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Living with Costochondritis one reason which could explain your chest pains

Updated on October 3, 2016

Costochondritis can affect many people in different ways. For some people they may have flare ups every few weeks or months. For other people it is a lifelong condition that they have to learn to live with each day. Flare ups can happen at any time and with little notice. While there is lots of information around about the condition, to date, there is no actual cure, only medication that can help ease the pain of sufferers.

Many sufferers will have different symptoms and while there are certain activities that can have an impact on a person getting the condition, no one knows exactly why one person gets it and another doesn't.

Costochondritis Location

Image of area affected by costochondritis
Image of area affected by costochondritis | Source

Living with costochondritis

No age groups are exempt from Costochondritis (koss-toe-con-DRY-tiss). Information available tells us that this condition affects woman more than men. But a lot of sufferers do not care about this; they just want to find information that helps them deal and recover from this condition. There is no research done on why sufferers get this condition especially if they haven't done any physical activity that is a known cause of this condition.

The people who suffer from costochondritis often find sudden movement, coughing or sneezing after suffering a bad flu can cause this condition to flare up. Sometimes even certain forms of exercise or physical activity can aggravate the pain.

In the long run lifestyle changes will be required to reduce the pain associated with this condition.

Costochondritis affects all aspects of your life and sometimes the most active person can see their life impacted by this condition.

Any age group can fall prey to the symptoms and both male and female sufferers can see this condition impact their lifestyle in a major way.

When one learns that they have costochondritis, they often find it bewildering and will wonder how on earth they could get this condition. It often appears out of nowhere or so it might seem and in the beginning when you start suffering the symptoms of costochondritis, you often can confuse them for other conditions like heart problems.

You could by young, old, fit, unfit, healthy or unhealthy and one thing you might all have in common is costochondritis. No one is eliminated from contacting this condition.

Why, does one get costochondritis? Well, no one really knows.

Costochondritis is caused by either a viral infections or suffering an impact to the chest area. However if you have not suffered from either of these conditions and you still suffer from costochondritis, you might be a bit confused to why you now have this condition for no reason.

It can take a while to get a diagnosis for costochondritis. Many times doctors will carry out other tests to ensure you are not having issues with your heart.

There are lots of websites and forums out there that can be of great help to sufferers. Many sufferers themselves are more inclined to look at alternative medicine, specific foods, or medicine, to help them cope with this condition and continue to live their life as pain free as possible.

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What to do if you have costochondritis

The first step to take to find out if it is in fact costochondritis you are suffering from is to visit you doctor.

While self diagnosing is fine, you really do need to get proper treatment and confirmation that you are in fact suffering from costochondritis.

They are many tests a doctor will run before they finally diagnose that you are suffering from costochondritis. This is to ensure that you really are not suffering from a heart condition.

First time symptoms of costochondritis

Costochondritis is a very painful condition. The first flare up will be very severe and will be extremely scary. Anyone who has had experience of chest pain knows that is can be surreal and very painful.

Initially you might suspect that you have a heart condition, and you might not realise that you have this condition. Many of us suspect we are having heart problems and that is why it is important to get it checked out immediately.

Any pain in and around the chest area should always be checked out in case it is your heart and with the areas affected by costochondritis being near that area it is even more important to check out pain here.

The pain is extremely surreal and also unlike any pain one can describe and any sufferer will sympathise with other suffering as they will know how painful it was.

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How you get diagnose with costochondritis

To confirm that a patient does not have heart problems, the doctor will carry out many tests prior to finally diagnosing you with costochondritis.

A simple procedure your doctor might perform to determine if you have costochondritis is to press on the breastbone area of your chest.

The doctor will start from under the chin and continuing down the chest to the sternum, the doctor will press each area to see how much pain is in each area. The pain here will be very severe with the littlest bit of pressure and immediately after the doctor will know that this is the condition you have.

Any person who has costochondritis will know that any pressure on this area will be extremely sore. Experiencing pain in this area is a key factor behind getting a diagnosis of costochondritis.

The pressure on the chest area will be extremely unpleasant and you will be extremely sore each time the doctor presses on this area. However, now that you are diagnosed with costochondritis, you can start to move on with your life and start learning to live with your conditions.

What causes Costochondritis

How does costochondritis pain occur?

Costochondritis is caused when the cartilage that connects your ribs to the breastbone becomes inflamed.

When the inflammation occurs it ends up putting pressure on the breastbone and then, this in turn results in the pain in this general area.

Factors behind the cause of this condition are linked to things such as suffering a severe trauma to the chest area, a recent surgery on the chest area or a viral infection. If a patient has experienced one of these conditions then they are more susceptible to it.

But costochondritis sufferers might not have undergone any surgery and can still get costochondritis. In this case, the only thing that might be behind costochondritis could be a viral infection, excess pressure put on the chest maybe because of asthma or excessive coughing.

Some symptoms associated with costochondritis

How do you know if you have costochondritis?

Certain things might convince you more that others that you have costochondritis. They could be:

  • Tenderness in the breastbone are where the cartilage is connected to your ribs

  • A feeling of excessive pressure or a pressing in type of pain in your chest area

  • Pain spreading from your side to your back, around the shoulder blade area

  • Difficulty in breading due to pressing pain in chest

  • An aggravated pain which is intensified when you sneeze or cough

  • Often cold or hot weather can influence the symptoms

  • Stress can also lead to costochondritis symptoms and anxiety can lead to a tightness in the chest area which aggravates this conditions

When you get diagnosed with costochondritis by a doctor, be aware that it can disappear but for some people it never goes away. It is just in hibernation and a flare up can occur and any time.

How To Avoid Getting Costochondritis Back

There are some lifestyle changes you can do to avoid getting costochondritis back.

If you don't live with it on a daily basis, then you are one of the lucky ones as most people who suffer from it, do so on a daily basis. But even if you don't have it each day, you still need to be aware that it can come back at a later date so ensure that you don't do these things which could cause a relapse.

Things to avoid doing.

1) Heavy Lifting. This is one thing you should avoid doing as heavy lifting will aggravate your chest area /upper torso which can bring on costochondritis symptoms.

2) Working in the Garden. While light gardening work is allowed, any gardening that involves heavy lifting of rocks, blocks, paving flags, or heavy shrubs/ trees can bring on costochondritis symptoms a few days later. Light gardening like planting vegetables or flowers are fine and won't aggravate your costochondritis. (Lifting large heavy things in your garden will cause costochondritis symptoms which will last at least 3 days of pain).

3) Moving Furniture. This is one thing that many of us do and don't think will have any repercussions. While you might not think lifting heavy furniture or bed frames will be an issue, in fact it can cause major issues especially for those who suffer from costochondritis. Be sensible and let someone else do the heavy lifting.

4) Getting Sick. It is vital if you suffer from costochondritis that you try to stay healthy. Take Vitamin C and D either as a supplement or by increasing your intake of food high in these vitamins. You need to try to avoid getting colds, the flu or even a viral infection. Start taking vitamin supplements in tablets form or water based form to help keep your immune system in tip top shape especially in winter.

Getting sick can aggravate your costochondritis. If you get sick, you can expect lots of coughing, sneezing and a fever. Trying to cope with this will put extreme pressure on your respiratory system. Once you recover from your flu, your body will be at its weakest and the coughing and sneezing will have put pressure on your chest area and this will aggravate your costochondritis. For the next week or two you can expect to have pain in your upper body especially in the chest, ribs and back area.

5) Cold Weather. It is vital to stay as warm as possible on those cold days. Some sufferers have complained that cold weather can have a severe affect on their condition. Those who live in cold climates need to avoid being outdoors for long periods of time. If you must go outside, try to wrap up warm and spend as little time as possible standing outside in the cold as you can.

How To Cope With Costochondritis When You Get It

Now that you know the ways on how to get costochondritis, here are the ways to cope with the pain when you get it.

Prescription for costochondritis as an ongoing condition:

1) Anti-inflammatory Gel: Apply a strong prescription anti- inflammatory gel 3 times a day.

2) Anti-inflammatory Pill: Nurofen or Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory pain killers. Follow the dosage instruction on the pack or whatever your doctor advises. Take the pain killers for 3 days at most. After 3 days switch to the other option. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if the pain is persistent after 5 days.

3) If the pain is mild, then you might be able to survive by taking Paracetamol. It isn't as strong or as addictive as the other two. But be aware that you should only take them when you are suffering from pain. Don't become addicted to them.

4) Another option is to try hot and cold treatments. Apply a hot water bottle to your chest area if the pain is excessive to help ease the pain to a dull throb. You can also apply cool compresses or patches that can help ease the pain.

Description of bones in the sternum

Gentle exercise are all you can do if you suffer from costochondritis.
Gentle exercise are all you can do if you suffer from costochondritis. | Source

Exercising with costochondritis

If you like exercising you will find you will have to adjust your exercise routine now that you have costochondritis.

Exercise that put pressure on your chest area like weightlifting or push ups can aggravate your chest area and cause a flare up of costochondritis.


Conclusion

On the days when you suffer from costochondritis, you need to slow down and take it easy. Try to avoid doing as much as possible. Things like vacuuming, cleaning and bending down can aggravate your pain. .

