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Please describe your experience with costochondritis.

Picture of Costochondritis: Pain and Inflammation    Costochondritis is inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join the costal cartilage that attaches them to the breastbone (sternum). Costochondritis causes localized chest wall pain and tenderness that can be reproduced by pushing on the involved cartilage in the front of the rib cage. Costochondritis is a relatively harmless musculoskeletal chest pain and usually resolves without treatment. The cause is usually unknown. Costochondritis affects females more often than males (70% versus 30%).Costochondritis is a common cause of chest pain in children and adolescents. It accounts for 10%-30% of all chest pain in children. Annually, doctors evaluate about 650,000 cases of chest pain in young people 10-21 years of age. The peak age for the condition is 12-14 years of age.Overall, costochondritis is one of the most common causes of musculoskeletal chest pain.While chest pain can represent heart disease and heart attack, inflammation around the heart (pericarditis) or lungs (pleuritis), costochondritis is also considered as a possible diagnosis in adults with chest pain.Tietze syndrome, or Tietze's disease, is also a cause of localized musculoskeletal chest pain. Tietze syndrome is distinguished from the more common costochondritis.As opposed to costochondritis in which there is no swelling, Tietze disease is accompanied by a localized swelling at the painful area (the junction of the ribs and breastbone).
230 Responses
Avatar universal
After a biopsy my entire left side hurt.  I was told it would go away in a few days.  After 3 weeks of terrible pain, I was diagnosed with costochondritis.  I could not lift my left arm; it was painful to breathe and to move my left side.  I was prescribed ibuprofen every 6 hours, which sent my blood pressure soaring.  I ended up in the emergency room.
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I have been "suffering" from this nasty condition for almost two months now. I take naproxen prescribed by my doctor every day and use a heating pad applied to the affected area twice a day. My doctor gave me a pack of cortisone which I finished a few days ago. I have tried not to take Vicodin except to help me sleep, but I am really worn down by the pain. It is a constant ache with sharp shooting pains and my skin is extremely sensitive to touch. I have been unable to wear a bra since the start. I've had an X-ray to rule out a broken rib. I've consulted with three doctors who all say nothing but wait it out.
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I had a sore throat which turned into a fever and eventually a bad cough.  The cough has lasted about 3 weeks, but started to go away.  I started to feel a sharp pain in my chest deep under my right breast.  The pain eventually became more and more sharp and painful until I decided to go to the ER.  I am a nurse who works on a cardiac floor, so, I frequently see people with chest pain.  I became afraid that may be I had something seriously wrong with me. All my tests in the ER were negative and I was diagnosed with costochondritis.  The doctor told me to take motrin, but, my pain is still severe.  I have been using a heating pad. Hopefully this will go away soon.
Avatar universal
This is the most excruciating pain ever. I have had a lot of abdominal surgeries and this hurts just as bad. I can't lift left my arm. Every time I breathe, I want to scream.
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I am swelled out on my left side. I have asked several Dr. if it is costochondritis no one seems to know how to diagnosis. It is very painful. I am currently seeing a pulmonologist due to nodules in my lungs. The pulmonologist things the nodules are nothing and that the swelling has nothing to do with the nodules. He has never treated anyone with costochondritis. I have been to the er on several occasions and no knows if it is costochondritis. I feel like I have entered the twilight zone. What kind of Dr. treats costo?
Avatar universal
i have had costochondritis for over 25 years. i have a hard time with my breathing along with the pain in the chest and the ribs. unable to lift anything over 10 lbs and exist with non stop pain. to think that i am going to die with this chronic condition and will never be healthy again makes me want to stop this world and get off. i am unable to work any longer and am now homeless. i wouldn't wish this on anyone. i hope to god no one else has to go thru this as long as i have.
Avatar universal
I thought I was having a heart attack my left side hurt so bad. I went to the doctor he gave me naproxen, that didn't help. Before my results came back I was in some much pain I went to the E.R.They told me what I had Costochondritis.Gave me a shot sent me home. Said use motrin. That doen't work either.Finally my doctor prescribed Tramadol. It works...The pain is intense and it's not going away any time soon but those pills help.
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I thought I was having a heart attack. The experience was overwhelming and scary. I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest.
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I was diagnosed with costochondritis in August 2008 and still have it. My doctor told me in 2008 that it would be gone after six months and how I wish that were true! I have no idea what brings it on. Some days I might have a couple of sharp pain. I had a cortisone injection into the chest in 2008, but it didn't help at all.
Avatar universal
Costochondritis is very painful, at first I thought I was having a heart attack, now I know what it is, I can relax knowing it wasn't my heart. Thanks to the hospital's very good staff; it scares me thinking of not being able to do much at all. I have worked hard all my life, now it hurts so bad just picking up the kettle to fill it.
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A couple of years ago my husband took me to the emergency room because we both thought that I was having a heart attack. Now every once in while I get the chest pain but now it is under my left arm pit. I imagined all sort of things and when I was examined it was the costochondritis again. This is very painful.
