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sternum injury from stretching?

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I managed to "pull" something in my sternum which is causing pain whenever I lay down on my side, prop myself up, or stretch upwards or outwards.

Over the last few years I have noticed that whenever I stretch backwards (opening my arms out and leaning backwards) my sternum makes a loud popping sound. I feel some sort of relief whenever I usually do this, and after the stretch my upper body seems more open, allowing me to take deeper breaths.

I forgot to mention that I spend most of my day hunched over a computer in the worst posture imaginable, so doing thing stretch alleviates alot of the upper body tension accumulated by my poor posture.

Yesterday however, I over-stretched my sternum by doing this stretch and instead of the usual "popping" sound, heard a "squeeking" sound, as if some cords had ripped. From what I can gather from the doctor, it appears to be an over-extension of one of the ligaments which join the sternum to the ribs.

I was wondering if anyone else had such experiences, and whether they can share ways in which they dealt with the pain.

It seems that waiting it out and getting plenty of rest is the most prevalent solution.

Thanks in advance
Daniel
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First Helper RCTRIPLEFRESH5
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replied September 13th, 2008
Active User, very eHealthy
Tendon/ligament take a long time to heal, if you decide to heal this through your own means, do your very best not to cause any stress in that region, the slightest damage will further prolong it's heal rate significantly. The reason for this is because of the type of tissue ligaments are made out of, they get very little blood supply, which means very little nutrients and oxygen flowing (oxygen is very important to healing). Assuming the damage was extensive, I don't mean that you should take it easy for a few weeks, a few months is probably more appropriate.

If you want to make sure that your ligament heals properly, or if you injure it again and are concerned about scar tissue building up, the best option is to go to a Physical Therapist. If you have health insurance, see what physical therapists will accept it, or go to your doctor and have him/her recommend who is best to go to.

Trust me on this, ligament/tendon injuries are not something you want to take lightly. It is said, and true, that it is better off that you break bones (have far better blood supply), before spraining ligament/tendons.

Being hunched over the computer for significant amount of time can and probably will lead to extensive cervical lordosis(neck elongated forward) and or thoracic kyphosis (hunched mid back), which is poor posture for your spine, and the hunched shoulders will lead to gradual tightening of the chest muscles.

I personally recommend going to a P.T. even if it turns out to be bull, make sure that it healed the "proper" way, and then start your own regiment of light stretches and exercises to prevent this from happening in the future.
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Users who thank Mikolas for this post: danielv 

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replied September 15th, 2008
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You're right about the rest. After only a few days I am already feeling much better. Avoided performing the "maneuver" and most other forms of exercise. I think that part is the most difficult for me, since I'm usually very active, especially during the weekends.

Thanks again for your feedback.
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replied September 15th, 2008
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Once you're healed, you may want to consider strengthening your back and core muscles to help your posture.

Yoga or pillates can help a lot. They work muscles that can help keep you upright-- not to mention body position and posture is a huge part of yoga, so no matter what you'll be a little more aware of how you are sitting or standing.

You can also pair any yoga or pillates with mild weight training to strengthen your back muscles.
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Users who thank Maddie34 for this post: danielv 

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replied September 15th, 2008
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You're absolutely right. Yoga is excellent for this kind of stuff. I noticed that since I started exercising my back, it has been much easier to maintain an upright posture... if I remember. hehe...

Thanks for the reminder btw Smile
I was slouching like a programmer.
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replied September 15th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
It's hard not to slouch!
Even as I was typing I noticed how awful my posture is too, but it's getting better since I've started working out again.

I seem to have graduated from the typical posture of a programmer (eye squint and all) to this lazy, semi-slanted-in-my-chair kind of slouch.

It's a start! Wink
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replied September 15th, 2008
Active User, very eHealthy
Yup, hope things are going good for you.

Just remember though, absence of pain does not equal full recovery. On a microscopic level, your tendon/ligament will probably still have micro tears which will take longer to heal that how you are feeling.
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replied September 23rd, 2008
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Feeling much better, thanks guys... tho the slouching continues Smile
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replied September 23rd, 2008
Experienced User
Mikolas wrote:
Trust me on this, ligament/tendon injuries are not something you want to take lightly. It is said, and true, that it is better off that you break bones (have far better blood supply), before spraining ligament/tendons.


You have that right...all I have is legiment/tondon issues... I have a connective tissue disorder and I would have to agree 100% with that statement.

I am glad to hear you are feeling better danielv Very Happy I know how irretating it can be. I sound like a rice crispies advert with all the "Snap, Crackle & Pop" that goes on when I stretch Wink
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Users who thank Seraph for this post: danielv 

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replied October 3rd, 2008
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LOL. You're right! it did in fact sound like a couple of giant rice cripsies Smile

Ouch, a connective tissue disorder doesn't sound like fun. What is that called (out of curiosity)?

Thank you all again. I haven't stretched since, and will do my best to avoid it for as long as possible.

