Costochondritis Diagnosis

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Costochondritis Diagnosis

It has been some time since I updated this blog. That is mostly due to the fact that I have just not been feeling it lately. I haven’t been feeling myself and I haven’t been feeling well.

A month ago, on top of my rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) with Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), I was diagnosed with Costochondritis.

Costochondritis (kos-toe-kon-DRY-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum). Pain caused by costochondritis might mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

Costochondritis is sometimes known as chest wall pain, costosternal syndrome or costosternal chondrodynia. Sometimes, swelling accompanies the pain (Tietze syndrome).

Costochondritis usually has no apparent cause. Treatment focuses on easing your pain while you wait for the condition to improve on its own, which can take several weeks or longer. (source – Mayo Clinic)

In my case, I have had a costochondritis flare-up since Thanksgiving 2021. It is by far the most painful medical issue I have had to deal with. It is a constant ache sometimes dull and other times more intense, that just doesn’t go away without medication. Periodically there is a very sharp intense pain on my right side that feels like what I would imagine I’m being stabbed feels like. It lasts about 20-30 seconds and then disappears, leaving a constant ache in its wake. The ache on average is 3-4 on the pain scale and it is just there all the time, if I take a deep breath or move wrong it jumps up to a 5-6 sometimes more. I’m taking tramadol 100mg three times a day, along with my Enbrel for the RA, Gabapentin (2400 mg a day), propranolol for the PoTS symptoms (High BP and Rapid HR, plus the whole standing up thing), and a muscle relaxer in the evening and my Seroquel to sleep.

The issue is that the Tramadol is making me (for a lack of a better word) ‘dumb’ (brain fog). More so that the gabapentin is giving me brain fog and it is not eliminating the pain, it is just dulling it so I can get through the day.

I belong to several Costochondritis support groups on Facebook and most of the people there don’t seem to ever have their symptoms go away, but my rheumatologist is telling me that it should go away after a few months.

Getting the Costochondritis diagnosed was a major pain in the backside as well. It was a trip to the ER, a trip to the gastroenterologist, an endoscopy, and a trip to my rheumatologist, just to get it diagnosed.

I joke with everyone and tell them that I’m collecting autoimmune disorders like charms on a bracelet.

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