I am 28, I have this same problem. I find it is worse when I sleep on my side, with my shoulders slumped forward. To counter balance on my side, I must ensure my top arm is rested on my hip or behind my back (which is uncomfortable).
When I stand up and pull my shoulders back, I hear a crack and I feel a pop, like cracking knuckles. This relieves the pain temporarily but does not solve the problem. It feels as if the source is in front of my ribs, and not within or behind them.
My best guess is that there is damage to the cartilage, as my sleeping position places a great deal of pressure on this area.
Hello Mary,....and Trance too,
I am sorry you are having sternum pain. There are several conditions that could cause this discomfort. I have some information on those conditions below.
Costochondritis is an inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone, or sternum. The condition causes localized chest pain that you can reproduce by pushing on the cartilage in the front of your ribcage. In general, costochondritis is a relatively harmless condition and usually goes away without treatment.
Tietze Syndrome, on the other hand, is associated with swellings at the rib-cartilage junction, and lasts longer. (Costochondritis has no noticeable swelling.) Neither condition involves pus or abscess formation. Tietze syndrome usually affects the bone-cartilage junctions of the second and third ribs. The swelling may last for several months. The syndrome can develop as a complication of surgery on your sternum, months to years after the operation. However, the cause is usually unknown.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used for the pain, and sometimes local injections of corticosteroids are required.
You may not have either of these conditions. It may just be some painful arthritis or another condition. Sometimes a heating pad on low will help with the pain. I would suggest you make an appt with your PCP and have a good work up. Please let us know how you are doing. I will look forward to your update. Take Care, Tuck