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Costochondritis

Question:

What were the symptoms of your costochondritis? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Hilary, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 29

My symptoms of costochondritis were extreme shortness of breath, heavy and weak feeling in chest, and severe aching and stabbing pain. I couldn't sleep as couldn't get comfy. Panic and anxiety shortly ensued. I couldn't swallow any hard food as throat seemed to hurt too much. I lost 30 lb. in weight, unhealthily. I had x-rays, ultrasound, CT, and MRI tests and nothing was diagnosed through those. I then had 3 steroid injections in my chest wall, through into the cartilage and only then did a lot of the pain go.

Comment from: Zombie cupcake, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 19

I have had this horrible costochondritis for 7 weeks with no relief. My symptoms keep getting worse. It started with stabbing pain under my left breast and up into my left chest. I had my gallbladder removed hoping for this to go away. I still had the same pain and went back to the emergency room a week after surgery as the pain also moved into my whole chest and felt like I was being squeezed by a rubber band, and was short of breath. I was in the hospital for 3 days where they did a scope down my throat and said I have an inflamed stomach and duodenum. They gave me celecoxib and a proton pump inhibitor omeprazole to reduce acid and help with the pain. I tried it for 3 days and felt way worse. The pain moved into my back and under both ribs. Both my arms have pins and needles. I also keep getting headaches with dizziness. I went back to my surgeon and he finally diagnosed me with costochondritis and said it would be gone in a couple weeks. It is 7 weeks later and I am worse than before. I have been taking turmeric and only eat fruits and vegetables trying to heal from this. I lost 30 pounds in a month and I am still desperate for help as my pain is every day and not just episodes. I also drink lots of herbal teas, ginger, chamomile and lemon to help with chest tightness but relief is only when lying flat on my back. I do roll up 4 tube socks and lay on the floor with a pillow under my head and sock ball under my back to try and open up my ribs to breathe in the front. This does help a lot but is temporary relief.

Comment from: Melanie, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: December 21

I have had what I believe to be costochondritis for almost a year now. It began on the right side in my back floating ribs, then I began to get pain in the front lower ribs as well. That lasted 8 months off and on and then I had no symptoms for almost two months. About a week ago I was at work and felt pain in my lower left floating ribs. I felt like my ribs were squished in or out of place; or like the muscles holding them in place were ripped. The strange thing is I have been on meloxicam for bursitis in my knee for almost two weeks so having this pain was strange for me. I thought it could be a back spasm from dehydration but after many water bottles and days later the pain is still there. Now the right back side is starting to hurt again. Also noted I frequently have popping in my sternum, like a knuckle pop. I have been trying to see a doctor but no one I call says they 'do ribs'. I tried orthopedic, thoracic, etc. I suppose I will see a regular doctor.

Comment from: Susan, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

I was diagnosed with costochondritis about 3 years ago. The pain was centered on both sides of my rib cage and across my abdomen. It was severe at first; took a lot of ibuprofen and used a heating pad. I had injections which did not help, and physical therapy which did not help. A lot of my pain, I think, was caused from stress and my doctor put me on clonazepam (anti-anxiety medication) and I continued to take ibuprofen. It reduced my pain by about 50 percent. It eventually went away, but I still get it back. It is really bad right now. I also have chronic constipation and find that when I do finally have a bowel movement, it reduces the pain. I sure wish there was some solution to this problem. It's not fun and really curtails your activities.

Comment from: frebyrd38, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 13

I was diagnosed with costochondritis in 2013. The pain is under my left breast behind the breast to the side of the breast under the armpit and around to the middle of the back. When it flares up it is very, very painful. Usually I am given antibiotics and a Medrol pack which seems to ease the pain but it truly never goes away. I have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia so I have learned to live with it. Just got to take it easy for a while and take what is prescribed to you and Motrin or Aleve. I also use ice packs and a heating pad depending on the weather outside. Cold aggravates it in the winter also. So I get most of my flare ups in winter. Thinking about all of you who have it. I sure know the pain.

Comment from: Darce, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 13

So those of you who complain of pain under the arm from costochondritis might want to seek out a physical therapist who can work with first and second rib dysfunction. This has helped me greatly!