Avatar universal
I've suffered from this very painful costochondritis, ever since I broke 4 ribs and punctured my lung, some few year ago. I am now left with awful pain in the sternum and on the chest both sides. If I touch it or lie on it, I have what I can only describe as an electric shock. That leaves me going hot and cold, just like a panic attack. It is very debilitating. I've had steroid injections couple of years ago, which were also very painful as they have to give them between your breast bones. They did help for a while, but I can no longer receive them as I have damaged kidney. The best they can offer are pain patches, which do not help either.
Avatar universal
I got told I had costochondritis back in 2006. I went 3 months with chest pains. The first month I had it my arm would tingle and I couldn't feel a thing in it. I was only 15, I was so scared but all my tests came back normal. Finally after the 3rd month they sent me to doctor who knew what it was. I am now 24 and still suffer every time it gets too cold for me to handle. I feel like I can't do a thing but somehow I keep moving on.
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I have pain on the right side of my chest. It hurts while taking deep breath. The costochondritis pain has lasted more than four months and my chest muscles are in a constant strained state.
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I have full rib cage pain. I only sleep about 4 hours a night because the pain is too intense for me to stay lying down and stay asleep. It starts feeling better after a few hours of being out of bed. I nap during the day sitting up, can't lie down. The pain makes it hard to breathe or move around. I remember having rib pain throughout my life since I was a child. But nothing as severe as this. One occasion I did have severe pain and required medical attention. I was in my early thirties and while working I was lifting 30 pound boxes which I held against my chest. The doctor said I had inflammation in my sternum cartilage and gave me anti-inflammatory drugs. I have now been experiencing the severe pain in my rib cage for 2 months. Besides costochondritis I also have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and have an injury that caused disability in my upper body. I also have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
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I have had costochondritis since 2012, it started with a dull ache on right side, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rib. My doctor gave me 3 injections this past January, and I was fine until this past week. I just got 3 more injections last night and I am feeling better but have to take prednisone for 2 weeks, and now a bone scan. I thought I was done with this! Guess not.
Avatar universal
My costochondritis started with an ignored chronic cough. How many of us busy moms take care of everyone but us! Well then I lifted a table with a heavy TV with my left arm and immediately felt a terrible pain. Weeks after I thought I was having heart problems, and after the doctor poked my back on my upper left side and I screamed it turned out I have costochondritis. And now almost 1 year later it is back.
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My costochondritis started when I was pregnant with my first son; a little foot was in my ribs. I just had a small spot of tenderness. This has grown and grown and wearing a body brace after spine surgery really weakened the area. Now, it covers a large are of my left ribs and injections only give a few weeks of relief. A rib belt helps keep me going. I get a bit of relief from Voltaren. Sometimes I do fine with minimal issues and other times it's really debilitating. I do not use rib belt unless it is needed. I have never met anyone else with this, but my pain clinic tells me they treat it often.
Avatar universal
I had a burning sensation in my upper chest, near the collar bone. My blood pressure was high. I went to emergency room, and stayed overnight. There were no problems found with my heart, after many tests. I did a follow up and my doctor concluded it was costochondritis. It is now starting to improve.
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I have been suffering from this condition for almost 3 years now, maybe longer because I would usually get a cough that would last 4 to 6 months and no medication would help. Finally in May 2015 my doctor said I have costochondritis. He said there is nothing I can do other then take Advil, or sometime when I can get it Ibuprofen prescription. Every day I use a heating pad too which I apply daily to the affected area or areas. I am really worn down and out by the pain. It is a constant ache with sharp shooting pains especially on my left side and my skin is sensitive to the touch at times. I wear a very loose bra because the regular bras hurt and by mid-day I can hardly breathe. I've had an x-ray to rule out a broken rib, and seen the heart doctor to rule that out. I've consulted with other doctors who all said the same thing; they didn't know what it was. They say it will go away on its own, but when! It has gotten worse since I retired in 2013 and I can't really enjoy myself because of this stupid pain. I tried to explain this pain to family and friends, but no one understands and it is hard to explain what you have. I just don't get it.
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with costochondritis in January. I am no better and have not been able to return to my yoga regime. I feel very frustrated with this situation. No OTCs have helped. I do little to aggravate this situation but it persists.
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I have suffered with this costochondritis for more than six months. I have had Marcaine and Kenalog injections in my chest which haven't worked. I had tramadol and they don't work either so I don't know what to do. I walked some mornings in a lot of pain.
Avatar universal
I have had costochondritis for at least 3 years, because of which I am constantly in pain and can't breathe. I have sharp pains in chest and loss the left side arm feels like lead. I am on morphine and tramadol which I have to take regular, under my general physician's advice. I see him monthly and he keeps a close eye on me. Must try heat pad to see if that works.
Avatar universal
I have asthma flares which due to struggling to breathe inflame my chest wall. Doctor said it was costochondritis. My chest hurts to breathe. I lie around, take 800 ibuprofen, do anything and it inflames worse, and hurts worse. It is very painful, and I get lip service that asthma cannot cause this.
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