Over time, you will learn to recognise the symptoms of costochondritis and will know with a flare is coming on. When you start feeling the symptoms of costochondritis, don't do anything like strenuous work or exercises that can affect it.

Costochondritis is an unusual condition because some people can get the condition and only experience it once in their life. Then they never have another flare up.

However, those sufferers who aren't as lucky to get over this condition can have it for life. Sometimes, it can go away for weeks/months at a time, and then when you don't expect it, you can get a flare up. For those who have to live with it on a daily basis, it can affect their job, lifestyle and can stop you from doing things you normally took for granted.

There is no specific time frame where you can expect to never suffer from costochondritis. While winter time can be especially difficult for costochondritis sufferers, flare ups can also occur in the summer months. If you work in a high stress job, or you have exams coming up, or you are suffering from stress due to a recent upset in your life, like bereavement, then this can also aggravate your costochondritis.

Coping with costochondritis is something you will have to learn to cope with as an individual. You will find your own ways of coping with it and what works for one might not work for another.

Keeping the pain at bay and coping with it either by using gel, painkiller or lifestyle changes can help sufferers cope.

There is no cure for this condition but sufferers can get cortisone injections which can help some people cope better with it and can even help eliminate the pain.

The first time you suffer costochondritis is the worst, but after that your symptoms might not be as severe. But for some this is not always the case. Each time they get a flare up the pain can be as bad as the previous time.

© 2011 Sp Greaney

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      Barbara 2 weeks ago

      I experienced a severe attack last night after a dinner party during which I had two drinks. This is not the first time it’s happened after sitting at a dinner table for several hours and consuming a couple of drinks and was wondering if alcohol could be a trigger.

    • profile image

      Christina 4 weeks ago

      Turmeric helps. I took it when I was first diagnosed, and it helped me so much. Of course, advil does the trick fast! However, I've noticed that the cold makes it so much worse, and I hate it so much!

    • profile image

      Scayra 6 weeks ago

      Hi, I have suffered cotohondritis last two years. Before one week I have tried magnesium chloride and my pain triggered by cold air has despaired.

    • profile image

      Katie-M 4 months ago

      Hey those who have posted I seem to get these notifications like a week after or month after been posted. Im so sorry for those who have been suffering. All I can offer is the power of positivity!! I suffer from costo and after 3 years of tests and feeling like no one was listening to me, a wonderful consultant has diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. As much as I was fighting this diagnosis it's the only condition that relates to everything I have been going through. However there's always an underlying condition and mine was a serious B12 deficiency at below 170. In the U.K. though this is only thought of as just underlining. 250 I think it is and US is below 500. After staying indoors and worrying over my symptoms I suffered from a vitamin D deficiency as well. However 3 years later it was too late and treatment for these deficiencies didn't work despite my levels now being normal I suffer from pain and spasms all over my body not only my chest and arms and hands. All I can say is please keep on at doctors and professionals. We are not making this up!! It's true and real and it hurts and it's depressing and disabling our everyday life. Good luck to you all x x

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      karen 4 months ago

      Mine is from an autoimmune disease.

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      Mbali 4 months ago

      I seem to suffering for the past few years now and the past 3 weeks have been unbearable. I lost all hope of getting help when 6days ago I was rushed to the DR and they suspected Gastro which I was admitted and the specialist did all tests like gastroscopy, blood tests, xrays, ultra sounds and EGG and they all came back fine. However when I was suffering from the pain my high blood goes high and my pulse raises to 209, mind you from just laying in bed. I thought the doctor would do something cos this happened more than once while admitted in hospital, but brushed it off and said if that had to happen it would mean I am a very sick person. I just felt like he didn't believe me and everything happening was all in my head. Same day on a Monday he discharged and he said don't worry you will be fine. When I tried to ask him a question he just cut me off and that's how I left the hospital. It's really sad when the doctor doesn't believe you and think you are making up stories they think you can go on with your life as normal. Immediately after being discharged on my way home in the car I has the attack and next day morning I had the attack. And now you just don't have anywhere to turn to. What I realised is that the pain killer don't help much for the stabbing pain maybe for the mild aching pain left by the sharp pain cos as much as I was in hospital on a drip I would still get the stabbing sharp pain but no one was willing to listen to me cos they thought I am fine. Probably thought I was taking everything as well. I felt like I was looking my mind.

      I am from South Africa - wish to hear more stories from Africans just like AntonJVR. SA doctors need to be informed about this condition cos I left the hospital and was told there's nothing wrong with and you will be fine .

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      I have had costochondritis for many years 6 months ago

      Never experienced such pain as last few days

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      Kaelly 8 months ago

      Hi lovely people and fellow sufferers.

      I have been reading through the comments on here and am so relieved that I am not alone.

      I am 53 years of age and two years ago encountered my first costachondritis attack. I seriously thought that I was going to die that evening! I am not one to run to the doctors every five minutes, and certainly not phone for paramedics. However, that first time I did just that. I was literally on my knees trying to deal with the pain. Obviously, I believed that I was having a heart attack. After an ECG at the hospital at 3 a.m. In the morning, I was told by a doctor that I had costachondritis. It was as if he was suggesting that I was overreacting, but the pain was excruciating!

      I have since had four more attacks and last Saturday evening, for no apparent reason, it happened again. I have heard that some people say that the first time is the most painful. I can honestly say, this was certainly not the case for me. I have never known a pain like it! I could not stand, kneel or lie down. I didn't know what to do with myself. I took some iboprufen en tried to lie in a , that I could just about manage. I could barely breathe and I perspired so much that it was dripping off the end of my nose, and down my spine.

      The only way that I can explain the pain to other people, is that it feels like something is trying to burst out through your chest.

      I feel for all of you and how I wish that I could take the horrific pain away from you! Unfortunately I can't, but sometimes just knowing that you don't suffer alone is comforting.

      God bless all of you

    • sangre profile image
      Author

      Sp Greaney 8 months ago from Ireland

      @Rachel REvoy, Thanks for your comments. This is all from my personal experience about how I cope with this condition.

      There is some information on the internet about this condition but no genuine research has been done.

    • profile image

      Rachel Revoy 9 months ago

      An interesting overview that points out a lot of things about costocondritis, but only at the surface level of each of these issues. Maybe then this is a good article to send to people who know someone who is suffering because then they can get an overview of the information.

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      Badash1279 9 months ago

      I was diagnosed 5 years ago with this horribly painful condition. I was trying to exercise as a part of my New Years Resolution, and went a little over board. I have never felt right since. I woke up with such pain, and a cold sweat last night, with that hear attack pain, and went right to the Dr. She says, you've aggravated the costo again, sigh. I am trying to find out if this is something that goes hand in hand with rheumatoid arthritis? or Lupus? These run in my family, and I have multiple joint issues, and can barley walk sometimes and I am only 37. Thanks for any insight, and hope everyone finds relief!!

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      GRACIE ELLSWORTH 10 months ago

      My nine yesr old granddaughter suffers with costochondritis. The attacks are so severe she had to go to the hosptital three times in a week. this was before I knew what was going on. It was the most scariest thing I ever witnessed to see a young child go through so much pain. What pissed me off that at two of the three ER I took her to blowed it off like she was faking. Of course I snapped because they know nothing about her bubbly ways. Always happy and full of life and now I'm seeing the life look like it's being sucked out of her. I pray for her all day every day to ask God to lift this beast off her. My heart goes out to all of you who suffer from this.

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      Bettysam62 10 months ago

      I've had Costochondritis for about 11 years now. Go on the nhs website and it still says that Costo only lasts a few weeks! I've written on this page before and said that I use a heat pad which eases the pain, I also drink ginger tea. I have Rochester ginger drink from Holland & Barrett. I take ibuprofen and also paracetamol, sometimes paracetamol and codeine. I still faint when the costo is very bad (so I faint regularly). My gp still doesn't take this condition seriously. Because of the fainting I asked him for oxygen (on recommendation of fpmy nephew who is a doctor), but my gp refused saying I didn't need it, so my nephew recommended a company online, I sent for some oxygen, followed nephews instructions of using it, and now I wouldn't be without it. It doesn't stop the pain, it eases breathing during an attack when the lungs are following instructions from the brain not to inflate so much to help ease the pain. This means I get much needed oxygen, I relax a bit and I don't faint as much. I don't know if any of this helps any of you, but just thought I'd tell you. Best wishes

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 12 months ago from Ireland

      @Lottie First off, I hope you are doing better in regards to your treatment after breast cancer.

      I think everyone will have sympathy for you, and understand where you are coming from. Your story of how you came to suffer from costochondritis is interesting, and I hope other woman reading this come to understand how such a procedure can have a lifelong impact on your health. Thank you for sharing your story.

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      Lottie 12 months ago

      My costochondritis is the result of a pre-op MRI of both breasts, prior to my lumpectomy/SNB; NEVER AGAIN will I let them do that to me. The horrible pain of being in a position that made all my weight being supported by my sternum while it was lying on top of a sharp-edged metal bar for 45 min. was the worst pain of the whole breast cancer treatments' experience. I met another woman during radiation therapy who volunteered that same opinion one day as we awaited our turns.

