3 Ways to Pop the Sternum

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3 Ways to Pop the Sternum
3 Ways to Pop the Sternum

Sometimes, as you stretch, you may hear a snapping sound coming from the sternum. This popping is usually followed by a feeling of relief, especially when you experience chest muscle pain. It is possible to intentionally reproduce the snapping, and although this is no more dangerous than snapping any other joint in the body, you should see a doctor in case of chronic chest pain or tingling and pain after the snap, as these are signs of more serious problems.


Method 1 of 3: Popping the Sternum with Stretches

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Step 1. Push your elbows back to do a simple stretch that snaps your sternum

Stand up straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your arms at the elbow and lean your chest forward, stretching your rib cage. As you go chest forward, go elbows back. This movement will stretch your chest even further and could end up popping your sternum.

Try to imagine that you are resting your elbows on your back. Did you see the movement? That's what you must do

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Step 2. Rotate your torso from side to side if the first stretch didn't work

Raise your arms so that they are level with your shoulders, then bend your elbows. Twist your torso to the left as far as possible without you having to strain. During the movement, do not move your feet, knees and hips. Then do the same by turning your torso to the right. Repeat the process four or five times, or until you hear your sternum snap.

  • This movement will open your chest, which can help to pop your sternum. Even if the bone doesn't crack, you'll probably feel more relieved from the stretch.
  • Do the exercise standing or sitting, if you prefer.
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Step 3. Do a stretch on a door, for easier variation

Keep one elbow at a 90° angle to your body, pressing your forearm against a doorframe. Move your feet slightly and rotate your torso away from the stop, applying pressure with your forearm to build resistance. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds or until you hear your sternum snap.

Stop the stretch if you feel any tingling in your chest, shoulders, or back

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Step 4. Try the cat and cow posture for popping the sternum using yoga

Kneel down on all fours, with your palms in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. Arch your back up and look down at the floor toward your feet; your spine should be well curved, like a cat hissing. Hold the pose for a few seconds and reverse it, bending your spine down and looking at the ceiling; this is the posture of the cow. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and relax. Repeat the exercise about three times.

The sternum is likely to crack when you enter the cow position

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Step 5. Do a bridge stretch to pop the sternum lying down

Lie on your back on an exercise mat or mat and bend your knees, resting your feet on the floor. Lift your hips, tightening your abdominal muscles and glutes. Hold for a few seconds, relax and lower back towards the floor.

Since the shoulders remain on the floor, this exercise stretches and stretches the sternum well, which can cause a snap

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Step 6. Don't try to pop your sternum more than once a day

As much as daily stretching is recommended, limit popping the sternum to once a day at most. As with any joint, excessive cracking can cause hypermobility - when the joint extends beyond where it should naturally go. This situation can generate chronic pain and increase vulnerability to injury.


Avoid chest-cracking exercises such as diving, as they can affect cartilage over time, causing pain.

Method 2 of 3: Popping the Sternum Using Deep Breathing

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Step 1. Inhale deeply through your nose

Sometimes all it takes is a deep breath to expand the torso and pop the sternum. Sit or lie down and inhale very deeply through your nose. Slowly draw in as much air as possible, counting to four (or even eight if you can) mentally as you inhale.

If you have difficulty inhaling through your nose, inhale through your mouth

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Step 2. Place your hand on your belly to feel the diaphragm use

When breathing through your diaphragm, your chest should remain still and your belly should grow. By resting your hand on your stomach, you will be able to better visualize if you are breathing deeply as indicated.

The expanding movement of the belly is what can cause the sternum to pop

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Step 3. Release air through your mouth

Exhale all the air that has entered the body, taking at least twice as long to release the air. If necessary, mentally count to get the time right.

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Step 4. Repeat the process for a few minutes

Abdominal deep breathing is a great way to relax, and even if your sternum doesn't pop, you'll still feel better. Breathe in this way for one to two minutes, until you feel relaxed or until your sternum pops.

As you breathe, try to relax your necks and shoulders, releasing tension in these areas in your breath

Method 3 of 3: Seeking a Doctor

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Step 1. See a doctor or chiropractor if your muscle pain is ongoing

Have you had swelling, discomfort or tenderness for a while? It is a good idea to seek help from a professional. The problem is likely to have a simple cause, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Your doctor can help you find out if your posture, sleeping position, or exercise habits may be contributing to your discomfort

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Step 2. See a doctor immediately if you feel tightness in your chest

Cardiovascular problems often have symptoms similar to muscle pain. If you are feeling pressure, tightness or contraction in your chest, schedule an appointment as soon as possible; if the situation is more serious or is accompanied by shortness of breath, seek an emergency room immediately.

Other worrisome signs of cardiovascular problems include a burning or crushing sensation inside the chest

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Step 3. Call an ambulance if cracking neck is followed by pain

If you hear a popping sound and feel severe pain, tingling, or numbness there, you may have been injured. It is also common to feel localized swelling in the chest, and it is necessary to seek immediate medical help in all these cases.

If you do not seek medical attention, you could end up making the injury worse


  • Do not try to pop your sternum more than once a day.
  • Avoid exercises that cause repeated popping in your sternum.
  • See a doctor if you experience tightness or pain in your chest constantly.

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