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Cramps, pain below sternum after violently sneezing. Worsens while coughing, bending. Due to pulled muscle?

After a very violent sneeze , while driving, I experienced a period of cramping and pain at the base of my sternum. Although not debilitating, I can feel it is still there especially when coughing or bending over. From time to time I experience a series of sneezes, 8-12 of them one after another, this happened last night and the pain I felt re-occurred getting worse each time. I have no symptoms of heart problems and this seems to be skeletal/muscular and by gently pushing at the base of my chest bone the worst pain seems to come from about 1 up from the base. Again, blowing my nose , coughing and bending over exacerbate the pain but it goes away quickly. I do have a hiatal hernia but that is not affected and is much further over to the right, above my stomach . I feel like that it is some sort of pulled muscle and hope that, as long as I do not have any more of the sneezing attacks in the near future, it will heal by itself. I do have a physical check up due in the beginning of February and want to know if I should seek medical treatment immediately or am able to wait and tolerate the discomfort until then
Asked On : Thu, 10 Jan 2013
Answers:  1 Views:  254
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Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist 's  Response
This could possibly be a small hernia in the abdominal wall. This is not serious. It occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall and a small area of tissue pushes through when you strain, as in sneezing or coughing. It then goes back in when your muscles are relaxed and the pain goes away.
I would suggest a visit to your doctor for an examination and further assessment. The treatment is either leave it alone if it doesn't bother you too much or a small operation to correct the muscle weakness.
I hope this is of help.
Dr K A Pottinger
Answered: Sat, 27 Jul 2013
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