      The fact that now my ribs/sternum are now weaker as a result of the radiation probably doesn't help my incidents of flareups.

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      aly parker 14 months ago

      Ihave just been diagnosed with costochondritis, after having 5 episodes which required having to call the emergency services, as i couldnt breath. My first episode was over a year ago, when i was taken an empty cup to the kitchen,it was very scary. I had no idea what was happening. I have had 4 episodes since each time having to be admitted to the hospital.

      It does look like this condition was due to having a tram flap surgery from a result of breast cancer. I am waiting for a bone scan to definitely confirm this condition

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      GabrielaW 15 months ago

      Hi everyone...I have had costochondritis for about eight years now. It all started when I was 18 yrs. old. I kept waking up in the middle of the night with chest pains and feeling like I was having a heart attack. A few months later I decided to go see a doctor about my pains. I was summited to so many exams just for them to tell me that it was probably my gallbladder. After a good while the doctors decided to remove my gallbladder. They told me that with in a few months my pains would be gone. Well my pains slow down a lot but thanks to my gallbladder being taking out I started to gain weight. Then one day when I least expected it my pains started again, so I visit the doctors again until I ended up with a heart specialist that was very surprised to see a 20 year old girl sitting in his waiting room. He was the first one to tell me about Costochondritis but he never gave me anything for it just told me to check back with my doctor on the problem he believed I had. By then I was sick of doctors so I decided to just work with my pains. I started placing hot rags and bags of ice on my chest as soon as I felt the pains. I changed jobs. I am now a bank teller but sitting down for two or three hours bothers me sometimes. Also some nights when my left arm hurts I have learn to just sleep way to where my arm is under my body, but as soon as I wake up my pain is back. I've had anxiety attacks because as soon as I feel the pain I get very nervous. Specially when I'm driving. I have a huge fear of fainting while I'm driving because of my anxiety attacks. Right now I'm working on that. It's hard waking up every morning not knowing what's next not knowing if you would even make it back home safe. I pray and hope that everything will get easier to handle and live with as time goes by. I have decided to start taking Turmeric Pill. My dad has being taking it for a while and he says they works wonders. He is a Lymphoma cancer survivor and he says Turmeric after sport pills have help him very much with his pains. So I have decided to try them. I am welling to do what ever just to not feel this pains and have anxiety attacks. Some of the things that make my chest hurt more is picking up heavy stuff. Also moving heavy stuff. Also when I have my menstrual cycle, and my bras make me hurt more. I just wanted to share my story out there. It's very nice to know that I'm not alone in this. That there is people out there feeling what I feel, and that I'm not crazy for feeling the way I do.

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 19 months ago from Ireland

      @Sarah Bake, personally I find that stress aggravates my Costo. I haven't gone down the route of injections, but use meds, gels, and I've tried some of the alternative methods mentioned on here. One comment on here from Chris mentioned tumeric tablets and Andrew mentioned ginger water, (I used ginger tea), as ways to help alleviate severe symptoms. I used both of these and I found that they helped. My Costco didn't disappear, but it did lower the pain.

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      Sarah Bake 20 months ago

      Hi iv had this over 2 year but only got diagnosed a year ago with it I'm on omeprazole every day but I can't take ibuprofen as I have gallstones what else do people recommend I try as my doctors don't have a clue x alson can stress make it worse anyone know please xx

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      Bettysam62 22 months ago

      Katie-M, I'm sorry you are suffering so much. I hope your pregnancy goes well and doesn't impact too much on your costochondritis.

      My gp declined my request for oxygen saying it wouldn't really help.

      Maybe what we all need is to be treated by a go who actually has costochondritis, then maybe the whole medical experience would be more enlightened and we would be treated properly, and with a more sympathetic response to the debilitating affects of this awful condition.

      For myself, costochondritis rules my life. I don't like it this way and would change it if I could, but I'm stuck with it all day, everyday, yet the medical profession still doesn't give this condition and its sufferers enough respect.

    • sangre profile image
      Author

      Sp Greaney 23 months ago from Ireland

      Hi JaJax, thanks for your advice I like your positive attitude. :) That's very true about many of us getting used to living with the symptoms and assuming that pain in this area is instantly costo.

      With you living in a warm climate and seeing no change in your symptoms, just goes to show you that hot weather wouldn't reduce frequency of attacks. I think you just have to avoid doing things that can aggravate the body if you're one of those who just get a few attacks a year.

      Sadly the people who suffer with it on a daily basis see this as part of their future life.

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      JaJax 23 months ago

      Hi there, I live in Jamaica and was interested in your posts and the direction they take. Couple of points....moving to a warmer climate may not necessarily be the answer! I have had costochondritis with its myriad of symptoms for about 20 years...it's always lurking and if I lift something too heavy, or a twist the wrong way....it immediately reminds me of it's presence. I deal with it by knowing it's not a heart attack and following the usual treatments, ...loose clothing, rest, mild pain killers and plenty of water...preferably fresh coconut water! The problem I see with getting so used to living with it...is wondering if I'll ever know if I get a REAL heart attack...and won't just sit there drinking coconut water! My no 1 tip above all... Is to try and keep your sense of humour.

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      Katie-M 2 years ago

      Hi Betty I too suffer from shoulder and upper back pain that travels down one or both arms and my neck front and back that affects my jaw. I'm glad you have mentioned this as every professional I've seen have said costo does not affect anything other than your chest/sternum. They should listen to us patients more and maybe come up with some up to date symptoms. I've learnt what I can and can't do and work have been supportive. I've constantly got numbnes in my fingers though unless I'm lying down. Strange. I have recently been given an inhaler for when my breathing gets heavy and I must say it does work. I think my breathing gets worse due to panic sometimes and I find calming myself down and taking a couple painkillers helps me but this can only be done at home. If anything happens at work I'm done for until I get home. It is scary though when those pains start hope you were ok that flight could not of been easy. I've recently found out I'm pregnant so I'm scared that my costo is going to get a hell of a lot worse with the added weight to be carried and stress etc and not being able to take my pain meds either doesn't help at the min. Hope all keeps calm but I'm expecting bad flare ups now and again. Considering the er doc told me it would last a couple weeks it's now over a year on.

    • sangre profile image
      Author

      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Bettysam62, that must have been extremely stressful. No one want to have a scary episode lile that while travelling. But at least help was on hand. Having an oxgyen tank could be an option in the future for those who have severe symptoms.

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      Bettysam62 2 years ago

      Reading all the comments show just how much costochondritis impacts on the lives of so many people. It's great to hear how some people are coping. As I've said before, Costco affects not only my chest but my shoulders, upper back and arms to, one more than the other. On a recent flight I had a bad episode because of the costochondritis, and was given oxygen on the captains recommendation. Since then I've often wondered if it would be worth having oxygen at home. Has anyone else tried this? I would be interested to know.

    • sangre profile image
      Author

      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi AntonJVR, I think many doctors have very little knowledge of this condion. While it's great they treated your initial symptoms, it's the continuing ones you suffer with after your initial diagnoises that you need to learn to live with. There are some ways to lessen the symptoms as mentioned by readers here, but sometimes attacks can still occur. Your job which involves heavy lifting is something that could aggravate your condition. 1 day off after suffering any symptoms of costo is not sufficient. Maybe explain your condition to your employer and he might be able to do something for you. Maybe you could be moved to a department with less physical work. If the pain is persistant, you might need stronger pain killers. But again, a lifestyle change would work better in the long run

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      AntonJVR 2 years ago

      So about 2 weeks ago i was diagnosed with Costochondritis 2am in the morning laying in the E.R unable to breath thinking my heart is giving up on me, they pumped me full of meds and sended me on my way at 4am, a day later 12am i landed in the ER again.. could barely breath. they are sticking with Costochondritis, the pain on my chest is not that bad, its something i can handle but the breathing is the absolute worst, they have me on a few anti allergie meds and inhalers, anyone else have the same type of breathing problems and if so how long before i can breath normally again? i feel that the doctors here in south africa dont really worry much about this condition, i was booked off for 1 day from work and my work intails heavy lifting! what am i too do?

    • sangre profile image
      Author

      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Katie-85, thanks for your update. I am sorry to hear things have not improved since your last post and that your life has been affected so negatively. It would be great to see some cure for this condition in the near future because sufferers really need a cure.

      Hi Celinka, Thank you for sharing your ways on controlling this condition. It is nice to find alternative ways that could help suffers relieve the pain for a little while if not indefinitely.

      Hi Lisa DSL, thanks for your comment, I am glad you found this page useful. I think costochondritis is a condition which is misunderstood by a lot of people and only someone who suffers from it really understands how it fully impacts your daily life.

      Hi Bettysam62, it would be interesting all right to hear if anyone has done this to help them cope with the symptoms.

