Costochondritis is one of many disorders associated with Auto Immune Diseases. Normally this disorder will go away on its own. When associated with an autoimmune diseases such as PBC, it may linger for years or a lifetime.
Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the breastbone (costo = rib, chond = cartilage, itis = inflammation).
Costochondritis causes mild to severe pain in the lower rib area or upper breastbone. Some people fear they are having a heart attack. The most severe pain is usually in the lower rib area between the breast and upper abdomen. The pain may be more noticeable in sitting or reclining positions, and stress is known to aggravate this condition. I've found that when I have these attacks, that I can't fully inhale as much oxygen as I normally can. It's like there is a restriction, and I can only take in so much. I guess that's just my body trying tom tell me that something isn't right inside, and not to do that.
Costochondritis may also be caused by trauma, such as bumping the rib cage; as a result of a viral infection; or as part of an inflammatory disease process. Usually the cause is unknown.
I was diagnosed with Costo. in 1990. It was Christmas morning when I realized that something was wrong. I was laying on the couch, eating olives, watching football : ), when all of a sudden I got this tremendous sharp pain that took my breath away, and hurt so bad. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest and just pounding the crap out of me. Kinda like jabs with the fist, and then with an ice pick.
Back then, the doctors just said "You have an inflammation in the cartilage in the ribs." It wasn't until just recently that I realized that over the past 8 years that I continued having these problems. I mean I know that I still had these pains, and sometimes they killed me, but as time when on, It just became part of me, and I didn't think anything about them. When and if I get these pains, I just try to breathe normal, keep calm, and try not to over do it.
Once the diagnosis of costochondritis is made, it usually responds well to a course of a pain-killing, anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or any of a number of prescription medications.
I was given some anti-biotics, and anti-inflammatory pills.
If this condition doesn't respond to simple treatment measures, you should undergo more tests.
What is It?...
Painful inflammation (swelling) of the cartilage of the ribs (attaching ribs to sternum). Commonly affects the 3rd or 4th ribs.
Age of onset...
before 40. Both sexes are affected equally. May mimic cardiac pain.
Cause of the inflammation is often unknown.
Signs and Symptoms...
1. Pain in the chest wall, usually sharp in nature, especially on pressure.
2. Pain may occur in more than one location and may radiate into the arm.
3. Pain worsens with movement.
4. Tightness in chest.
5. Affected area is sensitive to the touch.
Trauma, such as a blow to the chest.
Unusual physical activity.
Upper respiratory infection.
Avoidance of activities that may strain or cause trauma to the rib cage.
Diagnosis and Treatment...
General Measures, Rest.
Ice packs applied to the affected area.
Avoidance of sudden movements that will intensify the pain.
Mild pain medications, such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help relieve discomfort.
Stronger pain medicines and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may be prescribed.
Steroid injections may be prescribed for some patients.
I take St. John's Wort, Siberian Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin E, Hawthorn Berriers, Glucosamine Chondroitin, and Advil.
No special diet.
Complete healing. The disorder is benign and the course is usually of a short duration.