Welcome to Costochondritis.com. We hope to create a trusted resource for solutions, information and research about this painful condition.
Costochondritis is harmless and typically goes away on its own most of the time but it can be painful, frustrating and long-lasting for many other people. Studies have shown that up to 30% of adult patients (and 14% of adolescent) presenting with chest pain in the ER were diagnosed with costochondritis.
What is Costochondritis?
Costochondritis is a an inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the sternum, typically resulting in pain. The cause of costochondritis is unknown usually (though there are many potential causes). Costochondritis will typically go away on its own within a few weeks to a months, though some have reported experiencing symptoms for years. The condition tends to flare up off and on over time.
There are many causes for chest and rib pain. If you are experiencing chest pain, it is important to see a physician to confirm what is causing your symptoms. Be sure to call a physician if you are having trouble breathing, have a high fever, or have any signs of infection.
Your doctor will most likely want to rule out heart and lung-related issues before proceeding to a costochondritis diagnosis. Read more about seeing a doctor for chest pain.
Treatment for Costochondritis
The most common treatment for costochondritis is pain relief (either via medication, heat/ice, or analgesic gels). Unfortunately, there have been no clinical studies of treatment for costochondritis. While there is no single effective cure for costochondritis, there are a variety of medical treatments and home remedies available:
- Physical therapy, stretches, and yoga
- TENS Therapy
- Topical pain relief creams and gels
- Devices such as the Backpod
- Diet changes and vitamins/supplements
Often, multiple aspects of these treatments can be combined to overcome costochondritis. You can read more about different costochondritis treatments here.
Sharp pain in the chest where the rib attaches to the sternum is the most common symptom of costochondritis. However, there are many conditions and diseases that can cause chest pain.
Physicians follow specific criteria to diagnose costochondritis, and there are many conditions that can be mistaken for costochondritis (and vice versa). You can read more about symptoms of costochondritis here.