Sudden brief “dings” of pain that occur in the divot at the bottom of the sternum might have a benign cause.

I can only speak from my experience, but it’s very fair to conclude that the cause of the brief “dings” of pain in that little divot between my breasts, at the bottom of the breastbone, had a musculoskeletal cause.

When you experience interesting sensations of pain or aching, you should record when this happens and anything that might have occurred that day or the day prior, so that over time, if these events keep recurring, you’ll maybe be able to see a pattern.

I began having the short sudden pain at the end of my breastbone, and had not recollected that I had documentation of this going back more than three years.

There were only a handful of notations in my health log, but as I did a “search and find” on the keyword divot, several entries popped up in the log.

The description was the same for all the entries, and there was such a long time lapse between them and my most recent episodes, that I had no choice but to conclude that it was the same benign cause.

However, I had not established a pattern for the previous incidents.

But this time, I did. It came from doing narrow to medium grip pull-downs at the gym on the “lat machine.” There was a correlation.

It seemed that whenever I had this divot pain at the end of my sternum — either earlier that day or the day before, I had done pull-downs.

The clincher came when about 40 minutes after doing pull-downs, when I was in the grocery store next door to the gym, I got sudden dings in the divot.

But why would this be happening when I’ve been lifting weights for most of my life? Well, that’s just how the musculoskeletal system sometimes behaves.

Another consideration is that I had NOT been doing any kind of pull-downs (let alone chin-ups and pull-ups) for a very long time, due to tendonitis in my elbow. So I was just getting back into heavier pull-downs.

As the tendonitis has been clearing up, I’ve been increasing the resistance on the pull-downs. I’m able to deadlift quite a bit, but my rehab isn’t complete when the pulling is done from above my head.

If you’ve been experiencing sudden brief episodes of pain (it wasn’t stabbing or sharp; I’d call it more like a strong ache) right at the divot that’s located at the bottom of your breastbone, document when this occurs and what exercises you’ve been doing recently to see if a pattern shows up.

This isn’t about a diagnosis. It’s about documentation and seeing if an association or pattern emerges over time. This can help you should you decide to see a doctor.

If you’re dumbfounded and/or the pain gets worse or more prolonged, do see a doctor.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 
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