Pain in shoulder and arm, breathing trouble, taken Aleve. Chances of any lumps?

Posted on Thu, 7 Jun 2012
Question: Hello
31 year old male, 5'7", 175 lbs. Pain and tenderness on upper left side of sternum. Small lump right below sternoclav. joint. Hurts when rotating shoulder, lifting, etc. Stress seems to make it bad. Sometimes causes trouble breathing on left side. Aleve seems to alleviate but some dull pain always there. Started 6-8 months ago with sharp pains right through shoulder down left arm. Got better but never gone. Flared back up recently. Sometimes can feel clicking, or bubbling sound when taking XXXXXXX breath. Then goes away. Played hockey and it was really bad. Clicking and trouble breathing afterwards.

Think I have costo or tietze? can a lump be present with these conditions? what else could it be?
Follow up: Dr. Hema Yadav (5 minutes later)
what treatments or advice can you give?
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav (28 minutes later)

Thanks for the query.

A lump just below sternoclavicular joint would be most likely due to costochondritis or any inflammation of the bony or cartilage ribcage. It could also be deeper down , like a cyst or lymph node swelling pressing on the nerves and airways therefore causing symptoms.

Since it has been troubling you since so many months, it's worth getting it thoroughly investigated by your doctor with the help of xray, or if needed CT ( computed tomography) scan and few baseline blood tests like complete blood counts etc.

The pain and breathing difficulty could be due to the pressure of any space occupying lesion on important nerves and airways located in chest just below sternum and surrounding area.

Kindly refrain from sports until treated to avoid aggravating the problem. Also note that antiinflammatory analgesics such as aleve may cause only temporary relief and proper diagnosis is a prerequisite for complete cure.

Hope I have answered your query. I will be available for any follow up queries.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Hema Yadav (2 hours later)
Thanks for the info,

The lump is right under the surface, just left of the sternum. Basically right on top of where the rib meets the sternum. Easy to feel. Would this rule out lymph node?

I did have a blood test in the spring that showed lower levels of red blood cells. I was at the bottom of the "normal range". Can inflammation cause this?

I have a doctors appt. tomorrow. Will ley you know.

Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav (8 hours later)
Thanks for the follow up.

Yes ,a superficial lump is not likely to be a lymph node.The description seems more likely to a costochondritis or any cartilage or soft tissue lesion.

But good that you are seeing your doctor which will relieve all doubts.Please give him a complete and detailed history to help him in a better diagnosis.

A decrease in red blood cells could be due to nutritional deficiency or any inflammation or other pathology.It may or may not be related to your lump.The white blood cells are more likely to correlate with inflammation or infection.

Anyways you can get your counts repeated for better correlation with your doctors advice.

I 'll be happy to help you with any more queries .Hope all turns out well.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Radhika
Answered by
Dr. Hema Yadav

Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases

Practicing since :2005

Answered : 1528 Questions


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Pain in shoulder and arm, breathing trouble, taken Aleve. Chances of any lumps?

what treatments or advice can you give?