Possible costochondritis. Any advice please

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Hello I will be 70 in a,weeks time and have several health problems. A few years ago I was told that I have degeneration in the neck and add spine. I also have arthritis in knees and possibly hips. I am used to pain but admit I have a very low pain threshold. About 4 weeks ago I started suffer pain between shoulders made worse by activity. I put it down to lifting heavy grandson and thought it would get better. It has got worse and because I suffer from anxiety am finding it hard to cope. I have just started some counselling for the anxiety. Today I saw my gp because as well as the back pain which is the worst I have started getting soreness right down the breadwinner and sore breasts. I have to take my bra off to get some relief. Gp examined me and said it is the ribs rubbing on the sternum probably made worse by anxiety. She mentioned costochondritis but did not actually say it was. I gave been given ranitidine as I have as light indigestion and a angina spray in case the chest gets tight just to see if it works although I had heart stress scan earlier this year for angina but the tests came back clear. Any advice would be appreciated. I am anxious that I will not be well enough for my birthday party next weekend. I also sing in a choir and am finding the moves leave me in a lot of pain. Thanks for reading this.

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  • Posted

    Hey! Firstly, I’m so sorry that you’re suffering at the moment because it’s horrible. What does your chest feel like? A huge thing that indicates costochondritis is your rib cage being sore, especially down the Centre (in between your boobs). Whenever a doctor has pushed my breastbone and rib cage it’s litrally taken my breath away and that’s a huge indicator of costo.

    I also suffer from anxiety. I got diagnosed with costo 4 years ago and have only just been diagnosed with anxiety, even though I’ve had it for a while. It is true what they say, and that is that anxiety makes it so much worse. I’ve just been put on amitriptyline to help the pain and my anxiety. 

    A huge piece of advice I can give you is that there is such a huge community of costo suffers and reading how others have felt has made me a lot calmer and I want you to know that even though it’s painful, it’s not dangerous so stay calm!

    You will be fine to go out for your birthday!! Don’t let your anxiety take that away from you and happy birthday in advance!

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply.  I can tell you that likewise when my GP pressed down the breast bone it took my breath away.  When I touch it it is sore to the touch like a bruise and sometime the breasts hurt. I wonder if this is made worse by anxiety as I have read on line that anxiety can cause back pain and tightness around the sternum.  It does also feel a bit like indigestion at times but no actual heartburn. Just burping.  I do have large breasts so that probably does not help as with the neck arthritis I do sometimes have the tendency to stoop slightly so I have to make a real effort to stand straight.  The back pain is the worse probably because of the arthritis and I am overweight.  I am having trouble just walking around the supermarket and sent my husband this week to do the shop, likewise housework and of course this adds to the anxiety.  It is definitely better lying down with a hot water bottle and not so bad at night.  I should add that we moved up from London to where we are now (Greater Manchester) to be near daughter and family,  It is her who is arranging the party and my other son and daughter and families will be coming up.  I found the whole move very stressful both mentally and physically.  My husband also has health issues.  I am look forward to the party but obviously a bit concerned.  It is only 10 mins drive away so that's ok.  Will let you know how it goes.  Am starting the Ranatadine tonight and just taking paracetamol and ibuprofen cream sparingly as I can't take anything stronger.  Thanks for your interest and advice.

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    • Posted

      Sorry I should have said hope you are not in too much pain.  You have had it for 4 years has it improved much over this time.  I wish you well.
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    • Posted

      It definitely sounds like your anxiety is causing a lot of your pain, the same as mine. Have you spoken to a doctor about your anxiety before? Are you on medication?

      Unfortunately my costochondritis has gotten so much worse in the 4 years I’ve had it and I’m currently on the waiting list for pain management, psychotherapy and physiotherapy to help it. But that does not mean this would be the case for you.

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    • Posted

      So sorry to hear that you are suffering for so long. Do you have any idea why there is no improvement. I hope that you get some more help soon.

      With regard to my anxiety I have suffered on and off since 2010. I am not on any medication but as I mentioned I have just started CBT counselling. I have general anxiety with a lot of is to do with health problems not just the current pain but knee and leg arthritis pain,asthma and rhinitis, glaucoma, underactive thyroid, IBS and diverticular disease. Some of these on their own may not seem to bad but all of them together really makes me anxious for the future. I am limited to paracetamol and ibuprofen cream for pain. I cannot take anything strongest as they affect the ibs and that I can do without.

      I am trying to concentrate on trying to be as well as possible for my party. After that I will be going back to my gp if the pain does not lessen. Will keep in touch. Carolx

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  • Posted

    Hi there sorry to hear about your pain. I have had costochondritis since April of this year it happened after a bout of bronchitis. Unfortunately I have been in daily pain since then some days are worse than others. I have tried strong co codamol, naproxen, amitriptyline and the latest has been gabapentin unfortunately I am still not getting much relief from the constant pain. A hot water bottle sometimes helps to ease it slightly. I have pain in my chest. Rib cage and around the back and between the shoulder blades. At a gp appointment last week doctor advised next step

    Would be a referral to a pain clinic but I am honestly not holding out much hope. I am sorry I can't be more positive with regards to helping with you to deal with the pain. I really hope you get some relief soon Xx 

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply,  I am sorry you too are suffering.It is funny you mention about bronchitis as I suffer from both asthma and rhinitis and a couple of months ago I had some type of virus which made me cough and cough.  I wonder if this could be part of the cause. You have a lot to put up with.  I do hope if you are referred to the pain clinic they can help you.  All the Best to you.
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