      Hi Lance in Franklin, thanks for stopping by. :)

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      Katie-85 2 years ago

      Hi I have posted on here previously and just wanted to update I'm nearly 12 months on from my first pain in my chest and left arm. I suffered from whip lash as well as a hard pregnancy which could have contributed to my pain. I suffer from anxiety although my panic attacks have now subsided hopefully. I get 3 bad weeks with severe neck top of arm and under breast and shoulder blade pain but then a good couple of weeks that I cherish. Those weeks are what get me through my bad times. I had 6 months off work and no MRI or X-ray showed a thing but an ER doc (after a trip thought was having a heart attack) examined me and everywhere he touched on my chest and back he knew where I would be in pain. He gave me diclofenic and said would be gone in couple weeks. All I can say is it's not gone away but the way to get through it is to be positive and do as best to manage the pain as possible. I can no longer do house work as I could, play with my son as well as I could, shopping heavy loathing and struggle to drive some days. Nerve pain in my arms and muscles in my neck play havoc with me and my jaw. Work is not going well however they supportive of my condition and I've changed my hours to meet my needs and those of my family. My quality of life has definitely lowered not going out and definitely can't plan things it's a day by day. I'm not saying I'm lucky far from it and I envy those who only have it now and again. But when you feel it coming on stop what you are doing and breath. Try not to get upset as it makes it worse so does stress and anxiety. I'm thankful for sites like these so we compare. Reading my posts I wasn't in a good place due to the condition it affects all areas of your life. I hope there is someday a cure!! Be safe

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      Celinka 2 years ago

      I've had costo for a good while now. Starting by a wrong movement. I also am highly sensitive and extremely anxious. I have sought holistic ways to heal it since nothing else was working. I have been using gemstones and crystals on my body, as well as doing hatha yoga and chi gong, mildly, once a week. It has helped a great deal, so I wish to share. It felt like it was gone, I could wear bras tighter. Of course, I had 3 panic attacks in the same day after suffering a major stressful moment in my life. So it's back to its usual pains. So I'm back to no bra and using my gemstones again. But today, it felt really good. Only this evening did the pain start again.

      I highly recommend, if you're like me, to look into some holistic forms of healing. Right now, I have pain, but last time it came back it only lasted a month, as opposed to its initial 6 months. Sometimes, ssince I'm prone to panic, I feel sporadic pain, once or twice and that's it. It's short.

      If anyone has other types of holistic healing they wish to share with me, I'm willing to give it a try, The Hatha Yoga has really worked miracles, opening the heart chakra in a slow gentle manner. But I'm willing to switch it up a bit. But man, those 3 panics were intense. I hope this bout of pain doen't last too long.

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      Bettysam62 2 years ago

      We've been considering moving abroad to a warmer climate. Hubby thinks it will be better for my health and definitely better for my costochondritis. I love my home and this country and don't really want to move. Has anyone here either moved abroad or know someone who has, and has it helped their costochondritis?

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      Lisa DSL 2 years ago

      Hello. I have been suffering with this terrifying condition since April and I have never felt such awful pain in my life. I tell people I'd rather go through birth again than go through this for one more day. I am so glad I came across this hub page and to know I am not the only one!! Before I was diagnosed people put it down to stress and several other things which was making me stressed because they wanted to pigeon-hole it in something they understood and not accept it for something they had no understanding too. My doctors have not be very helpful and do not understand why it hasn't gone. They have also told me that steroid injections are not available! N will not refer me to pain management. I have just gone on to morphine because the pains were breaking through the tramadol. I wasn't aware it is a permanent condition but this article has really opened my eyes. Thank u so much.

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      Lance in Franklin 2 years ago

      Hey ya'll. Sorry I'm late to the party, but I got here as fast as I could HAHA! I'm officially in. Did the whole "I think I'm having a heart attack" trip to the ER and can relate to everything posted here. There you go. Nice to meet everybody.

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Crystal,

      It is a serious condition that can be very hard to ever cure. There are a few people who are like you and suffer with it every day. Having it affect your whole life style is a very scary alright. The anti-inflammatories are the universal remedy for all sufferers it seems but they don’t work for everybody.

      It is awful for it to start at such a young age as it can affect everything you do in the future. Sometimes the doctor doesn't understand how it is to live with this condition. Everyone of us have different Costochondritis symptoms. Even some lifestyle changes in diet and such might help with your symptoms. Trying to not let it affect your life is difficult. The first few months the symptoms will vary and it can get worse. But sometimes certain things can trigger attacks.

      I hope things get better in the future for you and that you get some control over your condition.

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      Crystal 2 years ago

      Hi all. Reading this has scared me further I have had this twice now and have just got it again, I had no idea it could be a more permanent condition it started with a chest pain that made me feel like I couldn't breathe and a stabbing sensation I thought I was dying and I am in no way dramatic I called for an ambulance and got seen quickly yet they couldn't pin point what I was suffering from after blood test and chest X-ray all they told me was my pain was muscular and told me to rest after a couple of days on anti inflammatory I started to feel normal again and now I have the same pain all over again a month later and it won't go away I have had it now for a month and it's got to the stage where I'm in complete agony some days are ok and bearable and then others really bad that I physically can't go to work i hate being ill and at home I'm usually a workaholic it was only going to a doctors surgery that was not my registered that I found out that this condition may be the cause of my on going pain however they told me the only thing I can take is anti inflammatory and this clearly don't work as its come back again ?? and I'm unable to take paracetamol for the pain as I'm allergic . Hearing all your comments has certainly made me realise that this is not undo able and can't just go away like the common cold and that scares me there's got to be something I can do to make it go away I'm only 24 I can't have my life altered over this ?

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      Bettysam62 2 years ago

      Thank you Sangre for this hub. Whilst I wish no one has to suffer, this hub makes me feel not so alone. My costo hasn't improved for many years. I have good and bad days that's all. It gives me upper back pain too, and now I've been told that the heavy aching I get regularly in my arms is due to the costo. I still faint when it's bad and I can't breathe properly. I now rely on a walking stick to have something to lean on when I'm struggling with my breathing. This is a cruel condition, but sadly it doesn't get the recognition or the press coverage that it needs to make people aware of just what it is and how debilitating it can be. Take care all.

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      Janine 2 years ago

      UPDATE;-First thing I want to say is I really feel for you all, I have been living with this extremely debilitating condition for 8 months now and I have no quality of life at the best of times. As well as the solpadol I am now on 150mg of pregabalin 3 times a day. I am often off my face with them but although my memory is now terrible and I forget my words or where I am going in conversation, the pain is almost minimal but those times are few and far between, my chest feels like a ton of bricks are laying upon it which leaves me struggling to talk and breathe it's just awful.

      Well I went to the pain clinic and was with the doctor for nearly an hour and was very thorough although no miracle cure unfortunately, but they can't put me on a higher dose of pregabalin, even though the highest is 600mg a day, coz my memory is so bad. But there is a cream which is made with hot chilli peppers they can prescribe me which gets to the nerves, or an anesthetic patch which numbs my sternum, but only one problem, I can't touch it lol.

      I can't go back to work, as can't use the top part of my body, and I'm sure my 28 weeks of sick pay is nearly up so don't know what I'm going to do for money.

      This condition does suck, but I try very hard to stay positive about things, also I wonder if costochondritis is connected to hypermobility, as my ribs and other internal organs are very hypermobile along with the rest of my joints, just throwing it out there :-)

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Randy E Bautista, that is terrible. I feel so bad that you have suffered so severely from this condition. I wish that they would do further research on this condition and that we could learn more about it.

      Many people who have suffered from this condition have many different symptoms but each of them suffer. You seem to have had a really terrible time with everything over the last few years. I hope that you are doing ok now even though you have had to adjust your whole life because of this condition.

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      Randy E Bautista 2 years ago

      I have been suffering with this condition for about four years now. Find this article very accurate and informative. I myself started suffering from this condition after a vehicle accident. My condition isn't in the cartilage but a separation of ribs to cartilage. I get inflammation where the separation exist not on the surface. I lost my voice for almost two years due to this and still have had issues breathing because of it. I wish they find new treatment methods or a surgery that might solve this issue. I have lost my life to this condition and haven't been able to go back to work because of it.

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      hi cazzie, if it works then I've give it a go. There are many things we don't know about this condition and there could be solutions like this that can improve it. Thanks for sharing the information. :)

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      cazzie 2 years ago

      Just a say u guys saw a guy on this other site post how he was able. To play tennis again he was taking 1000mg or ml fish oil cod tablets said it really helped I'm gonna try as I suffer from costo too

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Katie-M

      Yes, I agree there, its funny how in a few minutes the internet can give you a diagnoses. :)

      Still at least when they run the tests, there're trying to eliminate different causes. Hopefully in the near future you get some positive results from your doctors and they can start some treatment to get you back to your old self. I have never heard of that syndrome but it’s interesting to see that other conditions can cause similar symptoms. It can be confusing waiting to get some answers. Would something as simple as posture be a cause of this, it would seem so unlikely. One would not expect to suffer that badly.

      I think all those factors will definitely be contributing to you condition. The thing is that you can’t stop your daily life especially when you have a family and have to work so it can be frustrating when all you want to do is lie down for a week. 

      Hopefully someone who has experience with Tietze’s gives you feedback, it would be interesting to compare the two conditions.

      You are still young at 30, but it can sure be a trying time for anybody especially when they don’t expect to get knocked down with something that is affecting them on a continuous basis. You have a very positive attitude despite everything. 

