Pectoral or Sternum Pain After Physical Exertion Exacerbated by Swallowing, Burping and Coughing


Q: Hello Doctor, I went body boarding in the ocean 3 days ago. When I would get off the board, I used my arms in a push-up motion as to not scrape my knees. I'm not used to working that muscle group. I had general muscle weakness the rest of the day in my arms but no pain yet. The next day, the muscles in both arms were both very sore along with my pectoral muscles at the same time. I'm assuming this would be DOMS. If it were a strain, I've read that you would feel it right away. The pain across my pectorals was quite severe on the first day (2 days ago). I wouldn't feel it so much at rest, but small movements such as bending, standing or sitting would give pain mainly just to the right of the sternum on the pecs. I felt no tenderness to touch on the pectorals or sternum. Yesterday, the pain had lessened to where I had a bit more mobility. I could bend further without much pain, but still some. It seems to be more centered around the sternum. Yesterday, I found that swallowing, burping or coughing would cause pain(lasting a few seconds) in the center of my sternum even though the overall pain with mobility had decreased some. Today (day 3 of pain onset), the overall mobility pain has decreased even further, but swallowing, burping and coughing still hurt the same area on the center of the sternum. Is this normal? If so, I would appreciate your opinion on how swallowing can affected a hurt pectoral muscle, if that's what it is. I should also add that I've recently had a full heart work-up(including echo) with my annual physical and all was fine. Thanks.


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