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Old 08-04-2004, 10:19 PM   #1
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Costochondritis

Can anyone help me out with this - after all my trips to Emergency and many other tests from my doctor they finally told me I have this.

I have read a little on the matter and think maybe they diagnosed this because they couldn't find any other reason. I am extremely fit and eat well so not sure how this has struck me.

Anyone had this - how long does it take to clear up? Proving to be quite painful! Can it lead to further health problems down the track etc?

I have been refered to a Rheumatologist - perhaps he can answer my questions but I wouldn't mind hearing from others with similar experiences.

Thanks!

 
Old 08-05-2004, 06:54 AM   #2
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Re: Costochondritis

There is no real definate cause and about 10% of the population have it. It can likely be caused by previous viral infections, straining when coughing, fungus infections or Bacterial. Men have it more often than women do.

Possibly you had a cold or something similiar such as bronchitis that brought this on. I have a similiar problem as well and it is very painful when it acts up. Anti-imflamatories help emmensly when you are having a bout of it. Heat and ice can also be helpful. I too had several ER visits for chest pain before being diagnosed. It flairs up every now and again so at least it is not a constant thing, at least for me.

Exercising, trauma or an infection can cause an onset. Is it possible there is an exercise that you may be doing that would bring on a bout of it?

General symptoms are:
Chest pain associated with costochondritis is usually preceded by exercise, minor trauma, or an upper respiratory infection.


The pain usually will be sharp and located on your front chest wall. It may radiate to your back or abdomen and is more common on your left side.

The most common site of pain is your fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs. This pain increases as you move your trunk or take deep breaths. Conversely, it decreases as your movement stops or on quiet breathing.

The reproducible tenderness you feel when you press on the rib joints (costochondral junctions) is a constant feature of costochondritis. Without this tenderness, a diagnosis of costochondritis is unlikely.

Tietze syndrome, on the other hand, exhibits swellings at the rib-cartilage junction. Costochondritis has no noticeable swelling. Neither condition involves pus or abscess formation.

Tietze syndrome usually affects the junctions at the second and third ribs. The swelling may last for several months. The syndrome can develop as a complication of surgery on your sternum months to years after the operation.

When costochondritis occurs as a result of infection after surgery, you will see redness, swelling, or pus discharge at the site of the surgery.


Hopefully some of that information was helpful to you. Good luck, I am sure the Rhuemy will probably put you on an anti-imflamatory which should in fact help. If it still is hurting with medications then try the heat or ice, if all else return to your doctor and see if they feel mild pain medication might help during a flare up in addition to anti-imflamatories.

 
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Old 08-05-2004, 11:35 AM   #3
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Re: Costochondritis

Hi, my husband has this. He got it after tearing the cartalage in his sternum and ribs by holding a several hundred pound trani on his shoulders while doing the job. His sternum has actually sunken in when he's laying on his side and he has to throw his arms back to pop it out and it's almost enough to floor him.

It's extremely painful and they said there was really no cure, just that he needs to quit being a mechanic....not gonna happen.

My best advice is to do some type of physical therapy with someone who is skilled in this because you can do more damage than good if done wrong. Also, my friend who is an EMT said that it's possible during CPR to cave his chest in. I don't know if it's only while it's flaring up, but may be something to look in to. You shouldn't kill yourself with the worry over this, this is just something that I came across.

Also, anti-inflammitories are helpful with the swelling/inflamation in the cartlage...just don't do what my hubby did and take them just whenever....keep on a schedule and don't go days between doses. Also, hydrotherapy/water aerobics may be helpful in building more muscle around the area to support the strained areas.

My friend also does massage therapy and has worked on my hips....one side of my pelvis is dropped and causes excruciating pain, but she stabilized the muscles around my hips to allow my ligaments a little more relief. They had become stretched out over time and the muscles were trying to compensate and in turn, made the damage worse because they had no business doing the jobs they were trying to do.

His has since eased up considerably, but he went through a phase where he was in constant pain and if he got a chest cold, forget it....he was miserable!

