Costochondritis symptoms

Costochondritis is a condition where the cartilage between the ribs and breastbone become inflamed. This is an extremely painful condition that can be confused with a heart attack since the pain is most severe at the breastbone where the cartilage and ribs join together. Any time you have pain in the chest you should see your doctor for a correct diagnosis. The doctor will take your patient history, x-rays and an EKG. If your tests come back normal the doctor will do a simple test for costochondritis by pressing on the breastbone. If putting pressure on the breastbone causes more pain then most likely the diagnosis is costochondritis. They do not know what causes this condition but speculation is that it is caused by a viral infection or a trauma to the rib case. It may also be a bacterial infection.

There is another condition that costochonritis symptoms can be confused with. This condition is Tietze Syndrome, which is another condition that has symptoms of sudden pain in the chest, shoulder and arm. Tietze Syndrome can also cause a sudden swelling in the arm. A medical doctor can rule out Tietze Syndrome by doing certain tests.

Costochondritis symptoms include tightness in the chest along with a sharp pain that can worsen when you move or breathe deeply. It may be a gnawing, aching pain in the chest. Wearing a bra or sudden movements can be excruciating. This pain can be felt in more than one place, but is most prevalent on the left side of the chest. Costochondritis symptoms are usually worse at the start of the inflammation and can subside into a dull ach or constant tenderness in the ribs over time.

When the person finds it difficult to breathe because it is painful they usually think that the problem is in their lungs. It can be more painful if the person coughs, which involves the lungs. The problem is swelling around the lungs however. When the difficulty and pain is due to breastbone inflammation it is because of swelling around the rib cage. Costochondritis symptoms can be alarming. The nerves in the rib cage that run around to the spine can also be affected by this pain radiating through them. This pain may also run down the nerves in the arms and shoulders as well. This is another cause for confusion with heart attack symptoms.

Costochondritis symptoms can last up to a year, but in most cases costochondritis symptoms go away after a few days up to about two months. However, some people suffer from chronic costochondritis which can last for longer periods of time. When this condition is chronic the symptoms can become stronger if the person is lifting heavy objects or makes a sudden move. Make sure you see your doctor if you have chronic costocondritis symptoms.

In the United State this condition accounts for 30 per cent of the patients who go to hospital emergency rooms complaining of chest pains. However this condition is not a medical emergency and can be treated with Ibuprofen and other anti inflammatory medications. The problem is that the symptoms are very scary and similar to heart attack. Real heart attack symptoms usually include nausea, profuse sweating, pain spreading to the neck or jaw as well as fainting and severe pain in the chest. It is imperative that anyone who is experiencing chest pains should be checked for heart attack.

Costochondritis symptoms can worsen with stress. This is because undergoing stress can make the muscles in the chest tense. Many people experience costochondritis symptoms more in humid weather as well. Try to avoid lifting heavy objects, pushing or pulling motions to lessen the severity of these symptoms. People should also avoid repetitive motions and the use of caffeine. For more information on costochondritis symptoms and its treatment you should see your medical doctor for advice.

Last updated on Mar 5th, 2011 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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