Costocondritis on top of Fibro

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 159
   Posted 11/26/2008 9:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone. I am new and don't know if looking for answers on Costocondritis in the Fibro forum is appropriate, but I have heard Costo refered to as localized Fibro a number of times, although I don't personaly agree with that except that I can see how a load of tight painful muscles and trigger points all over the place could and living in chronic high stress could end up triggering Costo. That is what it seems to have done to me. I have also ran into allot of fibro sufferers with Costo. Enough that it seems to be way past the point of coincidence.

So I was wondering if there was Costocondritis sufferers here and if they had found anything that was particular usefull, and if any had actualy managed to heal this condition up?

I have been fighting with this problem now for about 6 years. It started off as a extremely tight chest and very difficult trouble breathing after a bout of extreme stress for a number of months. I was checked out at the hospital and sent home with anti-anxiety med. Just short of a total meltdown, I spent 6 days laying on a cousins couch 24 hours a day eating those meds and all the herbal muscle relaxers I could find on top of it.

The tight chested feeling never went completely away and progressed over the years to dull ache, then sharp pains, and then finaly full blown costo involving all the joints at the sternum, the ribs and the back area where the ribs connect. This level I have had for about 2 years now.

Not knowing what I actualy had, I didn't really start to throw allot of treatment at it until the last year. The first thing I did was buy a inverter to try to fix the back. I used this thing, completely turning myself upside down and hanging for a couple of minutes a day. Anything over a couple of minutes and I would get serious back pain going on my erector muscles. Which I thought was strange, since your supposed to be able to build up to hanging in these things for 10 to 15 minutes with no problem. No matter how long I did this, I could not get past a couple of minutes. If I did it everyday, in a few days I no longer had any sternum pain, but the ribs were killing me so bad I could barely stand to lay down on a memory foam mattress. I thought this was interesting as it seemed I had my choice. I could either have no sternum pain or restricted breathing, and lots of rib pain, or a minor amount of rib pain and lots of sternum pain, tightness, breathing issues. My conclusion was that the invertor was straightening my spine and posture and stretching the rib muscles, thereby taking the load off the sternum, but overstretching the rib and back muscles in the process, probably due to the Fibro. Since then, I have tried to get a balance going where I get the most benefit on chest relief without causing a load of back and rib pain. Every other day inverting seems to be the best I can manage.

Four months ago I started with a massage therapist that knows how to work the muscles between the ribs. When she first started, she found large amounts of scar tissue between the ribs on the left side lower area. She also noted that the intercostal muscles were extremely tight, leading me to believe that since muscles have memory, the rib muscles had learned to stay in a braced, guarded position.

Six weeks ago I started taking high doses of a combination of Glucosomine Sulphate, Condrotin, with MSM. Whether this is helping or not, I have no idea, but its probably to early to really see a difference anyhow.

Other then these things, all I can add is the usual treatment of taking Ibuprofen. Although I really don't seem to notice much, if any direct difference in how I feel taking it, other then upset stomach, I have noticed then when the Massage therapist rubs into the muscles clost to the sternum, they are not nearly as sensitive as when I was not taking the NSAID.

I would have to say that from how bad this was at its very worst, about a year ago, it feels in general to be about 75 percent improved, although there are some preaty bad days still and most of this seems to be dependent on whether I am doing or overdoing the stretches.

I would love to be able to add a hydrotherapy routine to all of this, because for me the rib muscle and back tension seem to be the key to giving the sternum a fighting chance to fully heal.

Any input from others that have tried different things would be greatly appreciated.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 11/27/2008 12:11 AM (GMT -6)   
If you go to the top of the page and type "costchondritis" in the little Google search box you will get more information about costo than you really want to know. Several of us, including myself, have this delightful disorder. Anyway, welcome to HealingWell. Glad to make a new friend but sorry for the reason.
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Green Grove
Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2424
   Posted 11/27/2008 12:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey GrailHunter :) Nice to meet you. I have a similar situation as yours, but not as bad (and I hope never). . . I feel for you, and sure hope you get to feeling better. I think you are taking care of business really well, and please keep me informed on how the CC&MSM works for you. The MSM works for me, but leaves a bad taste in my mouth :) I also have to take Tylenol and a little codeine here and there for the intense pain. I'm also trying Dr. Franks No Pain Spray :) I think all of us in pain just do whatever it takes :) Anyway, nice to meet you and welcome to the family here :)
Much Love, Hugs, Peace & Comfort :)
God Bless Each & Every One Of You :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 159
   Posted 11/28/2008 3:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for the kind welcome.