Oh - also today is day 6 of not smoking. Feels very good, like actually breathing! Smile

Daniel
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replied October 8th, 2008
Experienced User
Hi Daniel

Glad to hear about the smoking! Keep it up! I tried quiting, but my colleges complained I was too tempermental without it Wink

The connective tissue disorder is Marfan's Syndrome

Keep Well
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replied November 28th, 2009
I Think i did the same thing yesterday. I've been stretching my chest because of pain in my rhomboid muscle, and i think i overdid it. now the right side of my sternum hurts pretty bad when i turn my upper body to the left. It doesnt hurt while turning, but when i turn back to a normal position it hurts. I think i may have pulled a ligament.

I was wondering if stationary biking is do-able while im resting and recovering?
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replied January 7th, 2010
i injured my sternum 8 months ago while lifting weights. i am a weightlifter And i was doing a set of 4 reps with weighted dips. i had 110 pounds strapped to me plus my own bodyweight so that was 270 pounds. anyway, i would always hear the pop when i stretched and all, but during this set of dips on my last rep i heard a giant pop, and ever since that day ive been in a HUGE amount of pain. it wont heal.
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Users who thank RCTRIPLEFRESH5 for this post: MythosAlmighty 

replied January 30th, 2010
Looking for others suffering from non-traumatic sternal/manubriu
I injured my sternum at the manubrium 3m ago by hyper flexing my chest while rock climbing. It manifested as a loud pop followed by a slight deformity at the joint. Intense pain with movement followed and now the pain is mostly caused by getting in and out of bed and opening doors. I am still not working my upper body at this point.

I had a xray and CT that were clear and unfortunately because of this most docs don't seem to take me seriously (5 of them). I recently saw a thoracic surgeon who I trust and he believes I ruptured my joint capsule. Does anyone else have experience with this sort of thing?

I am an avid athlete and would like to get back to using my body and lifestyle without pain.
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replied January 30th, 2010
its rctriplefresh 5 again. i got an xray of my sternum,neck,and back and they found nothing wrong. i mso fed up with this.
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replied February 17th, 2010
Wow I am so glad I've read this forum! I have been hearing my sternum crack every time I stretch for the past few years!

I am a fitness instructor for 24 Hour Fitness. I teach a variety of lift classes, cycle classes, and boxing/kickboxing classes. As for my other job I work on computers so I tend to sit on my bed either studying or working with my back slouched.

I've been trying to find time to incorporate yoga because of the downward dog stretch. It feels so good for my chest and it helps my posture.
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replied April 9th, 2010
Epic Pain torn sternum ligaments and popped rib
Hey I tore some ligaments in my sternum 2 months ago by hyper extending them, Now 2 months later i was feeling great so I got back into my martial arts gym and was grappling with a guy who weighed 235 (I''m a 145 fighter) and he pretty much crushed my chest and I felt my sternum pop like in a line down it. Went to the doctor and I''ve pretty much torn out a good majority of the ligaments. He said to breathe deeply because light breathes can mess up your lungs and cause phamonia (spell check). Its the most intense pain I''ve ever experiened every breathe felt like someone was jumping on my sternum, and like someone was stabbing the area around it. If the pain is to intense to breathe deeply then get pain killers from your doctors. Basically he said wait till your comfortable to workout and then just do light running, and slowly "very slowly" step up your workout
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replied June 30th, 2010
Sports related chest and shoulder injury
Hi guys,

actually I'm not sure you'll be able to help but i guess it's worth a try. I'm trying to figure out a recent injury and I was wondering if any of you might have an opinion...

actually a few days ago I was playing soccer, and at one point I slipped and fell hard on my back, basically slamming my upper back, mostly shoulder blades I think, against the ground.... at the same time I felt pain in my chest, and was winded....

as I got up I noticed not only some pain in my shoulders (mild, and they're functionally ok, no fractures there but muscles were a bit stiff) but more importantly a strong pain in my chest when I ran or kicked the ball.... I didn't play much longer but it got worse later, as my muscles cooled down I suppose

basically now I feel extreme pain (chest but spreading to shoulder and shoulder blades) when I cough or sneeze (which I desperately try to avoid because it's agony) breathing seems a little harder than usual (nothing major though) and I also feel pain when I lift my arms (mild) and as I lie down or get up (severe pain when I use pectoral muscles, as I normally would, less when I manouveur into bed laterally...I kind kneel and then lower myself sideways)

while I don't necessarily feel like breathing is impeded I kinda feel like I hunch more than before and my lungs open up less, touching the front of my chest, presumably the sternum, under the manubrium, also causes pain

any thoughts? could it be a hair-line fracture of the stern?

any input would be appreciated
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replied October 14th, 2012
Costochondritis - Stretches ?!
I have developed costochondritis recently (have had for about 4 weeks now) which was following having physio for spasms in my trapezius muscle which meant a lot of stretching of my shoulder blades (shoulder blade squeezes, twisting and puching side to side at front of body) and I beleive I overdid it, or did them with incorrect form as I have now developed costochondritis. Going for a bone scan this week to rule out anything bone related but wanted to ask, my trapezius is starting to spasm again and getting muscular pain in my shoulders etc again and any of the exercises I was prescribed are not suitable now due to my rib issues. Any suggestions how I can relieve my back without doing these stretches/exercises? I am too tender to visit physio I cannot lay on my stomach or back due to such sore ribs Sad
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