      Best of luck with everything and I hope it all works out for you. :-)

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      Katie-M 2 years ago

      Thank you so much for your reply and the positive comments you have given to me. I find it hard wanting answers when you wait 4 weeks for an MRI and 8 weeks for the results for the doctors to not know what the results mean and look it up on the computer! Our health is in the hands of doctors who use the Internet despite telling us not to look ourselves. Rant over lol.

      Nikki35 I feel your pain, I too have severe back pain in the lower part of my back and suffered more since carrying and having my 11lb 4 son 3 years ago. My scan that has just come back On my lower back shows I have lordosis which in turn is causing hip leg and foot pain due to poor posture and my hips and spine not being correct. This is as well as my neck and arm pain and costo!

      Sangre I too agree that whiplash could be the cause of my costo or slowly brought it on, however I'm having to suggest thing to my doctor as I feel like they just want to refer me as they don't know. I have recently finished a course of B12 injections as I knew that this deficiency can cause nerve pain as well as a lot of fatigue and other complications like my memory or lack of concentration. My levels were low at 175 and although I'm feeling better in myself and have a bit more energy, my arm pain is still causing me grief.

      I have read up on thoratic outlet syndrome which can cause arm nerve pain as well as shoulder neck and jaw so the jelly like lump at the top of my back may be the cause of that but again this can be down to posture.

      I must stress that however bad I feel and how much pain I'm in, although differs from day to day good days ad bad days, despite the costo being separate that poor posture, incorrect shoes and having an 11lb 4 baby puts strain on your spine causing all kind of issues. I am definitely going to try natural inflammatorys and save my tablets for the bad days.

      Is anyone familiar with Tietze's Syndrome? This would explain my arm neck and jaw pain as well as my inflammation in my shoulder and in between my chest. I noticed 2 days ago when I was struggling to get my breath that my chest area under the breast bone was inverting into my chest! Not sure what this is or the cause but never have I had it before.

      I feel like I'm ready to be traded in at the age of 30! It's not happening we need to stay positive and think of the things we are fighting for. Don't let it get the better of you and when you have a good day don't overdo it just enjoy it

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Katie-M

      That is true; having to rely on a prescription cannot be good for your body. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whiplash aggravated this. You really are suffering in a big way. That pressure in the chest was something I experienced as well and it sure felt like a heart attack even though I don’t know what one would feel like. Usually the breastbone is tender when they do a diagnosis and this is how they determine it is costo. I know on here some people have had the pain in different areas, so it seems that the condition can trigger off symptoms in other areas of the body.

      I think some GP are a little quick to dismiss certain symptoms, my own doctor was great and diagnosed it in the first visit. Considering I was in tremendous pain, he could not fail to see I was suffering from something.

      For all you know it might be a different condition and the underlying costo condition could be causing confusion. I know Bettysam62 and Sarah have had similar symptoms to you and from what they have described about their symptoms on here they were extremely serious and painful at times. There is not a lot of information out there and the amount of people who get in and have left a comment here about it sometimes get it for no reason.

      I know on the internet they give specific reasons for a cause. But they have no research and no case studies on it so how can they really grasp what it is and what it means for a suffer.

      I really hope you get some assistance and hopefully they find out more about the conditions affecting your arms and shoulders. I hope things work out for you at work and that they try to understand what you are coping with.

      One form of treatment is Cortisone shots, but these are a last resort if the pain is just becoming unbearable. You would really need to think about this before going down the route. Also some people here have recommended herbal supplements. I take turmeric. Also Andrew on here recommended ginger tea. These are all natural anti-inflammatories. Even taking something natural cannot harm your body, but you might want to check with your GP in case of any reaction to your prescription medicine.

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Nikki35,

      To be honest I really have no idea what triggered my costo. I can remember the time and the day that I got the attack. It was so unlike any pain I had ever experienced that it was shocking.

      I still have attacks and I try to avoid doing anything physical that I know will trigger one. Stress I feel is a big factor behind it. I have gotten an attack due to stress and it can last a week in those cases. I have heard on here from some people who have experience pain in their back. So I do feel that it is just another symptom of it.

      I have not found a cure; I know that Andrew who commented here had cortisone shots which helped to ease the symptoms. But this is a last resort. I take turmeric herbal supplements once a day which Chris on here recommended. They are supposed to be good for inflammation. I can’t say that I haven’t had an attack since taking them, but they are natural and to be honest I would take anything that would reduce the occurrence or help to ease the pain.

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      nikki35 2 years ago

      HI There

      Here is my story I have had a really sore back for the last 4 years after giving birth to my heavy 10.1lb baby. i am female 5"4 weight 135lb healthy otherwise .. My back was giving me so much grief I was getting depressed then my anxiety started which then lead to this chest pain .. I was standing at the mirror and boom a sharp sudden pain.. like something was crushing my chest I immediately made a doctors appointment and had a ecg done which all read fine.. Then I was referred to the physiotherapist who told me I had costo.. since then my anxiety has stopped but my back pain is awful lower back pain and now at the top .. my costo is still there but not as bad as it was it is like a dull pain in my chest sore when I twist or do sudden movements my costo was in the middle of the sternum .. I am looking to find out if this sounds like other peoples symptoms was this the area you had it ? i believe mine has started due to stress anxiety and my dreaded back pain I believe there is a link with my back.. what do you think started yours? have you found any cures .. if anyone has successfully got to that stage :)

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      Katie-M 2 years ago

      Hi, I'm hoping people can help me Understand this condition. I'm 30 years old and female. I was diagnosed with costochondritis 3 weeks ago and was given diclofenac tablets to be taken 3 times a day. However I was told this is not a long term solution. I've had pain under my left shoulder blade since Jan 2014 after suffering from whiplash however in November 2014 I felt a sharp pain down my left arm and was left numb and in pain for weeks that travels into my hands. I saw a chiropractor and also occupational health due to being off work and both said I had tenderness and inflamation in the left shoulder area. It then traveled into my right arm with the same pain under my shoulder blade and then into my neck up to my ear to the point where I could not swallow. This comes and goes depending on my pain. I went to hospital struggling to breath having a panic attack and he pressed my chest which hurt so much considering I had no pain there other than shooting pains occasionally (until he pressed and I now feel it). Then round by shoulder area and sides. He diagnosed me with costochondritis but said it wouldn't affect the sides of my neck and completed a nerve test that showed no signs of nerve damage in my arms (despite the pain in arms, hands and fingers). The pain is more predominant on my left side with constant pain in my left arm. If these symptoms are possibly all to do with costochondritis then I've had it coming on for months despite my GP not giving me a physical after telling them about my tender shoulder blade.

      Does anyone else experience this pain in their arms and shoulder blades and neck? I have read many internet pages that say yes you can but I have been told by different doctors that it can't affect the arms and back so I'm confused. I don't want to be diagnosed with fybromyalgia which is a word often used in my check ups, if it can be avoided by doctors doing the proper checks. I am being referred to a neurologist for the pain in my arms.

      The diclofenac is somewhat helping however I have now been given amitriptyline to go alongside it which make me drowsy. I'm due to go back to work in 2 weeks as a trainer assessor in child care driving around and sitting on nursery floors or small chairs which isn't confortable at the best of times. I'm worried I may lose my job taking into account the length of time I've had the condition and the medication I am taking putting me at risk to drive. I'm lost if it does not go away or if my symptoms are showing signs of something else.

      How does anyone work with this condition!

      Any suggestions on chest support (sorry to be personal) as I can not wear a bra for more than 5 minutes

      I would really appreciate any comments to help or even support my condition. It's scary, especially when your so tired struggling to get confortable to get a good nights sleep, that's without looking after my 3 year old.

      Sorry for the lengthy comment. Thank you so much for any replies :)

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Jily,

      My first attack was the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life. I don’t know which is worse, a severe attacks that takes you months to recover from or mild attacks with last a few weeks. I’m sorry that it gets so bad for you, believe me I wish no one has to suffer with this at all. It is such an unusual condition as well that comes on for reasons that you would never think of.

      I am lucky that I only get mild attacks a few times a year, but I don’t think they are as bad as yours. It’s a pity that you have to suffer at all. I know that bad winters and stress (I think this is the main cause of it) are big factors behind my flair ups.

      I use anti-inflammatories sparingly. I drink ginger tea, I also take turmeric supplements. Basically anything someone has recommended on here that I can find locally I take.

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      jily 2 years ago

      hi sangre

      how do you keep up with your work during falre up of costo?when ever i get attacks i will be out of normal life for six months .luckily i have had only 4 episodes in last 17 years.MY first attack was mild but second attack was extreemly painful i thought i was going die.my costo sometime stays for months and sometime for

      days it's a strange condition to live with it.i have worked out that stress and heavy lifting triger my costo.

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi India, that is terrible. Best of luck with everything. I hope it all worked out fine for you. At least knowing what it is you have it the first step to getting the right treatment. Hopefully you get some relief from it. It is not a nice condition to have at anytime.

      Hi Robin, it is annoying alright how the cold can aggravate it more. I have never heard of that product before, but if it gives some relief then it is worth a try.

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      Robin 2 years ago

      I have always had a bout of Costochondritis after bronchitis except this time around. It just came from the cold weather. I went to FL for 2 weeks and it stopped and as soon as I came back it started again. I have found that Noni juice (all natural) has helped reduce the duration of my attacks in the past.

