What is Costochondritis?

I've talked a lot before about Costochondritis and so here's an article explaining what it is and what causes it. Those of us with Fibromyalgia are very aware of the pain that this causes.  Out of all the pain I've felt because of Fibromyalgia, the pain of Costochondritis is by far the worst.  

What Is Costochondritis?

When you feel a stabbing pain in the ribs, it is not always an indication of an injury. When it first happens, you may be worried that it\'s heart disease, or even - if it\'s severe enough - a heart attack.
Instead, you may be suffering from costochondritis, which is an irritation of the cartilage that connects the ribs and the chest plate or sternum.
Costochondritis can cause severe rib pain. Many people say it feels like pain caused by a broken rib.

What Are the Causes of Costochondritis?

There are a number of possible causes for costochondritis.
Most of the time, you get costochondritis due to a severe blow to the chest or ribcage. People who have recently been in auto accidents often get costochondritis.

Athletes who participate in rough contact sports like American football or soccer tend to get costochondritis more often than non-athletes.

You can also get costochondritis by straining muscles and ligaments around your ribcage. Typically, you might do this by trying to lift, pull or push something that\'s too heavy for you.
Finally, costochondritis can result from several medical conditions.

Fibromyalgia is one example. Fibromyalgia is a somewhat mysterious  condition that causes chronic pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints. It can affect the chest and ribs.
Anyone who has a severe lung infection that causes chronic coughing can also get costochondritis. Repeated coughing can strain muscles. ligaments and cartilage in the chest.

How to Know If You Have Costochondritis

One of the best ways to know if you have costochondritis is the simplest: ribcage pain in the area around the chest plate.

There are generally two ways to experience the discomfort of costochondritis.

One type is an intense stabbing pain that some people say feels like a knife. This type of pain often appears more on the left side than the right. Since the heart is located slightly to the left in the chest, many people fear their discomfort is being caused by heart problems.

Taking a breath can be uncomfortable or even painful when you have costochondritis. Coughing can even cause intense pain.

The other type of pain caused by costochondritis is a nagging soreness in the chest are that doesn\'t want to go away. It can also be tender to the touch.

Whenever there are chest pain issues, an immediate trip to the physician is in order.
Generally speaking, costochondritis heals on its own with the passage of time. There\'s really very little you can do to speed up the healing process.

While you wait it out, you may be able to get a prescription for some pain relievers from your doctor. These can be especially helpful if your rib pain is so intense that it\'s keeping you from getting a good night\'s sleep.

About the Author
George McKenzie is a former TV news anchor, medical reporter and radio talk show host.


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