Having costochondritis can be painful and even inconvenient. The condition starts when there is an inflammation at the cartilage that connects the breast bone (sternum) and ribs together. Costochondritis can come from a number of causes, but none of them specific and identified as the definite cause. Some doctors say that the condition is caused by repeated microtrauma or injury to the chest, or as a complication to a surgery done at the sternum. Some also say it can be caused by chronic respiratory conditions, a viral infection, or a presence of an inflammatory disease. Symptoms of costochondritis can manifest during excessive physical exerction, coughing, and sneezing. The symptoms can include:
– Pain and tenderness at the costosternal joint – the point where your ribs connect with the sternum.
– The quality can range from dull, to sharp and gnawing pain.
– Often usually located at the left side of the chest, but can radiate towards the arms and sides. It is also possible to feel the pain at the right side of the chest.
– Pain is usually felt between the 2nd and 5th costosternal joint.
Symptoms of costochondritis are often noted to be aggravated when doing excessive breathing, heavy physical activity, or doing something that you are not accustomed to. To ease the pain, some doctors recommend taking NSAID’s every 4 hours or whenever needed. If you are not experiencing chest wall pain, your doctor may also advice you to take a pain medication 30 minutes before doing any strenuous activity such as moving furniture and preparing dinner for 6 people. To help the pain medication, you are advised to rest and calm your breathing as deep respiration is known to worsen the pain. Hot packs applied for several minutes several times a day may also help, but be careful not to burn yourself. Some find that cold packs will only make the condition worse as it will bring about muscular spasm. Symptoms of costochondritis can also be lessened when taking muscle relaxants with NSAID’s for better relief. If these remedies do not work, or if you experience fever, chills, nausea and vomiting with the onset of pain, you must go visit the doctor. You may be experiencing other infectious condition or a heart attack.