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      India 2 years ago

      Hello, I'm a 20 yo female who was diagnosed with costochondritis a couple of weeks ago due to a cold that gave me an awful hacking cough. I've run out of the painkillers prescribed to me, and the inflammation hasn't seemed to clear up. Just a few minutes ago I coughed wrong (though pretty lightly) and white hot pain shot up my side and now every movement of my torso or right arm is painful. This article has me afraid that it will never go away! If it doesn't improve in a week or two I'm making an appointment to get it checked out again and talk about my options. Wish me luck!

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Carmen, I think after a few days if there is no improvement you might see if you can get something stronger. If the pain is constant everyday then it is going to affect your day and what you can do.

      Having difficulty breathing is not a fun experience and you should not have to suffer with it.

      A few people who left comments on here have recommended herbal alternatives like tablets with turmeric and drinking ginger tea. Also you can place a hot water bottle to the area that is sore each night before you go to bed. These are just some forms of relief that people have tried, myself included. I hope that things get better for you and that it does not end up affecting all aspects of your life.

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      Carmen 2 years ago

      Hi, I was diagnosed with costochondritis last week by my doctor and prescribed ibuprofen three times a day for five days. My chest still hurts and it's painful to breathe so I don't think the ibuprofen has really helped, will it stay like this forever or can it clear up? Is there anything better than ibuprofen to use? Thank you.

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Janine,

      That is awful. I’m sorry to hear that it is that bad. I hope things at the pain clinic work out for you and they can get you sorted with something that will help you out in the long run. If you get something stronger for the pain, hopefully you wouldn’t have to suffer in pain on a continuous basis.

      It must be hard to raise a family and be struck down with this condition, the symptoms are extremely sever sometimes and I think only the sufferers really know how painful it is. Doctors can be understanding but it is still a condition that there is not really a lot of information or research done on. Your daughter is a good girl for looking after thing for you. :)

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      Janine 2 years ago

      Hi, I have costochondritis after getting gastritis, and it has left me in so much pain, I now haven't worked since it all started 5 months ago. One doctor I saw said it was the worst case he has ever seen in his 25 year career. I have all the usual pains in the ribs and most of the time I can't even touch my sternum, I can my ribs at times, but unfortunately I can't take ibuprofen coz that is what caused the gastritis in the first place, so at the moment I am on solpadol and 30mg mirtazapine to help with the pain and the depression the pain has caused, and now my doctor is referring me to a pain clinic so they can prescribe me with stronger painkillers. I don't sleep well, coz when I lay down it's like laying on a bed of hot nails. I don't go out much coz breathing and walking makes the pain unbearable, I can't stand for long so my 13yo daughter is relied on alot and now she has to cook and clean whilst I'm confined to the sofa these days. I really don't think doctors understand how debilitating and excruciating this pain really is :-(

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      Bettysam62 2 years ago

      Hi, I'm sorry that there are so many costochondritis sufferers. I've had this condition for many years. At first it came and went, but now I have it permanently. Some days are better than others. For over a week now I've been in constant pain from my sternum on right side, going right under my arm and round the back, taking in my shoulders. The pain takes my breath away, frequently, and means I try to restrict movement as this makes it worse. It's such a debilitating condition. I still drink ginger tea and Rochester ginger drink everyday. I use ibuprofen gel and paracetamol, sometimes cocodamol, I take ibuprofen pills (but not with the gel), and I still use my heated shawl and heat pad. I did try Evening Primrose Oil capsules but after almost 6 months I've found no change. I try gentle stretching exercises when I can. I asked my doctor to refer me to a pain clinic, but Im not eligible because I'm restricted in what drugs I can take because of the Meds I'm on for other conditions. So, like you lovely people here, I just muddle through the best I can. I hope you find something that works for you. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and A Happy, Healthier New Year.

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Heather, I hope it works out for you. I think many of us just try to cope with it as best as we can and try not to let it get us down.

      It's one of those conditions where age is not a factor in who can get it.

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      Heather 3 years ago

      Since I was 15 I've had this sharp pain in my chest, and I used to be able to just breathe through it because it would only last a minute or two, fast forward 7 years and yesterday it struck again but this time I couldn't breathe past it. The day before I could, so I guess it was a warning sign - I never knew it could be so damn painful and because I have a bad habit of bringing up phlegm I'm kind of stuck between pain and panic haha. I'm hoping some ibuprofen might work :(

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Danna Jugueta, things don’t seem to be good for you. Your cousin was smart to take action immediately. Getting diagnosed can be difficult as doctors initially might not suspect costo. I’m surprised that they didn’t give you some advice about how to cope with a costochondritis attack. Most of us that get it seem to always get recurring bout of it at a later stage. It might go away for a while and then come back later when you least expect it. Some people on here have chronic costo that never goes away.

      A lot of suffers on here have recommended different things to try. I have tried the ginger tea and I am also taking the Turmeric tablets which Chris on here recommended. I take one a day after my main meal. I have personally found that they are good. Trying something natural can be better for you body in the long run. However, when I get super stressed or do something too physical I can bring on an attack and that can set me back. I also rely on anti-inflammatory gel like nurofen or voltaral. Your doctor can write you a prescription for a stronger anti inflammatory gel if these don't work. Let me know how things go for you.

    • Danna Jugueta profile image

      Danna Jugueta 3 years ago from Lucena City

      Hi. Im new here.Thank goodness i found a site like this.

      I was diagnosed by costo a mont ago. Before, I kept having chest pains and it was really difficult to breathe. I really thought at first it was God's way of dragging me to hell cause it was really REALLY painful. I even went home in the middle of class because i really cant take the pain anymore and i just cant breathe well and it felt like im gonna pass out any minute. When I went home my cousin was so worried she brought me to the hospital and the next thing i knew i was being checked in . After a week i was checked out and i finally went to school. I thought "oh im okay now everything's fine it wont happen again" but oh no, Ive never been so wrong in my entire life. It keeps getting back . . I keep waiting day by day by day for the pain to just go away but it doesn't. It never goes away. And Im so scared. Sometimes the pain is just so unbearable I never realize I was crying the whole time.Its so scary.. I just don't know what to do anymore.

    • sangre profile image
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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi WilliamArthur,

      Ok, I’m not too impressed with the medical personnel. It seems they could learn the skill of listening to the patient and understand that he knows what he is talking about. After all you know your own body.

      I’m relieved that you finally managed to get some relief from your condition especially after everything you have gone through to help find some way of coping with it.

      If that pill can do all that, then this is fantastic. Even getting relief for periods at a time is better than having to live with it as an on-going part of your daily life. I think they are sparing give it out in case people rely too heavily on it as a cure. But you seem to have the right frame of mind on how it can help you in the long run. Best of luck with everything.

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      WilliamArthur 3 years ago

      Another follow-up. It's been awhile since my last posting, and the Costo has since slowly spread upward and curved to the right somewhat until it found the ideal sensitive spot to fixate in. The pain it could and did generate there went to a full 10 on a 1 to 10 scale. Enough so, that I was in the hospital Emergency Room twice for it. It would raise my blood pressure greatly and strained my already existing heart damage to a critical level. This last time, the ER doctors decided that they would transport me to a large hospital 100 miles away and stuck me in a Cardiac Ward for a week, despite my continuously trying to tell them that I was trying to get relief from Chest Wall Pain and NOT Cardiac pain. A word to remember-Always tell your doctor and Emergency Rooms "Chest WALL Pain" and Not "Chest Pain", or they will fixate totally on heart matters and nothing else-even if you tell them otherwise.

      But, in any case, I nearly had to retain an attorney to gain my release, but on the Day that I did so, just to humor me, they gave me a Single 40mg pill of Prednisone. The Following day at home, I could only feel Traces of the Costo! No more midnight screaming in pain episodes followed and no more full blown attacks have since occurred. I still can detect twinges of it once in a while, but even when upset or excited, there have been no fire bombs in the chest wall since. I am Considering taking One more pill(They gave me a prescription for them) but only if the twinges and traces do not fade away or if they get worse-God forbid.

      Could it be as simple as a Single pill to get rid of this horror? All the long long time and agony of the outrageous and painful attacks, sleepless nights, cancelled plans, trips, tasks gone undone....all remedied by One small pill? Prednisone is, of course, a dreaded but extremely powerful steroid with terrible side effects IF taken for extended periods of time, but for a sporadic and seldomly occasional usage, that will Defeat this life-destroying condition, I will be More than happy to try it. I have tried a literal pharmacy of other remedies and Nothing has touched it. Everything from physical therapy, injections, opioids, anti-inflammatorys, cold and hot treatments, herbals, natural substances such as Curcumin, you name it. I am much hoping that this evil thing has finally been defeated, but I am absolutely keeping a razor edge eye out for it's return to full strength again. At least now, I have an effective tool to deal with it. Maybe now, a person will have a chance to return to some sort of semblance to a real Life again. At least I Hope so. This is the 1st truly positive chance I've had yet.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Grind, it's not a cream I have ever heard about. But if it works then it is definitely worth trying out especially as it seem you can purchase it in most places.

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      Grind 3 years ago

      BLUE EMU CREAM.

