Newly Diagnosed Costochondritis

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I've just been diagnosed with having this condition after constant pain for 6 months and many trips to my GP and A&E. The pain has been coming and going for 6 months but it came on again almost a fortnight ago and has been so bad I ended up in hospital. I can't lie on my back, can't go anywhere near my left side and struggle to sleep as the pain is agonizing. Every time I take a deep breath i get stabbing pains and feel like I'm having a heart attack. The pain has spread to my back but is mainly down my left hand side. I'm a fairly active person but have given everything up over the past 2 weeks and have even had to take time off work - it's taking over my life! As I'm fairly new to it I don't know much about how to manage the pain or how to deal with it apart from taking very strong codeine which I still don't feel works that well! I can't take anti-inflams as have been told they're too harsh on my stomach. I don't understand how people are expected to just live with this condition... It has been a long and painful two weeks and I continually find myself in tears and very frustrated. I'm only 26 and don't want this to take over! Does anyone have any advice? I see some people have been to a physio / chiropractor ... Are you finding this to be successful?

Thanks! I appreciate any advice / tips as to how I can better manage this!

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    I feel your pain....Literally!!!! I have tietze syndrome which is slightly different but primarily the same. I've had it for 16 months but was luck that it was diagnosed quickly. I have had acupuncture, opioid medications, physio and hydro, steroids tablet and injection and have just started cranio-sacral therapy. Currently none of these have worked.

    I just wanted to reply to you and say you're not alone. Although it feels like the pain takes over your life and some days/weeks it will, you will learn to live with it even on the days you feel like someone is burning your chest from the inside.

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    • Posted

      Ps tips/advice.

      1) Be persistent with your GP-it took me 5 months from diagnosis to see a rheumatologist and another 2 to get an appointment.

      2) I know it's summer now, but trap up warm in winter. I suffered terribly Most days in the cold.

      3) I keep a pain diary partly for me and partly to shove at my GP when needed. It helps me to identify what activities make it worse and how long painful episodes last. I also rate each pain day out of 10.

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    • Posted

      Thank you!! Even just hearing from someone that knows what I'm talking about helps! Most people don't realise how bad the pain can actually be. Thanks for the advice, I will definitely start a diary to try and keep track of it all and hopefully I might start to notice some patterns with what triggers the pain etc. Will definitely take the winter advice on board - my GP thinks that's what started it all to begin with as I first felt the pain in the middle of winter so at least il be better prepared for it this time round.

      Thanks again!

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    • Posted

      I'm glad I could help. It's really hard to find people that empathise with you. For me because it's been so long my friends and family struggle to be as understanding especially when I can't get out I bed for days because of lack of sleep and pain.

      I hope you start to find pain solutions soon smile

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  • Posted

    Hello Hannah I'm Simon and I have chronic costochondritis for the last year and a bit. So I understand your pain it took myself several trips to the doctors , specialists and 15 ECG later to determine I have this. It has controlled my life in that I couldn't travel ,work do any sport because I would get pain down my left side of my chest and back and arms also couldn't sleep on my side as I'd wake in pain and dripping with sweat like a cardiac problem. I had physio sessions where I had ultra sound type treatment which helped maybe ask the gp about it ? Also have codeine too and I found deep freeze cold gel to help. As for anti inflamatories I was given them with omeprazole which stop the stomach acid. Sadly not much can be done and it feels like your alone with this but your not in always here to help others with info or just to be a shoulder smile

    You can try other things like cod liver oil and also glucosmaine sulphate which is for joints etc.

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    • Posted

      Hi Simon,

      Thanks for the message. It's relief hearing that other people are having the same problems. I've read about the cod oil and fish oil so might go and get some of that today.

      Thanks 😊

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  • Posted

    Strongly recommend immediately going on anti inflammatory diet

    Hard to do at the beginning but it worked for me

    I was diagnosed with severe costocondritis after a traumatic fall.

    I am in week 10 and almost back to normal with no drugs at all.

    i have followed the no sugar, no dairy, no processed foods, no alcohol ,no gluten for 10 weeks.  I do not know medically if that is the reason why I

    am getting better but my pain is minimal compared to ten weeks ago.

    A soft pillow on your stomach helps sleep I also used a jade stone heating pad a lot on the pain area I use a topical cream called Sombra which I apply at night.  

    Good luck in your journey.....

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    • Posted

      Thanks Heather. I have wondered about particular diets and if that would help. It must have been tricky to give up all of those things at the same time!
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  • Posted

    Hi, i have been on a strict diet. For months. My costo is worse than ever, diagnosed in January. I was a bit better for a while. Seeing a nchiropractor twice a week, at least. Now it is overwhelming me again. My stomach hurts when the food irritates the rib cage. My arms, hands, back hurt. NSAIDs make me sick, my mood is down. I get a feeling of fever. When will this stupid illness leave me? Never? Well, happy I'm not alone.
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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply. Do you feel like a chiropractor is working? You're right - it is a completely horrible thing to have to live with but I am feeling relieved in hearing that other people are experiencing the same thing!
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    • Posted

      hi, yes, it WAS woraking, he got my rib cage moving. But now I don't know. I suffer from health anxiety, too, so this getting really difficult. I'm afraid I have worse underlying conditions that are causing this. It is easy to think that when it starts to be chronic and doesn't disappear...

       

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    • Posted

      That's the thing that's frustrating me as I've been told to take it easy and cut back on the gym, no heavy lifting etc till it's gone but then how do you truly know if it's actually gone?!
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  • Posted

    My sister has this same condition. Her rheumatologist was not mch help so she went to a pain management place and has found empathy and relief from this very painful condition. You need to talk to someone who understands the pain! Best wishes.
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  • Posted

    Hi again, yes, when do you know? You probably won't. For instance I think I have had this for a long time. Stuff that I have had considered as stomach issues has probably been a mild costo, mild to start with. Yes, I'm fed up and worried that thre is more to it. It is often part of fibromyalgia, too.

    .

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