Pain/Burning Behind Breastbone

What Causes Pain Behind The Breastbone?

Pain behind the breastbone can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'critical'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose pain behind the breastbone, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "pain behind the breastbone" as a symptom.  Here are four possibilities:
  • Esophagitis
  • Heartburn
  • Food Allergies
  • Angina

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
having asthma
non-specific arm pain
frequent rotten egg burps
occasional episodes of diarrhea
H2-blocker antacid use
moderate epigastric pain
craving specific foods
rapid pulse rate
frequent acid reflux during sleep
bags under eyes
gallbladder attacks
history of ovarian cysts
... and more than 60 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of pain behind the breastbone:
Cause Probability Status
Angina 93% Confirm
Heartburn 19% Unlikely
Food Allergies 5% Ruled out
Esophagitis 2% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having chest discomfort, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Have you had an aching or burning sensation behind your breastbone (top-middle chest)?
Possible responses:
→ Never had it / don't know
→ Probably had it/minor episode(s) now resolved
→ Major episode(s) now resolved
→ Current minor problem
→ Current major problem
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either past pain/burning behind breastbone or pain/burning behind breastbone, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Allergy to Foods (Hidden)

Wheat has been known to be a cause of esophagitis, as have other hidden food allergens.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
Symptom Entry
Full Explanations
Optional Doctor Review
Review (optional)
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