costchondritis and sitting at the computer

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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/11/2008 8:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all!!

I am new here. I think I have costochondritis. For about 5 months now, I have had chest pain near my upper sternum. It does sometimes move to below the left breast or to the right of it. I work in front of a computer, sometimes 12 hours in a day. I was wondering if sitting for long periods can aggravate it. Recently, I have been experiencing popping of the upper sternum. I read it can be a aggravated by stress, and since my husband was let go from his job of over 15 years, I have plenty of stress (just got a job though, hooray!). Anyway, I was wondering if anyone here experiences more problems with it when sitting for long periods. I do not tolerate many NSAIDs. I can take an occasional Ecotrin. I used to take Celebrex, but I started having heart palpitations (not sure if it was related or stress once again there). I know that taking breaks is supposed to be a good thing when you sit at the computer all day. I am not the greatest at doing this as I get paid on production, and time is money. I have not been to the doctor with this yet. However, I had an EKG run early this year which was fine. The pain I was having then was radiating pain from an old upper back injury about 15 years ago from a car accident where the air bag did deploy (think I was sitting to one side of something and actually tore a muscle in my upper back then; that flares from time to time, especially when at the computer too long). The muscle relaxants the doctor gave me for my back actually so seem to help my chest discomfort, which does make me think, from all I have read that costchondritis is a good fit. I do wonder why I never had it after the car accident, but I think that it could be caused by the tightness of those back muscles. Can anyone give me a hint about posture and such that might have a negative impact on this? Thanks!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 11/11/2008 8:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Your pain sounds a lot like mine - I was never diagnosed with costochondritis but I've just assumed that I have it. So the advice I give is based on my own assumption that our pain is the same - though the way you describe it, it seems exactly the same. I think everyone's pain can be different - my pain can come on at any time regardless of position. I think since you sit for so long during the day you are going to feel it anyway just the same as if you were standing for 12 hours a day and you'd wonder if standing aggravated it. But that's just my opinion. When I'm sitting and mine hurts I find that sitting up really really straight can sometimes help when the pain is below the breast - mine feels like a constriction almost so that kinda helps me - I'm not sure if yours is the same. Other than that I'm not really sure. Welcome to the forums though!!
~~Asthma, Reactive Airway Disease, Allergies (to nature), Fibromyalgia, Kidney Reflux Disease, Chronic Migraines (docs currently working on those), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Restless Leg Syndrome, and a few others that remain undiagnosed because I don't feel like being on anymore medication than I am already on. ~~

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~~ I'm 21 and trying to be optimistic~~

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17524
   Posted 11/12/2008 6:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Kjdjmom, and welcome!  You can get costochondritis along with fibromyalgia.  Heart palpatations are also a symptom of fibromyalgia.  I have both.
I did see my doctor about the heart palpatations and he thoroughly checked me out with various tests and my heart is fine.  That gave me peace of mind.  I suggest that you get checked out,too.  It probably is nothing but it's something that shouldn't be ignored...until you find out you are fine.
Most doctors prescribe ibuprofen for costo.  It does help but you need to always take it with food.  Sitting for long periods of time does make the pain worse, for fibro and for costo.
Check out the Fibro 101 thread...the second thread on the forum.  There are links to good info about fibro, along with symptoms.  You might see yourself there.  Also, there is a link to great stretching exercises that can be done sitting down at your desk.  These might help stretch those muscles and help keep them from spasming.
I glad  you found us.  I do hope you will get checked out.  We are not doctors and you really do want to know what is truly going on.  Right now it's a guessing game.  Read back posts and ask questions.  We are here to help you!  Hope to hear more from you soon.
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
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God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/12/2008 7:32 AM (GMT -7)   

I believe I have costchondritis as well, but strangely, I only experience my symptoms at night while I'm sleeping. I do work at a desk all day, so maybe that irritates my muscles as well? One thing that I've started doing that I think helps is to use about 10 minutes of heat on my chest/rib cage before bed. Perhaps you could use those heat patches/pads that go under your clothes for a little bit during the day. I know, it's really frustrating. I also recommend taking ibuprofen when you feel it flaring up. I hope it gets better, and please let me know if you find anything else that works!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 6067
   Posted 11/12/2008 8:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Kjdjmom and welcome. I was trying to fix a problem with my DH's desktop computer the other day and if I had to set in a desk chair I would not be on here as much as I am. I have a laptop and sit on the couch with it at eye level.
I have a lot of soreness from the neck to waist and old lower back injury so I do not do well in a lot of chairs. My sternum has been sore for about a year now and I know what you mean about the ribs under your breast. I also have sore spots on the sides of my breast.
You really need to take lots of breaks from the computer and do some stretches. I know that is hard when time is money.
Lidoderm patches are great for rib pain.
luv and hugs
Forum Moderator Fibromyalgia
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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/13/2008 9:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the warm welcome, and thanks for all of your words of wisdom. I guess I am going to have to break down and see my doctor, but of course, that eats into my work time (and money). However, I would probably be more productive if I were not so uncomfortable, so it will probably be for the best. I am afraid there won't be much that I can take in terms of medication if I do have costochondritis because I have GERD and do not handle Motrin or any other NSAIDs well. I will try the heat on my chest for a few minutes and see if that helps, if for nothing more than to report the results to my doctor. I pray I don't have fibromyalgia. Someone at my church has it and says she is in constant pain. I feel for those of you who have it here. I will report back when I get a diagnosis!!
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