Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Pain between Breasts - Causes and Treatment

The area in between the breasts is sensitive as it is where the breastbone lies. It consists of connective tissues and skin. It is the meeting point between the collarbone and ribs.

If there is a discomfort or pain between breasts, then you need to have it tended right away. It should be a cause for concern, especially if the pain is severe that it hinders you to perform your activities of daily living. (1, 2, 3)

Image 1: A pain in between the breasts can be caused by a lot of different things.
Picture Source:

A sharp pain between breasts can be caused by a lot of things. If the pain is superficial, then it could be linked with some sort of a skin condition or inflammation on the underlying tissues. A sharp deep pain can be serious in nature considering the organs and other structures in between the breasts and the surrounding areas.

What organ is located in the center of the chest? Some of the important organs in the center of the chest include:

  • Heart
  • Lower airways
  • Great blood vessels
  • Part of the lungs
  • Some parts of the esophagus (2, 3)

What causes pain in the middle of your chest?

The pain between breasts can be caused by a lot of things. We are going to sort the causes based on the origin.

Picture 2: A sunburn is one of the causes of superficial pain between the breasts.
Photo Source:

Superficial pain between breasts

Most of the time the pain between breasts is only skin deep/superficial. The common reasons include:

  1. Sunburn. If you are wearing revealing clothing and the sun is shining bright, there is a tendency of sunburn. The skin in the chest area swells and inflames. There are obvious redness and tenderness, which can cause pain.
  2. Skin irregularities/impurities secondary to underlying medical conditions like shingles, acne vulgaris, and dermatitis. (2, 3, 4, 5)

Moderate to deep sharp pain between breasts

A fracture of the sternum is one of the underlying causes of pain between the breasts.

If the pain is more than just skin deep, then the possible problems lie in the inside structure. It has something to do with the bones, joints, cartilage, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The breastbone has three parts: the manubrium, sternum, and xiphoid process. Other bony structures include either side of the collarbone (clavicle), ribs, and costal cartilage.

  1. Fracture of the sternum (breastbone) – A sudden blow to the chest can fracture the sternum leading to pain between breasts and the surrounding areas.
  2. Costochondritis – It is a condition in which the costal cartilages are inflamed causing pain in the chest area, specifically in between the breasts.
  3. Arthritis – A joint inflammation can affect the areas in between the breasts as there are numerous joints in that area.
  4. Strain – An overexerted muscle can lead to a strain leading to inflammation and pain. If you overexert your muscles such as in the case of training or consistently lifting heavy objects, then you can feel pain between the breasts.
  5. Tendonitis – It is the inflammation of the tendon secondary to overstretching and muscle strain.
  6. Sprain – An injured or inflamed ligament in the breast area can cause pain between the breasts. If you overstretched or overexerted, then there could be a possibility of a sprain.
  7. Sternum cancer – It is a group of tumor that affects the structure of the chest cavity, which includes breast tumor. What are the symptoms of sternum cancer? The symptoms are not evident until the condition gets worse. In the latter stage, the patient experiences a cough that is less likely to respond to treatment, expectoration of blood, backache, and shortness of breath. (4, 5, 6, 7)

Pain between breasts secondary to underlying organs and blood vessels

Pain in between the breasts can be a sign of an underlying heart condition image photo picture

Image 4: Pain in between the breasts can be a sign of an underlying heart condition.
Picture Source:

The chest area holds important organs such as the heart and great blood vessels. It is actually the primary reason why any types of sharp deep chest pain should not be taken for granted. Some of the possible circumstances that could happen include:

  1. Angina pectoris – The heart muscles are not receiving sufficient blood supply secondary to coronary artery disease. The patient feels a sharp pain in between the breasts and in other areas of the chest as well. If left untreated could lead to a heart attack.
  2. Pericarditis – It is the inflammation of the pericardium (lining around the heart) secondary to infection and/or trauma to the chest wall.
  3. Myocardial infarction – A part of the heart muscle dies secondary to insufficient blood flow. Signs of myocardial infarction include chest pain, left arm pain, dizziness, and excessive sweating.
  4. Aortic aneurysm – A part of the aortic wall bulges leading to aortic dissection. Eventually, it could lead to rupture causing severe pain and inflammation behind the breastbone.
  5. Bronchitis and tracheitis – The bronchi and the trachea are inflamed secondary to infection. They cause the bronchi to constrict which impedes the flow of air.
  6. Pneumonia – The lungs are inflamed secondary to infection. The lungs are adjacent to the chest which explains why pain and inflammation can somehow be felt in the chest area.
  7. Pleuritis – The lining of the lungs is inflamed secondary to infections. The patient experience pain between the breasts which is exacerbated with breathing.
  8. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – The stomach acid increases and enters the esophagus causing irritation. Clinical manifestations include burning chest pain and nausea.
  9. Esophageal ulcers – An open sore is formed in the esophagus’ inner wall. (5, 7, 8, 9, 10)

When should you see your doctor?

Some causes of pain between the breasts are less serious while others require immediate medical attention. You should see your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:

  • You have had direct blow or trauma to the chest leading to extreme pain.
  • The pain between breasts is accompanied by symptoms of heart attack such as chest tightness and difficulty breathing.
  • Pain between the breasts is persistent and does not improve with time.
  • Pain is intense that it hinders you from performing activities of daily living.