Costochondritis is described as discomfort due to the inflammation on the joint amidst the rib and breastbone or between the bony region of the rib and rib cartilage.
Oftentimes, costochondritis is brought about by:
- Chest injuries from falls or struck by an object
- Infection such as flu or common cold
- Overuse of the chest region from strenuous exercise or new physical activity
In some cases, there is no precise cause for the pain.
The main indication of costochondritis is achiness or pain in the anterior part of the chest near the breastbone. In most cases, there is a piercing pain that worsens if the site is pressed or moving in certain ways.
Oftentimes, the discomfort can be confused as a heart attack. If worried, it is best to consult a doctor if an individual experience any chest pain.
Management of costochondritis
Costochondritis is managed with anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen, ibuprofen or aspirin. It is important to note that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause stomach bleeding and other complications. The drugs must be taken based on the instructions given by the doctor.
In some cases, acetaminophen can help reduce the pain if the individual could not use anti-inflammatory drugs.
The pain caused by costochondritis typically lasts for 1-2 weeks. Luckily, it does not lead to any lasting issues.
Other self-care measures include:
- Avoidance of activities or movements that aggravate the pain.
- Heat can be used to ease the pain. Apply a heating pad on low setting for 20 minutes several times throughout the day.
- Once the pain has settled, the individual can resume normal activities steadily.
- It is vital to stretch and properly warm-up before engaging in any strenuous exercise or activity.