Symptoms and Signs of Costochondritis

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dr. simi paknikar
Medically Reviewed by dr. simi paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Dec 31, 2019
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Symptoms and Signs of Costochondritis

The most common sites of pain due to Costochondritis are the fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs. Chest pain increases on taking deep breaths or on moving the trunk. Quiet breathing brings relief in pain.

Pain is described as sharp; it may radiate to the back or abdomen

Symptoms and Signs of Costochondritis

Chest pain associated with Costochondritis usually follows exercise, minor trauma, or an upper respiratory infection

The pain is reproducible by pressing the rib joints. This is characteristic.

Costochondritis that follows infection after an operation may be associated with redness, swelling, or pus discharge. Though there can be swelling in these cases it must be remembered that Costochondritis is different from Tietze’s syndrome.

Patients should visit a doctor if they develop trouble breathing, high fever, signs of infection (redness, pus, swelling at rib joints).(3)

References:

  1. Costochondritis - (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/costochondritis/)
  2. What Is Costochondritis? - (https://www.emedicinehealth.com/costochondritis/article_em.htm#what_is_costochondritis)
  3. Costochondritis - An Overview - (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/costochondritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20371175)
  4. Costochondritis: Diagnosis and Treatment - (https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0915/p617.html)
  5. Prevention of Costochondritis - (https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/costochondritis)
  6. What You Need To Know About Costochondritis - (https://www.rchsd.org/health-articles/costochondritis-2/)

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I'd like to present a New Zealand manual physiotherapy view of costochondritis - because we do not find it mysterious, idiopathic or difficult to fix. One or some of the costovertebral joints [where the ribs hinge onto the spine] are jammed/frozen/hypomobile. This requires the more delicate sternocostal joints (where the ribs hinge onto the breastbone) to work excessively, just to allow breathing. So they strain, get irritated, then inflamed - and there's your costochondritis. Please note this is the ONLY explanation accounting for such a specific pain and inflammation.

Costochondritis is an intense condition of the midsection divider. Costochondritis Treatment normally includes moderate techniques, for instance, the use of ice or warmth in the impacted area as a measure to soothe the manifestations.

mak815

Anti-Inflammatory Medications Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications [e.g. Motrin, Advil] help with two aspects of costochondritis.

Thank you Nithin and Simi - I think this is a succinct, useful summary for a patient or physician to follow. It is appreciated. I think it would be worthwhile adding in a few images and re-inforcing the need to rule out cardiac or aortic or pulmonary causes [ischemia / myocarditis / pericarditis / aotic dissection / Pulmonary emboli] first before making the diagnosis of costochondritis. Some rule out tests such as the ECG (already mentioned) and bloods such as troponin, D-Dimer, C reactive protein, CK would be sensible to add to the article. Best wishes and Keep up the good work. Dr Ameet Bakhai, MBBS, MD, FRCP - London, England www,heartconsultant.co.uk

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