Costochondritis is very painful and it causes tenderness and inflammation on the rib or cartilage connecting to a rib. The specific cause of this condition is not known but it is believed that it occurs due to certain factors such as a blow to the rib area or sternum, injection in costochondral joints,etc. Overuse of joints and muscles surrounding sternum, and a surgery are the other major causes of this health problem. You may feel localized chest pain due to this condition. Costochondritis is relatively harmless and it usually cures without treatment. Compared to males, females are more prone to this health problem. This is also considered as the major cause of chest pain during childhood and adolescents.
Symptoms of Costochondritis
The major costochondritis symptoms are:
- Chest pain,
- Chest tenderness,
- Cough, and
- Breathing difficulties.
This is the first sign of costochondritis and it generally affects either side of sternum, near third to fifth ribs. Most of the chest pain will be very severe and it can be very dull and aching. Usually, the pain may very severe on left side. You may also feel pain in muscles, nerves, ribs, esophagus, blood vessels, lungs and heart.
If the chest pain is very severe, you may feel wheezing, fever, excessive sweating, nausea, palpitations, weakness, faintness, difficulty in breathing, cough, back pain, jaw pain, arm pain, etc. The chest pain will be very severe when you take a deep breath or coughing.
This is the other major costochondritis symptom and it may originate from ribs, skin or muscles of the chest wall. Chest tenderness is also painful and it becomes severe when pressure is applied on chest. If there is chest tenderness, patients will feel chest bruise, chest pain, wheezing, breathing difficulties, cough, abdominal pain, back bruise, back pain, skin swelling, redness, chest swelling, etc. There may also be tenderness in the costochondritis junctions.
Swelling may appear around sternum area and it may also be due to Tietze’s syndrome. Some swelling can be diagnosed by using CT or MRI scan.
Cough is one of the major costochondritis symptoms. It is the sudden blast of air from lungs. This is a process of clearing air passages. Coughing is a defense mechanism of the body to keep the air passages open by expelling mucus, bacteria and foreign substances. Patients with cough may feel breathing difficulties, sinus congestion, wheezing, chest wall pain, fever, etc.
Breathing difficulty is the other problem associated with costochondritis and it will become severe when you take deep breath or get out of breath while doing exercises. If you feel difficulty in taking deep breath due to pain, it can be considered as the symptom of costochondritis. The pain and discomfort can be reduced by taking adequate rest.
There is no specific treatment for costochondritis, but you can use some medicines and home remedies for getting relief from costochondritis symptoms. Rest, non-steroidal anti inflammatory medicines, warm or cold compresses, etc are commonly used for treating costochondritis. If the pain is moderate to severe, you can use narcotic pain medications. Medications such as Ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen, celecoxib, etc are used for getting relief from pain. Muscle spasms can be treated by using cyclobenzaprine, orphenadrine and methocarbamol.