Costochondritis: What it is, symptoms and treatment

 Costochondritis: What it is, symptoms and treatment

Lena Fisher

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum bone, located in the middle of the chest and responsible for supporting the collarbone and ribs. The condition leads to chest pain and can even be mistaken for a heart attack.

Although similar to Tietze's Syndrome, in costochondritis there is no swelling of the joint. Therefore, the disease is responsible for 10% to 30% of chest pain complaints in children and adolescents.

Thus, patients with costochondritis often experience pain whose intensity varies according to the movements involving the trunk, such as deep breathing, physical stress, and pressure on the chest.

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There is no specific cause for costochondritis. However, some factors may favor inflammation, such as:

  • Pressure on the chest, such as is caused by the seat belt when braking suddenly, for example;
  • Bad posture;
  • Arthritis;
  • Trauma or injury to the thoracic region;
  • Physical exertion of some activity;
  • Deep breathing;
  • Repetitive movements such as sneezing and coughing;
  • Arthritis;
  • Fibromyalgia.

Read also: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Understand the problem

Symptoms of Costochondritis

The main symptom of the disease is chest pain. Although the pain is limited to one region - mainly the left side of the chest - it can radiate to other places in the body, such as the back and abdomen.

In addition, other symptoms may also appear:

  • Pain when coughing;
  • Pain when breathing;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Sensitivity to touch in the affected region.

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis is made through tests such as chest X-rays, CT scans, and electrocardiograms. In this way, with the results obtained, the doctor will indicate the most appropriate treatment.

Generally, the best way to treat costochondritis pain is to rest, apply a warm compress to the area, and avoid sudden movements. In addition, stretching exercises help relieve the symptoms.

In some cases it is necessary to treat with painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs. If the pain is at a severe level, the doctor may give injections and indicate physical therapy.

Lena Fisher

Lena Fisher is a wellness enthusiast, certified nutritionist, and author of the popular health and well-being blog. With over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition and health coaching, Lena has dedicated her career to helping people achieve their optimal health and live their best life possible. Her passion for wellness has led her to explore various approaches to achieving overall health, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices. Lena's blog is a culmination of her years of research, experience, and personal journey towards finding balance and well-being. Her mission is to inspire and empower others to make positive changes in their lives and embrace a healthy lifestyle. When she's not writing or coaching clients, you can find Lena practicing yoga, hiking the trails, or experimenting with new healthy recipes in the kitchen.