Costochondritis may be confused with a separate condition called Tietze’s syndrome. Both conditions involve inflammation of the costochondral joint and can cause very similar symptoms. However, Tietze’s syndrome is much less common and often causes chest swelling, which may last after any pain and tenderness has gone.
- Practice costochondritis stretches. Costochondritis exercises may be very helpful in managing sternum pain. …
- Use heat or ice. …
- Consider anti-inflammatory foods, herbs, or supplements. …
- Minimize pain. …
- Try transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Resting at home – avoid any activity that stresses your chest area causing pain such as strenuous activity, working out your chest muscles, or physical labor.
- Using a massage device like the BackPod
- Apply heat to the area using a heating pad
- Caution: do not lay on a heating pad, you can trap the heat between the pad and your body and burn yourself
- Apply cold to the area using ice packs
- Though heat seems to be recommended more often, try both hot and cold to see which works best for you
- Gently stretching the pectoral muscles to relieve tension and increase blood flow
- Hot showers and baths may help relieve the pain
- Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
- Stress reduction techniques such as meditation and deep breathing
- Over-the-counter topical, analgesic pain relief rubs, creams, or gels such as Tiger Balm, Penetrex, Icy Hot, Biofreeze, Sombra, or Voltaren that contain camphor or menthol
- Lidocaine patches
Costochondritis isn’t directly related to RA, but inflammation from RA can be a reason for damage to the rib cartilage.
When your costochondral joint becomes inflamed, it results in chest pain and tenderness. Most people describe the pain as sharp, achy, and pressure-like. When you press on your chest, it feels tender and painful. The pain usually gets worse when you move around, breathe deeply, or sneeze.
Is massage good for costochondritis?
What are all the things that cause chronic inflammation of the chest muscles?
Chronic inflammation of the chest muscles can be caused by various factors. It’s important to note that specific medical conditions should be diagnosed and treated by a qualified healthcare professional. However, I can provide you with some common causes of chronic inflammation in the chest muscles:
Muscle strain: Overuse or improper use of chest muscles during physical activities, sports, or weightlifting can lead to chronic inflammation.
Costochondritis: This is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone (sternum), causing chest pain and discomfort.
Fibromyalgia: A disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in specific areas, including the chest muscles.
Arthritis: Inflammatory joint conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can affect the cartilage around the ribs, leading to chest pain and inflammation.
Pleurisy: Inflammation of the lining surrounding the lungs and chest cavity, often caused by infections like pneumonia or other underlying medical conditions.
Costosternal syndrome: A condition where the joints between the ribs and the sternum become inflamed, leading to chest pain.
Myofascial pain syndrome: Chronic inflammation and pain in specific muscle groups, including the chest muscles, due to trigger points or knots in the muscles.
Sternal fractures: Injuries to the breastbone can lead to inflammation and pain in the chest muscles.
Autoimmune conditions: Certain autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or ankylosing spondylitis can cause chronic inflammation, including in the chest muscles.
Infections: Chronic viral or bacterial infections can cause persistent inflammation in the chest muscles.
Repetitive stress: Long-term poor posture, improper body mechanics, or repetitive movements can lead to chronic inflammation of the chest muscles.
Environmental factors: Exposure to certain irritants or pollutants can cause inflammation in the chest area.
It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent chest pain, inflammation, or any concerning symptoms. A proper medical evaluation can help determine the underlying cause and guide appropriate treatment.
BEIBYE– Upper Back and Headache Pain Relief – treatment for Costochondritis and Tietze Syndrome – Help Back Stretcher, Posture Corrector
Tietze’s syndromeCostochondritis may be confused with a separate condition called Tietze’s syndrome. Both conditions involve inflammation of the costochondral joint and can cause very similar symptoms. However, Tietze’s syndrome is much less common and often causes chest swelling, which may last after any pain and tenderness has gone. Costochondritis also tends to affect adults aged 40 or over, whereas Tietze’s syndrome usually affects young adults under 40. As the conditions are very similar, most of the information below also applies to Tietze’s syndrome.
Signs and symptomsWhen the costochondral joint becomes inflamed it can result in sharp chest pain and tenderness, which may develop gradually or start suddenly. The pain may be made worse by:
- a particular posture – such as lying down
- pressure on your chest – such as wearing a seatbelt or hugging someone
- deep breathing, coughing, and sneezing
- physical activity
When to seek medical helpIt can be difficult to tell the difference between the chest pain associated with costochondritis and pain caused by more serious conditions, such as a heart attack. However, a heart attack usually causes more widespread pain and additional symptoms, such as breathlessness, nausea, and sweating. If you, or someone you’re with, experiences sudden chest pain and you think there’s a possibility it could be a heart attack, dial 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance. If you’ve had chest pain for a while, don’t ignore it. Make an appointment to see your GP so they can investigate the cause.
Causes of costochondritisInflammation is the body’s natural response to infection, irritation, or injury. It’s not known exactly why the costochondral joint becomes inflamed, but in some cases, it’s been linked to:
- severe coughing – which strains your chest area
- an injury to your chest
- physical strain from repeated exercise or sudden exertion that you’re not used to – such as moving furniture
- an infection – including respiratory tract infections (RTIs) and wound infections
- wear and tear – your chest moves in and out 20 to 30 times a minute, and over time this motion can lead to discomfort in these joints
Diagnosing costochondritisIf you have symptoms of costochondritis, your GP will examine and touch the upper chest area around your costochondral joint. They’ll ask you when and where your pain occurs and look at your recent medical history. Before a diagnosis can be confirmed, some tests may need to be carried out to rule out other possible causes of your chest pain. These may include:
- an electrocardiogram (ECG) – which records the rhythms and electrical activity of your heart
- a blood test to check for signs of underlying inflammation
- a chest X-ray
Treating costochondritisCostochondritis often gets better after a few weeks, but self-help measures and medication can manage the symptoms.
Self-helpCostochondritis can be aggravated by any activity that places stress on your chest area, such as strenuous exercise or even simple movements like reaching up to a high cupboard. Any activity that makes the pain in your chest area worse should be avoided until the inflammation in your ribs and cartilage has improved. You may also find it soothing to regularly apply heat to the painful area – for example, using a cloth or flannel that’s been warmed with hot water.
PainkillersPainkillers, such as paracetamol, can be used to ease mild to moderate pain. Taking a type of medication called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) – such as ibuprofen and naproxen – two or three times a day can also help control the pain and swelling. Aspirin is also a suitable alternative, but shouldn’t be given to children under 16 years old. These medications are available from pharmacies without a prescription, but you should make sure you carefully read the instructions that come with them before use. NSAIDs aren’t suitable for people with certain health conditions, including:
- stomach ulcers
- high blood pressure
- kidney or heart problems
Corticosteroid injectionsCorticosteroids are powerful medicines that can help reduce pain and swelling. They can be injected into and around your costochondral joint to help relieve the symptoms of costochondritis. Corticosteroid injections may be recommended if your pain is severe, or if NSAIDs are unsuitable or ineffective. They may be given by your GP, or you may need to be referred to a specialist called a rheumatologist. Having too many corticosteroid injections can damage your costochondral joint, so you may only be able to have this type of treatment once every few months if you continue to experience pain.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)TENS is a method of pain relief where a mild electric current is delivered to the affected area using a small, battery-operated device. The electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which may help relieve pain and relax muscles. They may also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Although TENS may be used to help relieve pain in a wide range of conditions, it doesn’t work for everyone. There isn’t enough good-quality scientific evidence to say for sure whether TENS is a reliable method of pain relief. Speak to your GP if you’re considering TENS. Read more about transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
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*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.