      Get some, rub it on your area of pain, front and back as many times a day that you need it. I swear on my life it works. I have had severe costochondritis for 5 years. This cream saved me.

      Please try it. You can order it online, it's also available at Walgreens, Walmart, big jars from Sam's Club.

      Then please tell everyone you know that has this hateful condition. The cream won't cure it but you will be able to be as pain free as possible.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      #Hi Chloe, you really need to get an appointment at the doctors and get checked out. Each person can have a different experience the first time they get this condition. But once you get a diagnosis you can start a treatment plan which can help you cope with the symptoms.

      #Hi Chris, I like that it is a natural alternative too. You can only use anti-inflammatory medicine for a certain period of time. So having something like this which you can take without side effects is brilliant. Plus the turmeric tablets here are reasonable priced too which is good.

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      Chris 3 years ago

      Tumeric is really an amazing anti inflammatory , anti tumour and anti oxidant. , I really impress upon anyone with costo to try it. , it had helped me manage my condition unbelievably .

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      Chloe 3 years ago

      Hi I get the pain so bad I feel like I can't breath I'm 15 years old! I know I'm not having a heart attack but it hurts so bad and I panic

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Chris, thanks for you comment and for sharing your experience with the condition. That was a long time for you to be suffering from costochondritis. I'm glad they got a diagnoises for you.

      I have never heard of Celebrex. But if it helped you out then sometimes we will put up with the side effects especially if we have no choice.

      Serioulsy tumeric, that is a very interesting fact to hear. I don't think anyone mentioned that on here before. So I think I will give them a try myself. I don't particularly like winter either as my symptoms flair up more around that period too. All we can do is try to cope as best as we can with this condition.

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      Chris 3 years ago

      Had costo for about 7 years now , very scary when it first happens , thought I was dieing. Took over 7 months for them to finally diagnose , started on high dose of ibuprofen , didn't really work , then finally got on prescription anti inflammatory , Celebrex , has some side effects , but gets rid of the pain overnight and stays away for the whole day . Was on these for over a year , then started krill oil , co q10 and tumeric tablets . And I will say the tumeric tablets got me off my daily Celebrex tablets , tumeric is very powerful , natural anti inflammatory , I advise anyone with costing to try it out ! Still have the occasional symptoms. , as being winter at the moment , it's giving me a good one , but take a couple of days off Celebrex if the pain is really bad , then it usually eases and have learnt to live a bit with the aches and pains . To anyone out there suffering don't give up. , stay positive , eat well and take whatever works for you , bitch if a disease but if this is all life gives me , I'm smiling :) . Take care people .

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Bettysame62, I'm on the ginger tea now as well. :) It's an acquired taste, but it's a good alternative. I've never tried a pain clinic. I keep trying the alternative methods first hoping for relief.

      I'm like you to in that way, that I just get on with it and try not to let it affect me to much. But it's nice your hubby is looking at ways to help you. Not everybody is as understanding as you would expect. Hopefully someone leaves some feedback on the pain clinic. Margi1969 was going to one so it would be good to hear back from her.

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      Bettysam62 3 years ago

      Andrew, I wouldn't be without the ginger tea or the Rochester Ginger drink. I'm sorry you are still having problems, you've been through a lot, hopefully you will feel better before you start your course. Best Wishes yo you.

      I'm still taking Evening Primrose tablets, sadly no effect from them as yet. I've had a pretty rough time of it lately and hubby is trying to persuade my to go to a pain clinic. Sangre, have you or anyone here been to one? I'd be interested to hear any experiences. I guess, like many of you, we all just do our best to live with our conditions. I have many other health problems so at times it can be overwhelming. Discovering this hub has been brilliant. Huge thanks to you Sangre. I wish you all well.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Charlotte, it's always surprising how sometimes doctors forget to mention that little thing called diagnoses.

      Getting diagnosed with Costochondritis takes a very long time for some people as some doctors are unable to diagnose it correctly.

      As you mentioned your kidney condition was taking some of the attention away from your condition which meant you had to cope with two medical problems which probably caused them to miss the costo. Not good to be finding this out a year later.

      You seem to be getting pain in all the main localities that costochondritis affect too which is limiting your daily activities.It might be worthwhile getting some stronger medication for the costo if you can because you shouldn't have to be living like that on a daily basis. Having some bad days/ weeks or expected with this condition, and some people do have it on a daily basis, but if you can get it under control, it wouldn't be as irritating for you and upsetting your routine.

      The breathing could be related to the pressure of the ribs on your lungs, but not being a doctor, I wouldn't be sure. But if it's hurting you that much it's something that really needs to be looked at further.

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      charlotte 3 years ago

      I recently got diagnosed with costochondritis, mid/end March. I'm 22.

      Started on a Sunday morning. Woke in agony, about 3am, thought I was going to be sick...was in so much pain. I can handle pain quite well, but this...later that day couldn't cope so phoned 111, cause it was abdomen pain. Had to go out of hours gp. Thought it was my appendix or my hernia scare tissue playing up. Next day I went to work, was in pain. Went a n e at about 12am that night. they was going to send me away...again...nut ended up seeing doc. Found I had kidney infection. Had to stay till pain could be contained with meds. Put some women chucked up, sister freaked, we left. Next day had cat scan, luckily no appendix or nothing. Then doc saw me n told me. Asked where my pain was, said my side, which happened to be where my ribs where. So she got second opinion as it felt like she was digging her nails into my side. He said prop muscles. So I said ok what about my tummy pain. He checked me again and felt my ribs more and sent me for chest xray. They discharged me without telling me I had it. Was not until I woke next Mon in pain still after finishing kidney tablets. Doc dmsaid my notes say I had costochondritis....thanks for telling me...but looking back I think I've had this since last year....pain is similar. But I guess kidney infection made it worse, resulting in the pain I had where u couldn't stand up, or sitting down would hurt. Everything I done hurt. Now...7 weeks on, still pain everyday. At work I sit at a desk, which I think makes it worse as these are the Times that make me take meds. This weekend has been rough. Falling sleep has been hard. And woke with chest pain, my back, shoulder blades...don't think getting drunk at pub n shouting n jumping bout helped me one bit...just don't know when my chest pain is something I should be concerned about, as it gets bad, breathing, it's horrible. :( not a lot helps.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Andrews, hopefully you're still doing as well in July when you start school. :)

      I don't blame you for getting an MRI, even if it's just for peace of mind, it would be worth it to see exactly what happens. It would be great if all things continue going as well as they are at the moment. Bet you're enjoying the reprieve as well.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi WilliamArthur

      It’s great to hear things are going so well for you and that everything is working out better nowadays. Now that you've got this new doctor, it seems things are looking up for you and it seems like she knows her stuff as well. :)

      I think a lot of doctors don’t’ know as much as they should about this condition but hopefully things will start to change in the future.

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      Andrew 3 years ago

      So glad to see the Ginger way worked for you Bettysam!! I hope that is the worst thing you have to take to get some relief...

      Update for me: So its been a while (2 months) since I had the cortisone shots in my chest where the ribs were out. All in all pain has went down a TON. I mean really. Night and Day difference..Now how long this is going to last? No one really knows. It could take the pain away forever, a few months, a year it just all depends on the person I think. I just made another appointment to see my Dr and I think I will be getting an MRI to really dig deep and see if we can figure out what is the cause of the flare ups ive been having these past couple of days. When looking at my chest you can really see the ribs kind of out when its a flare up.. and honestly it looks like there isn't enough cartilage around the ribs and I think that's why they keep moving but we shall see.. I also start chiropractic school in July so hoping to figure this out sooner rather than later! (Go insurance!)

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      WilliamArthur 3 years ago

      Hello, Just a quick update of things. I did, indeed, see the new doctor on the 23rd of April and it was an interesting visit. Previously, I had also gone to see an anxiety counselor, simply to rule out the cause as being purely psychological. Emotional state does seem to effect this chest pain, but at least I could now say that it does, absolutely, have a physical origin. The new doctor-a tiny little brusque Chinese lady- prescribed an anti-inflammatory pill for me, called "Meloxicam". I have been taking it ever since and, amazingly, it does seem to have a definite effect on the pain. It has not removed it Entirely, but so far, I have not experienced any of the "run to the hospital" moments. She also plans to do some injections in a month, but who knows, as, unfortunately, my diabetes neuropathy has also chosen at this exact moment to begin kicking into high gear, so it may all have been for nothing in any case. I guess sometimes the stars move in sick jokes. If only I would have had this new treatment option 2 years ago- it could have made the world of difference.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Rachel, best of luck recovering from your surgery. I hope things start getting better for you. There seems to be a lot happening there in your life for the last few weeks.

      It's awful for you to now have to start coping with this. The symptoms you have mentioned seem very familiar. That tenderness and pressure it often associated with costochondritis.