Comment from: joyfully, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 20

After a visit to the chiropractor, my ribs seemed to be hurt. I went to my doctor and he said this was trauma induced costochondritis and gave me steroids and limitations of not reaching above my head, not lifting more than 20 lb, no twisting of the torso, and to use ice/heat intermittent therapy. Prognosis is it will take 2 weeks.

Comment from: In Pain, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 26

I was diagnosed with costochondritis in 2008 after many visits to many different doctors who kept telling me I had an ulcer. I even rushed myself of to the emergency room and had x-rays and ECGs done, thankfully no heart condition was found. However my pain generally starts in my left breast and within an hour has moved down to my left lower ribs so severe that I still think it is a heart attack. I take an anti-inflammatory medicine which soothes it a bit but I have this attack 1 or 2 times a week and feel I can't go through life with this pain anymore, surely there must be a cure!

Comment from: Carmel, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 02

With costochondritis I have very severe pain and tenderness in tissues across left breastbone into breast and out to the back of left breast; also underarm tenderness on left hand side. Tissue in this area feels sore to touch and very tender. I have quite a stabbing pain, severe at times. Almost inclined to take your breath away and sore when you take a breath.

Comment from: rusty, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

My symptom of costochondritis is burning in the upper chest area from left to right. It hurts in warm or hot weather but it is worse in cold weather.

Comment from: Yummie54, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 08

Movement and coughing was so very painful with costochondritis.

Comment from: Princess, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

I have been suffering with this costochondritis pain for quite some time now. This is worse than labor pain. There are mornings I can't do anything with my left arm, can't breathe too hard because that causes the pain to be more severe. I took prescribed medications and none of them helped. Just wish there was a cure for this. I want to live a normal life without worrying or waking up with this excruciating pain.

Comment from: mark, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 25

While camping alone about a year ago, I started to have chest pain and shortness of breath. I tried to get in my truck to go home but never made it. Someone thought I was having a heart attack and called an ambulance. In the ambulance my blood pressure went up to 280 over 200. I got to hospital, had a chest x-ray, EKG, and blood work. Everything came back normal. I had blood work and an EKG every 2 hours for the next 12 hours, everything came back normal. The doctors said it was inner chest wall pain, costochondritis.

Comment from: Anna, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I have had flare ups of costochondritis for years. My doctors told me that stress brings it on. It is horribly painful and debilitating when it strikes. It appeared to be a heart attack the first time it happened. I was relieved that it wasn't a heart problem but not happy that there is nothing I can do to prevent it. As far as I know there is no treatment other than painkillers and using a heating pad.

Comment from: Elfina, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 18

I have had chronic costochondritis for over 15 years. It started after a car accident. When I laugh it kicks in and I have to hold my ribs in until it subsides. The pain is very intense and I feel as if it puffs up like a balloon. I can feel the swelling go down in stages as the pain releases. It happens sometimes when I cough or sneeze, or when I am in an odd position. I never know when it will kick in and I really hate it. I have severe osteoporosis too and mild psoriasis flare-ups occasionally.

Comment from: C.S., (Patient) Published: April 08

I had chest pain on the left side of my chest near the breast bone or ribs and also on the left side of the breast in the ribs. I was sent to the hospital overnight for observation. A heart monitor was put on and electrocardiograph (2), a nuclear stress test (2) and an x-ray were taken. Before the stress test one after the other 7 vials of blood was taken. Every test came out good. Final diagnosis was inflammation of the lining of the ribs; costochondritis. I wish I had been diagnosed with this before rather than after 24 hours in the hospital.

Comment from: Willie, Male (Patient) Published: April 02

I have been struggling with this costochondritis chest pain for a number of years. It would start with a severe sharp pain on my left chest side about where the heart would be. At first I thought it was heart attack, but being the quiet type I kept it to myself. The sharp pain would grow into what felt like a massive vise around my chest area and closing fast. Then a massive pain would move up my chest to my jaws on both sides of my face and from there it would go up into my temples and really be a screaming pain. Fifty percent of the time I'm forced to live with it until it just passes, but sometimes I'm able to take a large drink of water and it feels like a mass is being pushed down the old tube and I get instant relief; until the next time, that is.

