Costochondritis - anyone have or have had?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 1225
   Posted 9/14/2009 9:57 AM (GMT -7)   
okay i've been dealing with this stupid costochondritis for a few months now.  i think it's worse when i carry my 3 yr old son.  ugh!  it's so anxiety inducing.  to have constant pain.  anyone know of any natural cures or things that help it heal?  it's driving me nuts!!!!!
of course that is what 2 diff docs have said it was.  no tests were ran, that's just what they think.  it's just not getting better.  :P i have read it can last a long time though.  i need to stop lifting my son and other things. 

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 9/14/2009 10:08 AM (GMT -7)   
Me, me, me!!!! Sucks doesn't it. Mine flares up every couple of months or so. I thought for a long time it was related to my Fibro, still not sure. I have another chronic illness and cannot take NSAIDS such as Ibruprofen or Aleve, but if you can do take them as it helps with the inflammation. Also, I find if I put heat on it, it really helps alot. Its nothing life threatening, so don't stress about it, its just painful. Good luck!
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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 9/14/2009 10:42 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm sorry but I feel stupid, could you tell me what it is??
:( Sorry you are in pain.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 9/14/2009 12:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Don't feel stupid, Addie.  I didn't know what it was either.  I had to google it and this is what one link said:
Costochondritis is an inflammation of a rib or the cartilage connecting a rib. It is a common cause of chest pain.
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Green Grove
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Date Joined Oct 2008
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   Posted 9/14/2009 7:19 PM (GMT -7)   
I also have costo and it can be rough at times. Mine tends to flare up if I've been doing a lot of heavy lifting, and then the cold weather does not help either it seems. Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory meds are great but I take Acetaminophen which seems to be easier of the stomach. Another good trick is to use a heating pad or corn/bean bag in short intervals.

You will find tons more information from past/present HW members if you use the search on the site for Costochondritis :)

Good luck to you!
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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/28/2011 9:41 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had bouts of Costochondritis for years. Since I was a kid. They always told me it was "growing pains". It would only happen once or twice a year, maybe. As I got older, I had a car accident, but other wise, not a lot of trauma to my chest. No difference in the occurrences.

about 7 months ago, just before Christmas, I was playing Wii sword fighting game. I really liked it, but shortly after playing it, the chest pain started. Since it was a recognizable pain, I wasn't worried. I had no idea what it was. Finally, I went in for it when it was happening too much. The doctor (who I really like, as she is very thorough) did blood testing, a exam, etc. She came up with the Costochondritis. I suspected it was that after looking up the type of pain on the internet. She said to not lift things, do activities that could cause the cartilage to get inflamed more. And once I went for 8 weeks with no pain, introduce old activities again. I had gotten to about 6 weeks of no pain when I got the stomach flu. After throwing up violently for two days, the Costochondritis came back and hasn't gone away since. It has only increased in frequency and severity.

After a very bad episode, and a ER trip, I had about every test for the heart and lungs, and clotting factor one can have done. The heart and arteries are clear, no clots, etc. So the diagnosis of Costochondritis could be made, with no worries of cardiac issues. But it kept getting worse. No traditional remedies worked, the cold pack, NSAID's, rest, etc. My doctor prescribe one of the 7 day pack of steroids. Took the pain away in three days. I was totally pain free for a week after the pack was done. Then it came back. She sent me to a rheumatologist. After looking over the blood work, the heart function, and other tests done, he did look for some things, but nothing indicates arthritis, or even fibromyalsia because the only pain I have is the typical pain for Costochondritis.

He suggested since nothing else helped but the steroids, and that is not a good thing to be taking for this condition, a cortisone shot. He said you could flip a coin as to whether it will work or not, but at this point, I am so tired of being in pain. So I had the shot. That was today. Not sure if it will work or not. He also suggested I talk to my doctor (I have a psychiatrist already) about switching to Tricyclic Antidepressants. With the depressive issues I have, it may or may not be an option, I will find out next week at my appointment. But pretty much, rest, not using the muscles, etc. Basically, he said, imagine spraining your chest if you will. Kind of where the cartilage meets the bone, and the outer chest wall muscle is pulled. It kind of sums up the feeling I have had, but couldn't put into words. A sprained sternum of sorts.

