What Is Costochondritis?

The rib cage of a human
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What Is Costochondritis?

***DISCLAIMER*** I’m not a doctor or in the medical field, I have been diagnosed with Costochondritis at the ER and my Rheumatologist confirmed that diagnosis. I also have several Rheumatologic conditions (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Sjögren’s syndrome)

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. – Mayo Clinic

Costochondritis, an inflammation of costochondral junctions of ribs or chondrosternal joints of the anterior chest wall, is a common condition seen in patients presenting to the physician’s office and emergency department. Palpation of the affected chondrosternal joints of the chest wall elicits tenderness. Although costochondritis is usually self-limited and benign, it should be distinguished from other, more serious causes of chest pain. Coronary artery disease is present in 3 to 6 percent of adult patients with chest pain and chest wall tenderness to palpation. History and physical examination of the chest that document reproducible pain by palpation over the costal cartilage are usually all that is needed to make the diagnosis in children, adolescents, and young adults. Patients older than 35 years, those with a history or risk of coronary artery disease, and any patient with cardiopulmonary symptoms should have an electrocardiograph and possibly a chest radiograph. Consider further testing to rule out cardiac causes if clinically indicated by age or cardiac risk status. Clinical trials of treatment are lacking. Traditional practice is to treat with acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory medications where safe and appropriate, advise patients to avoid activities that produce chest muscle overuse and provide reassurance. – American Family Physician

Costochondritis often affects people older than 40 years old and is often affecting more than one site on the chest wall. There isn’t any swelling associated with Costochondritis. It is important to note that though there is only one Costochondritis, there are several causes of it, one being injury as well as repetitive motion, another is associated with Rheumatologic conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Fibromyalgia. Though much of the medical field does not distinguish between the two, there are some significant differences, the most important being that Costochondritis caused by an injury often subsides and goes away after a few weeks to months. Where Costochondritis associated with Rheumatologic conditions tends to stick around like glue.

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