1

votes

Popping Sternum

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 03, 2013 at 2:59 AM

Some long-term neck, back, and neurological troubles brought me to a physical therapist, who cracked my back as part of the therapy. Since then, my sternum has been popping many times per day from normal movements (yawning, taking a deep breath, sitting up, movement in general, etc.) It feels almost like cracking other joints, except it is not voluntary, which makes it very uncomfortable.

I went to my general doctor, who took X-rays of my chest. She said everything seems normal and that I can go back to lifting weights. That doesn't really take away the discomfort, though, and I was wondering if anyone else had experienced this or knew how to relieve it.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 04, 2013
at 01:46 AM

Yup, I know in my state PT's aren't licensed to do adjustments/manipulations.

F59d04be1acdc85dd1e6da34f43dc447

(234)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:36 PM

Thanks, it's already been over a month!

F59d04be1acdc85dd1e6da34f43dc447

(234)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:36 PM

There was some pain a few days after the adjustment, but now it's just discomfort. Not sure where the popping is coming from, didn't realize that little bone was so complex! haha

F59d04be1acdc85dd1e6da34f43dc447

(234)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:34 PM

Hard to tell where exactly it's coming from. Since my doctor thinks there's nothing wrong, it might be hard to convince her I need an MRI. I will try to request an orthopedist referral though.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 03, 2013
at 05:37 PM

Was the therapist trained and licensed to practice chiropractic? Just like any other field, there are quacks that think they know best.

F59d04be1acdc85dd1e6da34f43dc447

(234)

on January 03, 2013
at 04:13 AM

Thanks for the recommendation, but I'm a little wary since it was after an adjustment that I started experiencing the popping. Would like to see if there are exercise/diet changes I could make on my own, for now.

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8 Answers

1
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 03, 2013
at 04:31 AM

My sternum sometimes pops when I take a deep breath or have been sitting in a cramped position for a while. I've also been experiencing a popping hyoid bone when I swallow, but when I tilt my head back and to the side, it doesn't pop. I think that was related to not swallowing properly/tongue thrusting (which I'm working on--it seems to have improved).

Is it possible that the adjustment/PT relieved some muscles that had previously been very tense? I wonder if some of the small ones attached to the sternum are now more flexible and allowing more movement of your floating ribs. Is there pain or just a general "odd" feeling when it pops? If your rib tips had dislocated (subluxation), I'm sure you'd be in a state of constant discomfort.

Can you determine where the popping is located?

popping-sternum

F59d04be1acdc85dd1e6da34f43dc447

(234)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:36 PM

There was some pain a few days after the adjustment, but now it's just discomfort. Not sure where the popping is coming from, didn't realize that little bone was so complex! haha

1
B2634bf90fa31b48a60e7c4f06761200

on January 03, 2013
at 04:30 AM

Also depends on where sternum is popping. If its higher up, like where ther clavicle (collar bone) connects to to the sternum, then you may have a dislocating or subluxations sterno-clavicular joint. These can be diagnosed with ct scans or mri.

Most of the time this is what it is.

If its lower down then it could be injury to the costochondral junction of your anterior ribs.

In regards to non-surgical management, best thing is to avoid any actions that will pop it and take it easy for 6-8 weeks. Best to follow up with an orthopedist too.

F59d04be1acdc85dd1e6da34f43dc447

(234)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:34 PM

Hard to tell where exactly it's coming from. Since my doctor thinks there's nothing wrong, it might be hard to convince her I need an MRI. I will try to request an orthopedist referral though.

1
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 03, 2013
at 03:40 AM

It sounds like your rib tips are dislocating. Find a chiropractor in your area.

F59d04be1acdc85dd1e6da34f43dc447

(234)

on January 03, 2013
at 04:13 AM

Thanks for the recommendation, but I'm a little wary since it was after an adjustment that I started experiencing the popping. Would like to see if there are exercise/diet changes I could make on my own, for now.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 03, 2013
at 05:37 PM

Was the therapist trained and licensed to practice chiropractic? Just like any other field, there are quacks that think they know best.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 04, 2013
at 01:46 AM

Yup, I know in my state PT's aren't licensed to do adjustments/manipulations.

0
193b7fb0fec8913d5ebb3b99a04d21c6

(2918)

on January 03, 2013
at 08:09 PM

I dated a guy who did this just like how people tend to crack their knuckles on a daily basis. He would yawn, stretch, and this horrible pop would follow, coming from his chest. Didn't bother him, and he did it for years (probably still does).

I also had a boyfriend who didn't have a sternum, so apparently if anything is actually wrong with yours, you don't really need it too badly.

0
2e1591c76896828077b930de5107f1af

on January 03, 2013
at 07:56 PM

if you lift weight and do alot of benching, it might be because your pecs and front delts are really tight so your posture is brought forward.

my sternum cracks all the time, dont worry about it. just look up some stretching routine for those body parts.

0
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on January 03, 2013
at 02:38 PM

Not that this helps you, I guess, but my brother has always been able to pop his sternum by expanding his chest. Just like some people crack their neck or knuckles. Doesn't seem to be causing him any trouble. If it's painful try getting it out of the way after a hot shower. Maybe it won't hurt so much when you're loosened up. Maybe you'll just get used to it, too.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 03, 2013
at 01:54 PM

I've experienced this before, mostly after sleeping in an odd position the night before. It sucks, because it'll last 3-4 days. Not painful, just a little disconcerting. Give it a few days, it might just correct itself.

F59d04be1acdc85dd1e6da34f43dc447

(234)

on January 03, 2013
at 07:36 PM

Thanks, it's already been over a month!

0
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on January 03, 2013
at 03:14 AM

Check out ART, it may help.

http://www.activerelease.com/

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