It is a terrible thing to experience when it is chronic. Chronic pain is tiring, but it also seems to mess with your head as well. May anyone experiencing Costochondritis find relief.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 1225
   Posted 10/20/2011 7:41 PM (GMT -7)   
hey Jamuelle i never read your post on this. how are you doing? mine is back again. feels like heartburn but don't think it is. my back hurts. i reached to put up a halloween decoration and then moved a desk plus exercising and the cold weather and there ya go. sucks!!!!
did you start a tricylic antidepressant? if so, which one? do you like it?

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/20/2011 9:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Hazelnut86: I did start Nortriptyline. With in about a week, I was feeling a lot of relief. And, it was working well for my depression issues as well. However, I am now finding out, I may not be tolerating the drug as well as I had thought. I didn't experience hardly any side effects at starting. And at a dose increase, it didn't seem like much either.

But at the time I increased the dose from 25mg to 50mg, I started to get what felt like a bladder infection. After going to the Urgent care a couple of times, I got in to the actual practice part of the clinic. Not with my regular doctor. The doctor I got that day explained how the Nortriptyline can cause urine retention, resulting in infection like symptoms. He asked why I was on it. When I told him about how it was chronic costochondritis, he asked if anyone was able to really explain it to me. He told me he also had it. It never goes away. You have to have coping mechanisms when the pain pops through. The Nortriptyline, is kind of tricking my brain into thinking there is no pain. He said he recommended seeing a therapist that deals with pain management. Which I do as well. So it was nice to kind of hear a little gem of wisdom from someone who has it as well.

Sadly, one of the other side effects of Nortriptyline is constipation. And that has been an issue with me since birth. A week after I saw the doctor about the bladder issue, I ended up having to go into yet another doctor in the practice. He explained the effects Nortriptyline can have on ones system. And I have never had such a problem with constipation as I have in my life. He had me start taking Magnesium Citrate and Miralax daily. And enemas. Not fun. I did have an appointment on the books with my regular doctor, which was actually today. After a xray, yes, indeed I have a issue. So, I am going to have to go back down to 25mg of Nortriptyline. If things don't get moving on that, I will have to go off of it altogether. And try another one. But it is entirely possible I'd have the same problem. Nothing is worse, than when you find a drug that is so helpful, yet, causes other problems, that at first, seem like a good trade, but really, are not.

I did start doing some free movement weights at the gym I go to. There is a chest exercise one, where I don't go above 20lbs. It works the muscles all across the chest. And with the lighter weight, it isn't straining it, so I can feel where I am getting stronger there. I have never been one to work out. Ever. But it has been a motivator to go, because I know it is also adding to helping the whole issue.

I do still have twinges of pain. But it is very brief. I have been able to resume most of the activities I was doing prior to any of this happening. The cold weather does seem to make a difference in if it pops through more. I live up north, so the temps have dropped, and that has been noticeable.

You mention it feels like heartburn for you. One thing, when I was in the process of getting diagnosed, I couldn't breath. My fam practice doc wanted me to start prilosec or similar for heartburn. I said I didn't have heartburn. With all the medications I was taking, it was causing indigestion of sorts, with out any symptoms but difficulty breathing. A few days into taking that, that issue went away. But I take a handful of pharmaceuticals at night. And for me, it is not a option to not take them. So, adding prilosec to the nightly cocktail had done wonders, and helped with some of the chest pain. I don't know if that is something you have talked to your doc about, but honestly, I was quite shocked that indigestion was a culprit in a different way.

I hope some of this helps. I have a whole laundry list of annoying, yet non-life threatening ailments. Honestly, I wish I were a hypochondriac. It would make my life easier I think. So going to the doctor, going through the processes, the tests, all of that, is something I am used to. Not everyone is like that.

I wish you well, and I hope the weather doesn't get you down too much, and the pain remains minimal.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 1225
   Posted 11/23/2012 8:52 PM (GMT -7)   
so jamuelle - how is your costo?
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