Costochondritis pain and discomfort

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I am a 39 yr old mother of a 5yr old daughter. I live in Newry, northern Ireland.

I was diagnosed with costochondritis 2 years ago this month. Like everyone elses case I have read on here I was totally convinced there was something more serious wrong with me and argued with my Doctor for a long time about it.

It started when I got a flu while on holidays and the only thing that I can think may

have brought it on was the coughing. It comes and goes every couple of months but there isn't a day that I don't get some kind of pain in my back or chest area. Just

before Christmas last year while driving to work I took really sharp chest pain and

felt like my heart was jumping around in my chest. This panicked me as I thought I

was having a heart attack. I pulled into the hard shoulder as I had my little girl in the car with me and I was finding it difficult to breath. The panic stopped after a while and I went straight to A&E. They did numerous tests, ECG, chest Xrays, blood tests, you name it and in the end they said they agreed with my GP that it was

costochondritis. They put me in Diclofenic tabs, which are anti inflammatory. They did help and the condition eased up after a few days but it wasn't long til it reared its ugly head again. so for me its 2 weeks of severe pain and maybe 4-5 weeks of bearable pain then back to severe pain again.

I am down at minute but this time its really bad, it seems each time I get it It is more severe. I am now on naproxin which to be honest I find useless. Pain killers are not working and even the hot water bottle which I found great is no use this time.

The majority of my pain in in my back between my shoulder blades and travels up into my neck and shoulders, sometimes down my arms. Although I have chest pain the worst is in my back, though if I were to press on my ribs at the front I could scream with pain.

I find this time with it being worse it is affecting my moods. I am snapping at my little girl all the time which I feel terrible about, and I just dont want to do anything. Work is just a nightmare recently. I am normally an upbeat person and very little gets me down, but it is really taking its toll. I have had this condition now for 2 years and it really in not understood. Most people I talk to have never heard of it, so when I found this forum and so many people suffering like myself it was a God send. So hopefully I can gain some knowledge from other people and anyone panicking about the pain they are feeling and thinking its something bad, can take some reassurance from my story.

Does anyone feel the pain is in their back more then their chest area. And if anyone has any advice or anything, please do share with me.

Sinead

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  • Posted

    I have had probllems as you describe. Mine were caused by my internal defib firing and when this happens the arms get thrown back and it pulls the muscle where the

    ribs join the breasbone. After 3 visits to  A&E the doctor who used to work in the heart department  new exactly what the problem was. He put me on a 5 day course of

    two 500mg parecetamol 4 times a day and 400mg of ibrufen 3 times a day.

    He said that if I get any twinges after that to take paracetamol. You could ask your doctor for oramorph; The problem takes upto a year to clear but get a second opinion if not happy with the way it is going.

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  • Posted

    Hello Sinead, Years ago I developed a terrible pain like yours when a chiropractor over corrected me. It lasted nearly 6 months and I thought it was heart problems, pleurisy etc It eased up a little when I was active (and warm). It was so painful one Sunday I saw a physiotherapist who worked on a nerve firing in my neck. Two visits and the pain was gone after 6 months of feeling I had dislodged my shoulderblade. I called her the healing hands. Good luck.
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    • Posted

      Hi Ina,

      My Doc has now referred me to a physiotherapist so I am just waiting for an appointment. She did say it could take a couple of weeks though. Have had it bad this time round and nothing seems to be working. I am eating painkillers along with anti infalmmatory tabs. Seems to be lasting alot longer this time too. Pain is alot worse when sitting. When I am up and about it doesn't seem to bother me so much.  I hope it is something like a nerve in my neck, that can be fixed easily. The only thing is the pain can be anywhere from my shoulder blades and upper back right down to my hips. Pain seems to move on a daily basis. 

      Feeling really crap at the moment as its been going on so long now and this time like I said more severe. Healing hands I need.

      Thanks for the reply Ina.

