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Sternum pain, hurts to breath and tingling sensation in arm and back. What is causing this?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10445 Questions
I have pain on my sternum, about 3-4 ribs down slightly to the right, not relieved with anything thats been prescribed. Hurts to breathe deeply, to touch or to push neck forward. I have tingling down my arm and pinching through my back (In line with the chest pain)
Have tried physio, acupuncture, chiropractic, GP (Xrays ordered and normal result).
The pain has come and gone for 6 months, but this time is extremely worse, lasting a lot longer than other times, and it is a constant ache this time that gets worse every few minutes. I cannot sleep, barely drive and cannot get comfortable sitting or laying down.
GP said its just muscles and to just rest. I am a dancer who used to dance 6 days a week for the past 5 years, and for the last 6-7 months only danced 2 days a week. I dont believe that this is because of exercise seeing as I do a lot less than ever before. It has never hurt more (or less) after exercise. It is not a regular thing that I can predict when it will hurt with certain movements etc.
Please help.
Posted Mon, 11 Mar 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 41 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
For the pain that you described, two possibilities are coming to my mind, these include:
1)The first possibility is of pleuritis - You may have VIRAL BRONCHITIS. Your pain may be caused by PLEURISY, an irritation of the lining of the lung that is usually caused by a viral infection. Hard coughing may also cause pain in the muscles and chest wall. Drink plenty of fluids, and try cold medicines and/or anti-inflammatory medicines to relieve your symptoms. See your doctor if you develop a fever.
2) The second possibility can be of myositis or muscle pull. Mild antiinflammatory drugs and hot fomentation will help you. oral muscle relaxants are needed sometimes for the persistent pain like you have.
The tingling in the arm is likely to be due to a pinched nerve. An MRI of the neck and the affected area ill help in proper diagnosis.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
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