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Costochondritis Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Costochondritis?

It is a condition which tends to cause chest pain because of the inflammation of bones and cartilage in your chest wall. Costochondritis is also known as Tietze’s syndrome. Inflammation of the junction that connects the rib and breastbone (sternum) causes costochondritis. Cartilage (at this junction) connects these bones. An inflamed and irritated cartilage triggers costochondritis. Merely depending upon the extent of irritation and inflammation, the condition can be very painful. The pain of the condition may mimic the pain of a heart attack.

What Are The Symptoms Of Costochondritis?

Tenderness and pain of costochondritis typically:

  •  Worsens while you cough or take deep breaths.
  •  Targets more than a particular rib.
  •  Occurs on your breastbone left side.

What Causes Costochondritis?

Most instances of costochondritis tend to have no apparent reason. However, sometimes, the condition may be a consequent of:

  •  Strenuous exercise and weight lifting.
  •  Severe coughing.
  •  Blow to your chest.
  •  Specific health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  •  Joint infection such as tuberculosis.
  •  Cancerous and noncancerous tumors.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Costochondritis?

Following factors are identified for increasing the risks of costochondritis:

  •  According to the reports, women are more likely to develop costochondritis as compared to men.
  •  Individuals older than the age of forty are more diagnosed with costochondritis.

What Are The Complications Of Costochondritis?

The condition can be a signal towards other inflammatory diseases such as psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, which indeed require treatment.

What Are The Other Names Of Costochondritis?

Costochondritis is also known by the following names:

  •  Tietze’s disease.
  •  Chest wall pain.
  •  Costosternal chondrodynia.
  •  Costosternal syndrome.

How Costochondritis Is Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose costochondritis, the doctor will perform a thorough physical examination. He or she will feel along the breastbone in order to find out the swelling areas. The doctor will also move the arms in specific directions for triggering the symptoms.
Usually, the pain of costochondritis mimics the pain of osteoarthritis, gastrointestinal problems, heart attack and lung disease; thus, for this particular reason, the doctor can suggest electrocardiogram or chest X-ray for ruling out any other condition causing chest pain.

How Is Costochondritis Treated?

Mostly, costochondritis resolves on its own without needing any treatment, however in few instances, it can last for some months or even longer. In case your pain fails to respond over-the-counter pain relievers, consult your doctor. The treatment of costochondritis aims to relief pain and discomfort. Few treatment options of costochondritis include:

  •  Medication: prescription NSAIDs, narcotics, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs.
  •  Physical therapy: stretching exercises, nerve stimulation.
  •  Surgical or other procedures: if for instance, your symptoms do not improve by conservative measures, the doctor can recommend injecting corticosteroids and numbing drug directly into your affected joint.


Since the exact cause of costochondritis is unknown, however, few changes in our lifestyle can greatly help minimizing the risk of costochondritis:

  •  Avoid lifting heavy weights.
  •  Take preventive steps to avoid respiratory infections.
  •  One must not perform strenuous exercises.
  •  Children should be encouraged to carry their school bags proper, on both shoulders.

By : Natural Health News

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