      Sinead

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    • Posted

      Hi Sinead34836

      ​I hope you are feeling better. 

      I am male 26 years of age and I am having some of the symptoms you mentioned - pain in the chest + pain in the shoulder blades + back of the arm. I went to the doctor and he diagonized me with Costochondritis as well. He prescribed anti-inflammatory tablets. I have been trying them. Exactly like you said, my condition got better for a week and then got worse. I would like to know what you did, if your physiotherapist worked or if there's something else that's clicked, if that's okay.  Were you able to pin it down as to what was causing the pain ? 

      Thanks. 

       

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  • Posted

    I have had this for 5 months. It is the worst thing possible. I have the pain in my rib cage on both sides, it started with just my left side but now my whole chest, sternum and ribs hurt. I also now have pain in my back, shoulders and down my arms. I find that stress makes it worse. I had a break from the pain for about a week but it came back strong! I take ibuprophen every 4 to 6 hours and sometimes a painkiller caled tramedol which does nothing really. the medications just upset my stomach and I dont feel like eating. I use heat as often as I can but even that isnt doing much. I agree with you that this makes me irritable and I also finf myself snapping at my loved ones. Like you, I welcome any advice I can get as I also go to the chiropractor 2 times a week for laser treatments and still no relief!

     

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    • Posted

      Hello Stevie just read your note you say you go to chiropractor well I went on Tuesday had aqua puncture into cartalige she told me to use ice packs not heat as she always does when ever what ever I go for as the inflammation needs cold not hot I've use my famous OLBAS oil again tonight think this definitely helps 
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  • Posted

    Hello my name is Karen and I've been dealing with this same kind of pain for well over a yr now,  I've went to the e.r flight it before a long time ago and the Dr told me it was costocondritis and I kinda didn't believe him.  But it's been extremely bad lately and nothing I do seems to help with the pain and now my Dr thinks it's my gallbladder cause it hurts after I eat alot. And the pain is mainly in my back.  Please help me with what to do for the pain cause it gets like you say unbearable. Thank you
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    • Posted

      Hi Karen, you posted this over a year ago but I was wondering if you could tell me if you found any relief? I have similar symptoms and also gallbladder issues, but the pain is in the opposite side of my back. Just curious if they ever discovered the cause if you don't mind sharing. Thanks!

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    • Posted

      I'm aware this post is pretty old but could it tietze sydrome? Pain can be especially worse after eating and is very similar to cocatochondritis pain radiates around full rib area with that also.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I have just been diagnosed with costochondritis after having ECG and Endoscope checking heart and stomach which was the original diagnosis, however all proved  OK.

    The chest pain has been terrible at night and has lead to loss of sleep etc.

    I play tennis 2-3 times a week and put it down to the exertion of this, but have found some exercise has helped.

    With this in mind I went to a sports physio this week, who massaged my back and clicked a few bones and hey presto, pain has subsided substantially and I now sleep through the night. Just a mild pain in the morning.

    I have decided to avoid tennis for a few weeks to limit any stress on my spine and/or chest and will go back to gentle exercise to see if cured.

    I hope this helps other sufferers.

    Garry

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  • Posted

    Hi Sinead

    i was diagnosed with Costochondritis a few years ago. After many trips to A&E with bad chest pains and many tests later they diagnosed Costochrondritis. It was a relief to to get a diagnoses t as I was always thinking I was having a heart attack and panic set in which made everything much worse. They told me to try various pain killers which didn't really help. I learnt to deal with it myself and soon realised that any form of strenuous exercise would set it of again. Moving furniture or other heavy objects would also have impact on it. Now when I feel pain I rub pain gel or cream on the chest and wear good sports bra to support the chest. I have sessions with a pyhsiotherpiest which also helps. I know Costochondritis is very stressful and very painful so I hope my experience helps. I live in UK but I am from Carlingford near you. Good luck.