So, take care not to do things that may strain that area....especially lifting and certain twisting...look up proper body mechanics and use them. You may also find that using a 12" wide ace-type bandage, wrapped snuggly around your chest will help. Just don't use it for the long-haul as it may decrease the muscles ability to stabilize because their job is being done for them.

Use it when in pain or doing things that aggrivate it and if sleeping on your side seems to aggrivate it...STOP!!! LOL If it hurts, don't do it....wise words from my doc grandpa. The only thing that you should never stop doing if it hurts is breathe...other than that, if it's not necessary to living....doesn't need to be done.

I know you're worried and scared, but if it will ease up in my hubby's case...who's pig-headed and never listens to a doc or takes prescribed meds or advice, if you do even 1/2 of what you're told, you should do much better.

Good luck.
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Old 08-09-2004, 04:50 PM   #4
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Re: Costochondritis

Thanks for your information - I was starting to feel like the whole world thinks I was making it up!!! I've managed to get a small dose of the flu - coughing absolutley kills!!!

Just wondering from your experiences about playing sport and when it's suitable to return. I am very active but have had to give up in the mean time - I played half a game on Saturday and I honestly thought that I was going to die - I could not breathe at all - my team mates were going to call an ambulance as I collasped and was gasping for air but it passed after 2 minutes and I just had a sore chest for 24 hours after. I have been prescribed anti-inflammatories but I feel they aren't doing a thing.

I've been finding breathing during the day very difficult - my lung capacity is only at 63% so the doc gave me ventolin though I don't think it helps.... when will this go away!!! My appt with the Rhumetologist isn't until December

Also - my doctor has sent me to a respiatory specialist - is finding it hard to breathe common with Costo?? They found an enlarged Thymus mesuring roughly 2.5 x 3.5mm and they want to know if perhaps that is what is causing the not being able to breathe aspect....

Bit lost at the moment - not to mention sick of being in pain!! Don't like taking pain killers for prolonged periods.

 
Old 08-09-2004, 06:22 PM   #5
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Re: Costochondritis

What you have is very real. When I was first diagnosed, I'd say some 15 or so years ago I thought the doctors were making it up! It wasn't until I did research I found out that it in fact is very real.

Unfortunately I can't answer the sport one as I have been disabled since childbirth and have never been able to partake in sporting activities. Anti-imflamatories take a while to kick in, several weeks in fact. So right now they may not seem to be working at all for you unfortunately.

I have found that sometimes ice or heat will help ease up the pain sometimes. Breathing can be difficult with the Costco but I am sure the therapist can give you more detailed information in what she or he has seen in patients from the past.

Having pain for any long period of time is miserable, unfortunately sometimes it is something we have to as humans learn to cope with. Hopefully once your meds get to working you'll feel better and maybe only have relapses now and again. I do find personally I have more problems in the winter than in any other time of the year.
Not sure where you live but where I am it is seasonal here so we do get snow and it is cold. The summer seems to be the best unless I am over doing it and it flares up.

I would call the rhuemy and ask to be put on a waiting list if someone cancels. I find that a good rhuemy is often booked up months in advance so yes it is terribly frustrating. If you feel you can't wait that long and your insurance allows you to go to various doctors you might want to call around. One good source of doctor info is the arthritis foundation, they can usually be found in every state or you can visit them online and look up doctors there.

Good luck and I sure hope things ease up for you soon!


I'd give it a few weeks till you are feeling better. Don't push it as you are going to make it worse on yourself.

 
Old 08-09-2004, 08:10 PM   #6
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Re: Costochondritis

I've had bouts of it, mine was brought on by a 10 foot fall landing on my chest years ago, it acts up now and then especally if I strain the chest area. I finally had a coritzone injections in the 5th joint and it relieved it for a couple years now it is slipping back again because I lifted something too heavy or awkward. It is painful and I take anti inflamatories for it which help some. It is under the arthritis umbrella as well.

 
Old 08-11-2004, 10:06 AM   #7
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Re: Costochondritis

costochondritis is caused by a variety of viruses, most commonly Coxsackie B

Tsietze's syndrome is said to be caused by dislocation of the costochondral junction

 
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