates /therapy help to try and improve the structural support in the chest, ribs, and back, but its go slow, slow, slow, and then slower.

    Best of luck to all of you in your health.

  • Eve

    Last Friday, March 25, I fell off a ladder. I went to urgent care where I got an x-ray. The Doctor said there were no breaks. She said I had bruised ribs. Very painful the first three days. It was very hard to cough, sneeze or take deep breath in. I was put on pain/anti-inflamatory medication. The past two days I have felt a lot better. The only new issue is that when I take a deep breath in, I feel a popping in my right front rib. Not every time. Usually when I haven’t taken a deep breath in awhile. However, after the initial deep breath the popping will continue for the next 5 to 6 deep breaths. No pain, just weird. Is this normal?

  • dave

    hi i have popping sternum and grating and loud clicking in both sc joints but is pain free. can i do strength training with this ?

    • Hi Dave. You may want to speak to a physical therapist. The fact that there is no pain at the moment does not mean that pain may not arise in the future especially with further strain on those joints. The clicking and popping may already be an indication of a joint problem so be cautious before starting with strength training. Your doctor and physical therapist will be able to advise you further.

  • Mohammad Mahfujur Rahman

    Now I am 37 yrs of age. When I was around 24 yr of age, my sternum was hurt. After that, sometimes I used to feel pain on my sternal angle. I used to get relief of this pain, bending my chest wall back and at the same time holding my arms each other from back of my neck. That times, I used to feel some cracking sound in my sternum. I went to the doctor (physical medicine specialist) and after investigations, they assessed that, it was due to my habit of bending my chest on table during study and they did not prescribe any medicine. However, my problem was persistent and one day it was such a situation that, I failed to breath for a moment and my roommate took me to the emergency department of the hospital and that department sent me to the cardiologist who could not find any cardiac problem. Last one year, I feel continuous discomfort on my chest and feel that cracking sound even at little bending of my chest to any direction. I went to a general practitioner who sent me to the cardiologist again. After several medical examinations, doctor diagnosed variant angina and I am on medication. This medication has not given me relief of chest discomfort though I feel some relief from another faint pain inside the chest. Please doctor, tell me your assessments and suggest me a doctor of certain specialty. Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Mohammad. It appears that there are two separate conditions in your case. Firstly variant angina is a problem with the coronary arteries that supplies blood to your heart. As you have said you are on medication for it. This conditions needs to be monitored on a regular basis by a medical practitioner. The other condition here may have to do with the costal joints where the ribs connect to the sternum. This could be costochondritis or similar conditions. You may want to see an orthopedic specialist for this problem. First speak to your family doctor who may first assess you and refer to you to the appropriate specialist.

  • Missy Richmond

    Hi. I first had Costochondritis in my 20s brought on (supposedly) by repetitive movements at my Dental Hygiene job and stress. I never had it again until last year (I’m 42). I’ve been retired from my job for 8 years due to a rare genetic disease taking my eyesight. My dr seems baffled as to why it’s happening more frequently. I had it twice last year with no known cause. A few months ago, I went to the ER because I couldn’t breathe due to severe chest pain. I’d been coughing from flu and the ER dr diagnosed costo brought on by the extreme coughing. They cleared it up with steroids and cough meds. I now have it again for no known reason. I literally went to bed one night and woke up in bad pain. This time, there’s clicking along with it. The clicking isn’t painful, just weird to feel. I’d love to not have to do a steroid pack this time, as I react badly to them. Do you have any advice at all? I appreciate it greatly! Thanks!

    • Hi Missy. It is difficult to say for sure why you are experiencing this repetitive costochondritis. As you mentioned, past episodes were related to your occupation and bouts of coughing but there is very likely precipitating causes at the moment that you may not be noticing. For example, you may be repeatedly carrying/lifting heavy objects. However, given the duration and your current age it is also important to investigate other contributing factors, like rheumatoid arthritis for exaple. It would be advisable that you see and orthopedic specialist at this point.

      • Missy Richmond

        Thank you so much for answering. I’m going to start keeping a record to see if I can figure what is causing it. My dog may have something to do with it. She’s bad to pull me hard on her leash, plus I pick her up more as she gets older. She only weighs about 25lbs, but she’s hyper and can REALLY pull me. I have had to start using my white cane more due to my vision loss progressing. I use my right hand for that, so I had to switch her to my left hand several months ago. That’s coincidentally the side I mostly get the costo on. I wonder if that’s contributing. I’ve a dr appointment soon, so I’ll ask. Do you think any stretches will help? I had to have MRIs on my thoracic and lumbar spine about a year ago. They found the thoracic fine, but I have advanced arthritis in my lumbar spine, along with all the discs in the lumbar herniated. I’ve had several nerve injections that’ve helped tremendously with that. They were surprised at the advanced arthritis even at my age. Maybe that plays into it? Anyway, thank you so very much for your timely and thorough response!