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    • Posted

      I also have this Costo. At the minute I have the cold too and I am very drained. My back and chest are extremely sore it's getting me very down 😞
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  • Posted

    Just an update on my previous posting a few months ago. I started taking Omega 3 fishoils 2 x 1000mg capsules with meals in January and have found the effect on costocondritis amazing.

    I no longer have pain at night and am back playing tennis regularly. A simple stretching excercise helps too by extending my arms out wide and turning head from left to right. It helps to stretch out the chest and alleviates any pain.

    Costo is under control and I hope this may help other sufferers.

    Regards

    Garry

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    • Posted

      Wow thats bril news.  My daughter (18) has just been told she has this.  she has been in awlful pain for weeks and comes home crying from work most nights.  the doc didnt send her for any scans or tests.  he has just said to come for blood test next week.  he has also said its down to anxity and she is now on medication for the this.  

      I think I will get her some of the fishoils capsules and see how it goes.

      How long would you say it took to notice a change and did you notice any side effects to the fish oil tabs 

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    • Posted

      The pain subsided within a week of taking fish oils. There are no side effects except sometimes fishy burps!! But, make sure they are taken with food and this is not so bad. I checked on websites and there is no evidence of any side effects that I know of.

      Anxiety is possible and I believe this has something to do with my problem too. I now try to relax more about minor problems, eat more healthily and continue with the stretching excersises and tennis. Just a slight twinge every now and then reminds me to keep calm and carry on!

      Hope your daughter recovers as well as me.

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    • Posted

      Thank You Garry,

      I am going to take the Fishoils as soon as I get off here.  This is the 3rd time having it.  I'm pretty sure thats what it is.  Doc said it was inflammation and told me to take Advil. Helped, but this time it is worse.  I have R A and I'm doing really well with it but this Costochonodritis has me down. Thank You again Garry. I'll let you know how i'm doing. Thanks :-)

       

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    • Posted

      I am 65 and at times have had the pain between shoulder blades and shortness of breath. Usually my back is out of alignment and adjustments help. This time went to Urgent care and lungs were clear but lung test showed low so did inhaler. Gave me steriods. It has given me a constant headache since yesterday. 

      I will go back to Chiro for a second visit as well. I know women different symptoms than men for heart issues. 

      Anyway i will take my omega more regularly  and I like the exercise you describe. I can hear the back of my neck crunching as I know it is tight. Thanks.

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    • Posted

      HI

      i've just been diagnosed with costochondritis after getting the symptoms on and off for the last 3 years. I've recently been taking 500mg fish oils 2 or 3 times a week but some years ago I was taking 1000 mg per day. The reason I stopped the large dose after several years with no bad effects was that I began to get an irritating and uncontrollable cough caused by acid reflux and this was what caused the costochondritis in the first place. I only realised the reflux was being caused by the fish oils when I stopped taking it fo two weeks before having an endoscopy (it is known to thin the blood and can cause bleeding during surgical procedures) and the reflux and the coughing stopped.

      Although the coughing stopped I was left with the severe pains of costo in my lower ribs and it has never cleared up completely although it does improve for several months at a time.

      If you find you are getting throat irritation and a cough, Garry, this could be the cause but hopefully you won't get this. I just thought I'd better let you know this can happen so you could cut back on the fish oils to see if it stops the problem. 

      I now go to great lengths to avoid catching a cough as that's the last thing any of us here needs.

      Hope you continue to be relatively well.

       

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    • Posted

      Hello Stephanie I am reading your review I understand it is old but your story sounds like mine . It's been 3 years I have been suffering from this And not even diagnosed yet . Did you ever go to a rheumatologist?

      That is where I am heading now. Did you ever have shortness of breath with this ? It's so stressful this condition mimics heart attack symptoms . I have had chest X-rays and ekgs blood work as well .

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    • Posted

      Hi Simone I also have this excruciating pain in my sternum also had a test done ekg also was told it was costochondritis but im not taking anything yet going to go to a rhemotologist im glad im not alone thks
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