I have Googled Costocondritis in every keyword combination I can think of over the months since I finaly figured out whats hitting me. And I have to agree, you get more then you would ever imagine going in. Its preaty much long on problems and real short on answers. Most of the Doctors treat it like its almost insignificant and if you just throw some Ibuprofen at it and rest it awhile it will be gone shortly. Everything you read from the sufferers of it is closer to your stuck with it from one degree or another for life. The only post I have read that seemed to be semi successful were from people that used high doses of high grade powdered or liquid Glucosomine/Condrotin/MSM/Hydrocloride and something else that is a joint lubricant I can't remember at the moment, but I will add it on latter once I add it into my own routine. I keep reading that the pill forms don't work. And the people that were fairly successful doing this, had to do it for months and months and still occasionaly had problems if they did things that directly aggravated it. But none of these posters had Fibro or CFS along with the Costo problems, so who knows.

Personaly, I think there is a big difference between someone that develops Costo because they did to much weight lifting at the gym and someone that gets it because they have a whole load of chronicaly agravated shoulder, neck, and back muscles. That is why I said I think one of the keys on me being successful at getting to the Costo is being successful at keeping all of those muscles under control as much as possible while treating cartilage damage.

One thing I forgot to add that I use at the end of a work day and I am laying down for the night, that seems to be very effective at getting rid of the rib and chest pain, tightness, breathing problem, chest burning, and other misc. symptoms is adding in Herbs that are muscle relaxers with some pain killing effect. I use allot of Valerian, along with a Valerian combination that has allot of the other herbal relaxers, Passion Flower, Hops, and so on. How well this is a good idea depending on what drugs are being used by the individual though is a personal thing. It works for me, probably because everything I take is preaty much a relaxer already. Herbals don't seem to combine well on me when I am having to take anti-depressents.

As it was said though. We all use what gets us through, and for me these herbs work for night time, or days that I am just not planning on doing anything but laying around in bed and sleeping allot. Between the pain killers, muscle relaxers, and Klonopin for the Fibro and anxiety, these herbals added on, completely relax me, and knock me out. Over Thanksgiving I closed the store at 6pm on wednesday, was asleep by 8 pm and with the exception of eating and getting up a few times spent about 36 hours straight in bed, most of it sleeping with no pain. I felt like my body needed that so bad. Half of it was drugs and herbs and the other half was my body taking advantage of the stress completely letting go.

My daughter has invited me to move in come Spring. I live in a apartment taking care of my invalid 79 year old Dad and 84 year old mother and they are going to live with my brother in a few months and my daughter wants to give her Dad a place to live he doesn't have to worry about things. I might just do that and the first thing going in is one of those high tech massage chairs, and the second thing is the jacuzzi. Maybe those will help so my body doesn't go into instant stress/pain mode an hour getting out of bed everyday.

Thanks again

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17055
   Posted 11/28/2008 4:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Grailhunter, and welcome!  I have both costo and fibro.  I use ibuprofen for it and I do gentle stretching exercises.  I find that if you overwork the muscles, that just makes things worse.  I see a massage therapist that knows all about fibro and she uses light massage with me and that really helps.  If she gets too deep, I pay for it royally!
Check out the Fibro 101 thread...the second thread on the forum.  There are links to good info about fibro and there is a link in there to stretching exercises that you might be interested in.  These do help me.  But, as I said before, if I overwork my muscles, they really, really hurt so be gentle to yourself and see if that helps you.
There is also a link about malic acid/magnesium supplements and I use these for pain and fatigue.  They have really helped me.  You might consider this but ask your doctor first. 
I'm glad you joined in and I hope to hear more from you soon!
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

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