  • Ashley

    Hi , sometimes I get this sharp stiff pain on my sternum i believe, the bone between my breasts. The only way to get the stiff sharp pain to go away is if I stretch/lean back poking my chest out to make it pop kind of like when you pop your knuckles, and it goes away. Is this arthritis? I don’t understand why I have to lean back and poke my chest of to pop the breast bone to get the sharp pain to go away..

    • Hi Ashley. Stretching as you describe may allow the bones in the joint to “click” back into place. Of course we cannot say for sure if this is the issue in your case. As you can see from the article above there are many possible cases for your condition. Costochondritis and Tietze syndrome would be two possible considerations at this point. These conditions are not arthritis although arthritis could also be a possible cause but in rare cases. The only way to know for sure is for your doctor to assess you and make a diagnosis.

  • Kevin Hermsen

    I have had back problems for years now and because of that my back is very bent and i can’t sit straight for very long and so when i sit straight for very long my diaphragm tends to ”lock” or ”tighten” so i need to stretch to make it pop. Now lately when it tightens or locks it starts to hurt quite a bit and it only happens when i sit straight so i am kinda at a loss for words on what to do here… If you know what i shoud do about it please tell me.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Kevin. We are uncertain as to what you mean by the diaphragm tightening. The diaphragm is the large sheet muscle that lies between the chest and abdominal cavity within your torso. If that “locked” then you would not be able to breathe at all. There are many different types of back problems and without knowing the exact problem it would be difficult to comment on your condition. It is advisable that you consult with an orthopedist who can properly assess you and diagnose the problem. The specialist will also give you treatment options to correct the underlying problem, if at all possible.

  • Steph

    I woke up on he middle of the night to change sleeping positions to the other side and as soon as I turned over I felt pressure in my chest, then a crack, then the pain was gone. I feel a slight tightness this morning (like when you have slight cold). This has happened to me before. I don’t have pain anymore just a little tightness. Should I have this looked at or just chalk it up to costochondritis?

    • Hi Steph. Although this sounds more like an issue with your rib-sternum joints and is usually not serious, it is always advisable to get a medical opinion. As you can see from the article above there are many possible causes so it is difficult to say for sure which of these conditions it could be. Do not be concerned as it does not seem serious but nevertheless your doctor should check up on it and advise you further.

  • TL BeatyJr

    My breast bone pops like cracking my fingers

  • Jennifer Campbell

    It sounds like you have precordial catch syndrom look into it. Not serious at all I get the same thing. It’s like it starts as a bit of back pain then moves towards your chest then it’s like tension builds and builds and leaning forward or twisting the right way you get a loud pop then it’s totally releaved itself? It’s normally a loud pop sensation across the breast bone that almost seems triggered fromthe back. Yeah try reading up on precordial catch syndrom. There’s nothing you can do about it I think..maybesome exercises. Peace dude hope you find out what it was

  • Zac Holloway

    hi there, not too long ago i had a collision with my friend at football where his shoulder went straight into my sternum and immediatly i was finding it hard to breath without really severe pain. Also whenever i put pressure on my chest with my hand it seemed to hurt real bad when i removed it. It seemed to have got better overtime however when i was in the gym a couple weeks back it clicked whilst doing an exercise. There was no pain at all. Tonight i have realised it is aching a bit if i twist my body side to side, this is after doing a big session at the gym around 4 oclock today. I was just curious if its still safe to go to the gym, either way im still going to go as it is what i love and have devoted my goals to the gym i was just curious if i should be going as ‘hard’ on chest or are their specific warm ups or exercises to strengthen the sternum, anything would help, cheers Zac

    • Hi Zac. You definitely need to have this checked up as soon as possible. While it may not be life threatening and is very likely linked to the collision, you could experience complications by not having it assessed and treated. If you cannot get to a doctor soon, then try to limit any further strain to the area. In other words cut down on the gym workouts to that area in particular. Do not ignore it. You may regret not seeking attention sooner when a complication arises at a later date that can severely affect your active lifestyle.

  • mumei

    Since I was a teen (or at least that’s as far back as I can remember) if I sleep on my side with my arms together, so my chest essentially folds, or when I slouch a lot so my ribs bend forward, sometimes I’ll get pain along my sternum. I discovered I just have to “crack” my chest and the pain subsides. It’s essentially the same as feeling the need to crack my back, etc.