      Some people are lucky and can have a few episodes of costochondritis and recover from it. I hope this is your case and that very soon you get back to your normal self. :)

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      Rachel 3 years ago

      I was diagnosed with costochondritis this week but I'm pretty sure I've had it for 8 weeks now, since gallbladder removal surgery. I experience pain under my inner right ribs.. feels like clenching or stabbing.. and tenderness in the breastbone. I've had three bouts of iron band type pain across my ribs one night that almost had me heading for the ER. I've had a lot of anxiety associated with the pain which I know makes it worse with chest tightening. Additionally I've got a bit of a swollen upper ab muscle right side that is probably irritating the inflammation too. I'm on Nurofen, an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety/muscle relaxant to cope. I've healed from the surgery mow but unfortunately trying to cope with the costo. I can manage walking around and light housework but tire easily and I'm feeling really unfit. I'm on a low fodmap diet (Google it) for irritable bowel gas and that includes gluten free foods and no dairy. I'm going to try ginger tea and glucosamine to see if they help. I hope I only have this short term as it certainly limits everyday life.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi WilliamArthur, that's terrible news. Nothing seems to be as easy or as straight forward as you would like.

      It's terrible that you have such a long waiting period till you can get to see your new doctor, but hopefully some other method can now be evaluated to help you with your condition.

      It's also good to know that this form of treatment isn't appropriate for treating costochondritis. Thanks for letting us know how your doing.

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      WilliamArthur 3 years ago

      Just thought I'd post an update. The physical therapy proved to be a bust. I dutifully tried it and kept with it but it seemed, if anything, to be actually making it Worse and was absolutely no help at all in relieving the symptoms. My doctor and I decided that I should drop it and come in to make another appointment. Except for the wonderful fact that the doctor I had been seeing was leaving the clinic and the only other one available cannot see me until the 23rd of April. So, now I wait....again. Such fun!

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Momof4, sometimes there are other symptoms which can appear along with costochondritis. None of us might have experience it, but you shouldn't ignore it.

      Getting a proper diagnoses from a doctor would be the best thing for you to do. Once you get this you can then start getting some type of treatment for it. Believe me, you don't want to leave this untreated.

      The other symptoms you have described are exactly like costochondritis symptoms and ones many of us have experienced. So I do think it's likely you have it.

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      Momof4 3 years ago

      Does anyone get burning under the armpit, and around the side? I have not been diagnosed with costo, but my symptoms are so on point with what I have read. My sternum and chest above my left breast is so sore, burns and is super sore to the touch.

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      Bettysam62 3 years ago

      In the interests of sharing anything that may be of help, I'd just like to say that I recently read about people who have found that evening primrose oil capsules help with the symptoms of costochondritis. I started taking them today. It will be a short while before I will know if they help or not, but I will let you know. For anyone new to this hub, I have costo pain everyday. I not only get pain in my chest, I can also get it in my shoulder, arm and back, so Im prepared to give anything a try to get some relief. I have been taking glucosamine for about a year. I take anti-inflammatories when needed. I also use a heat pad or heated shawl, and, after Andrew writing abouthe benefits of ginger I now drink ginger tea and a ginger drink everyday day. All help make things a bit more comfortable. Its great that we can share experiences and share things that we find help. Things may not work for everyone but you never know unless you give it,

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Mary Scott, yes that is correct. However the severity of the first attack for me was very intense, and thankfully while I still get attacks today, they were never as bad as that first time.

      That's not to say they still aren't painful, they are, but once I knew what it was, it's easier to try to avoid getting it. If I still get it, now I know exactly what I can and can't do for the next few days.

      Some people really seem to suffer from it on a constant basis as you will see from the comments here, but others like myself don't live with it on a daily basis like Bettsame62 has to.

      I'd see how your daughter does after she comes of the Naproxen. If she still gets a reoccurrence, then depending on the severity of it, she could look at all options opened to her.

      The people on here who have taken the approach to get injections, have done this as costochondritis has made trying to do normal everyday things impossible. But there were other methods to try to ward of another occurrence, like Andrew's idea of Ginger water or pills and most recently Anne idea to give up Gluten. I find both of these extremely interesting and I think it's worth trying them for a while to see how she would fare out.

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      Mary Scott 3 years ago

      So am I understanding correctly that once one has an attack, they can get more?

      My daughter (age 21) had her first attack this morning. We went to emergency care where she was x-rayed and given prescription Naproxen. She had one dose and said the pain was relieved--went from an 8 to a 3 on the pain scale (0 to 10).

      We are to follow up with her GP on Monday, but for now, the doc told her to stay on the prescription Naproxen for 10 days.

      She did have scoliosis surgery 4 years ago and she does have asthma.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      hi Bettysam62,thanks for stopping by and giving us an update. Really appreciate your feedback. :)

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      Bettysam62 3 years ago

      Hi All. Im sorry to read so many stories from new contributors to this great hub, that you are suffering so much is distressing for you. I hope you find some relief, be it only temporary. I decided to give ginger a try after reading Andrews comments. I drink Twinings ginger and lemon tea (tried others, that has nicest taste), and ginger drink from Holland & Barrett (it has a kick when you 1st drink it but you quickly get used to it). Im finding benefits from these and drink them throughout the day, even took the tea with me on holiday abroad recently so I wouldn't be without it. Its not a cure-all but it does give me dome relief. It may not work for everyone, but now Ive tried it I dont want to be without it, so Thank You Andrew for talking about it. I wish you all good health and pain-free times.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Pam70, to have previously gotten relief and now to be back at square one must be depressing. It seems you're really having a bad time of it.

      Hi shaun, thanks for your comment. Glad you found what we've talked about on here useful. Once you get your diagnosis, you can get some treatment for this condition and finally get some relief.. Best of luck with the dr.

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      shaun 3 years ago

      Ive been having these symptoms for a couple months now and dr keep telling me they dont know what it is that i seem perfectly healthy. I just scheduled a drs appt and im asking him about this!! Thank you for this article!!

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      Pam70 3 years ago

      Hi everyone

      I've had costo for 5 months. It is awful!! I started physical therapy and they did laser treatment on affected areas. It helped minimize pain. I stopped therapy and pain is back with a vengeance. I've had issues with anxiety and have been on meds for it for 6 years. I've had a lot of IBS symptoms too lately.

      Anne - how long too see improvement when removing grains from diet?

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      hi WilliamArthur, that's a tad annoying. Hopefully he will deliver on his promise and you will see positive results. Still it's your body and you yourself will be the best to judge on how this therapy is progressing. Hope it all goes well for you and you see results soon.

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      hi Margi1969, thank you for sharing your story. I think this condition can be ignored by many who don't know anything about it. It's good to see that your complaint was not ignored and eventually it was correctly diagnosed.

      While having to go through so much to get diagnosed, at least now you can follow up with the correct treatment. Good luck with the injections. I'm pretty sure you'll be back to your old self soon. :)

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      WilliamArthur 3 years ago

      Hello Costo Sufferers, I saw the physical therapist for the 1st time today and have to say that I have quite mixed feelings about it. The PT guy seems to be thinking that it's somehow connected to the middle of the back, which I very much doubt. But, having said that I will, of course, continue on with whatever the "experts" seem to feel will alleviate this debilitating pain. The therapy I received today appeared to consist of upper body stretching movements. I know it's only the 1st visit, but I did not notice any appreciable difference from it. He did schedule me for 12 visits in all, so I'll wait and see what kind of condition I am in at the end of it. I'll be sure to keep you up to date with any progress.

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      Margi1969 3 years ago

      Hi everyone

      I've read all the comments and feel so much better knowing its not just me who has costo. My boss thought I'd made it up when I mentioned it because it was unheard of to most people. I've been in pain now for around 18 months to 2 years, I've had 5 mammograms cos each time I moan about the pain which for me is under the right breast and on my sternum, they send you to the breast clinic which is good and thorough but painful. The breast specialist said it was costo, my physio said its tetses which is similar. I've spent £250 quid this time on physio and the spine bones keep clicking back in but the sternum is very sore and across my chest at the top, when the physio pressed each cartilage rib area it was horrendous like being stabbed with a red hot poker. Anyway, I'm going to the pain clinic on the 12th March for injection advice and I think I'll try them, anything is better than the pain. I put Ibruprofen gel on the area, can't have Ibruprofen tablets or diclofenac because I've gone chrons and I drink hot milk and ginger before bedtime and have a pillow that I kind of snuggle. I'm not as in pain as some, and I wish everyone could be pain free. Wanted to share my thoughts, thanks and love to you all x

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Anne, that is such an interesting fact. I didn't know that, but I would totally be willing to try it. It's a healthy alternative too. I think any bit of improvement from adopting this approach would be great in the long run. Plus it's so easy to take this approach with the availability of gluten free food products on the market.

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      Anne 3 years ago

      I've costochondritis over six years permanently and it is horrendous. I only started to see improvement when I gave up eating anything with gluten in it. Then last summer I gave up all grains and have had much more improvement. Gluten can cause inflammation in the soft tissue of the joints. Give it a try and see if you improve, I hope you do. X

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      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      Hi Andrew, that's fab news. :)

      Thanks for your update.. It's great to hear that you are doing so well and feeling the positive results from getting the shots.

      It proves that they are definitely an option worth considering.

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      Andrew 3 years ago

      Update on the Cortisone shots. 2 weeks later and I have at least 50% relief! Im not in this constant state of pain! Im so happy! I do still feel some pressure on my chest area but its not too bad and 150% better feeling than my normal pain level! YAY!!! :)