Comment from: lmh0392, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 27

I had a bad cough in the fall. Before I knew it I had this horrible pain on my left side. I had trouble breathing, sometimes even a certain way I moved caused tremendous pain. After a few months the pain seemed to go away. Then last week I started coughing again and its back worse than before. I have been taking Aleve and it helps a little. I am at my wits end. The heating pad helps some when I go bed. I plan on going back to my family doctor, and I am just hoping there is a medication out there to help costochondritis!

Comment from: Peach, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 09

This is my second time being diagnosed with costochondritis in an emergency room (ER). I have sharp pains on my left side that woke me up from a sleep. It hurts to lay on my back or left side. The doctor prescribed pain and anti-inflammatory medications. I was also given a shot of pain medications in the ER, which took the pain from a 10 to 3 within an hour.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

I have suffered with costochondritis for at least 4 years. I am in so much pain, this is the worst pain I have suffered. I am going to try heat pad, am on morphine, and tramadol. My heart goes out to my fellow suffers.

Comment from: lefty0803, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 27

My breastbone is sore and tender to touch. I experienced this symptom several years ago and learned it may be costochondritis, inflammation of the area where ribs (usually the 4th, 5th, and/or 6th) attach to the breastbone. Although I haven't learned of a specific cause, costochondritis is usually harmless, and is known to occur in patients with psoriatic arthritis. I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis about 15 years ago and receive infused Remicade to treat my symptoms. Five years ago, I survived a septic staph infection that arose from total knee replacement surgery. Fortunately, my infection succumbed to a long course of infused, powerful antibiotics. Although I lost part of my memory, have chronic fatigue, and have needed multiple joint replacements since the staph infection, I feel fortunate to be alive and can deal with the relatively innocuous pain of costochondritis.

Comment from: saj, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 10

I got pain on my chest wall. I have done all investigations and doctor said I have costochondritis and I am suffering for nearly one year. It is sometime so painful. I had loads of painkillers, but nothing has been working, not even any gel. I don't know how long I have to suffer with it.

Comment from: Sher, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 09

I have costochondritis for a month now. I went to the emergency room thinking it was my heart. EKG, blood work, CT scan all normal. I have tried NSAIDs, heating pad, pain patches, and nothing is helping. It is affecting my quality of life. I dread it can go on for years. I am going to try massage therapy.

Comment from: taschidelek, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 21

I knew I had done something wrong when I heaved a heavy backpack strap over just one shoulder, instead of carefully scooting down and getting both straps positioned on my back, before standing upright. After two days I went to the doctor, as I couldn't exercise. My sleep wasn't affected, but I was worried I might have broken a rib. If I coughed or sneezed, the pain was an 11 on a 1-10 point scale. The doctor had me cough and had me move through a set of exercises. The diagnosis was easy. The remedy has been to rest my left arm (no exercise or heavy weight) and take Aleve for a week. After two days I feel fine, but will follow his orders to be sure. I'm going to be more careful with suitcases and heavy things in general since I am over 70.

Comment from: thoughtfulchick, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

The pain is almost as bad as when I had three broken ribs. At times, only hurts when twisting or bending over. I had sever pain with pressure on my chest. Ice packs and rest help me the most with the pain.

Comment from: jill j., 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 02

My pain started after a battle with a cold and horrible hacking cough. I am also pregnant and have been gagging and throwing up, which my doctor said could also have contributed to this condition. It started as a dull ache under my left breast, but after a couple of days I could hardly breathe. Since I am pregnant, my doctor could not prescribe the normal course of treatment (anti-inflammatories and pain medications, so I am using acetaminophen and ice with very minimal relief. I am going on three weeks of horrible pain!

Comment from: Trudy, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: August 21

I was diagnosed with costochondritis four or five years ago. At the time I was told there was no known cause and no cure. I can also not take anything but Tylenol because of other issues. At the present I am having the most severe pain I have ever endured with this.

Comment from: ScareyCat, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I had chest pain for over a week. I assumed I had a bronchial problem when I experienced shortness of breath and tenderness of the chest area. I decided to call 911 when I felt fullness in my chest while bending over. That scared me. I got to the ER, and doc said I had something called costochondritis. I was stunned but glad it was not heart-related. Anti-inflammatory meds helped with the pain.

Comment from: Connie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

I was diagnosed with costochondritis. I have intermittent chest pain.

REFERENCE:

Firestein, Gary S., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, Ninth Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2013.

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