Costochondritis - Treatment

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Costochondritis.
What treatment has been effective for your costochondritis?
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See what others are saying

Published: July 25

For the past few weeks I have been experiencing what I have been calling chest pains. I would grip under my left breast at the top ribs and hold my breath until the pain went away. The pain would come and go often throughout the day. Sometimes staying longer than the last "episode". It was also causing me to have panic attacks as I was convinced that I was having a heart attack. I went to the doctor and they did an EKG and all was normal. She gave me an antidepressant and sent me home. Not being sure about my health care visit and the lack of an official diagnosis I continued to panic and feel as if I was going to have heart attack or stroke. One night I was home alone and I felt the pain and I then went in to a full blown panic attack and called my brother to take me to the ER. I was convinced I was dying. My left arm went numb, hard, and cold. I didn't just think I was dying- I KNEW I WAS DYING. I went to the ER. I actually felt better and wanted to leave the waiting room and go home as the pain had subsided. But I knew I needed to stay and figure this out. They did a CAT scan and there were no blood clots and everything looked fine in there. No Pneumonia, no collapsed lung, nothing. Even the rib that was extremely sore was just fine. They then diagnosed me with costochondritis. I left feeling much better knowing that my heart was good and I was not knocking on heaven’s door. I have been treating myself with a heating pad on my back as I feel some pain in my back now. I have been taking Advil as I cannot take steroids. It has been 2 days since the ER and since I started treating myself with anti inflammatory. So I am still having these pains..

Published: November 09

I believe my most recent occurrence of costochondritis was due to an infection, as it was only finally mitigated by serious antibiotics for an apparent ecoli infection that I may have picked up while traveling to Europe. The infection was apparent from my white blood count that was triple the normal count. The infection may have also caused a bout of diarrhea, which occurred just prior to the onset of severe pain on the left side of my rib cage. I remember having this same pain on several previous occasions. These earlier occurrences may have been due to less serious infections, such as bronchitis, the physical stress of chronic coughing, or even the physical stress associated with severe anxiety. Each time I went to the emergency room for this "chest pain" the doctors immediately went looking for a cardiac situation, which they never found. This last time, I described my "rib cage pain" so as not to trigger the "cardiac" response by the doctor. That worked. He was the one who first diagnosed my costochondritis..