Costochondritis is a condition that causes chest pain and discomfort in the area where the ribs meet the breastbone (sternum). This condition is often mistaken for a heart attack, but it is not life-threatening and usually unrelated to any underlying heart or lung problems.
Costochondritis is caused by inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum. This inflammation can cause pain and tenderness in the chest, which can be exacerbated by deep breathing, coughing, or even touching the affected area. The exact cause of costochondritis is not known. Still, it is related to physical stress or injury, viral or bacterial infections, or underlying medical conditions such as arthritis, rib subluxations, thoracic scoliosis or rib subluxations.
Symptoms of costochondritis include sharp or dull pain in the chest, which can range from mild to severe. The pain may spread to the back, arms, and neck and may be mistaken for angina or a heart attack. Other symptoms may include tenderness or swelling in the chest, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and a feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest.
Diagnosis of costochondritis is usually made based on a physical examination and medical history. Your doctor may ask about your symptoms and perform a physical examination to assess the level of tenderness in the affected area. In some cases, further tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or blood tests may be required to rule out other underlying conditions, like; lack of thoracic mobility, infection, scoliosis or rib subluxation.
Treatment for costochondritis typically involves chiropractic, cold laser therapy, physical therapy or pain management. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy or exercises to help relieve symptoms.
In severe cases, corticosteroid injections, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) also called cold laser therapy may be necessary. Here is a Costochondritis patient getting cold laser treatment
It is essential to take steps to prevent costochondritis from recurring. This may include avoiding activities that put excessive stress on the chest, maintaining good posture, and avoiding repetitive motions that may aggravate the affected area. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy and or chiropractic to help strengthen the muscles around the chest and thoracic spine and improve posture and thoracic mobility.
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My favorite exercises for costochondritis and thoracic mobility:
Costochondritis can be a painful and debilitating condition, but it is treatable. With the right practitioner, treatment and care, all people are able to manage their symptoms and return to their normal activities. If you are experiencing chest pain or discomfort, it is vital to seek medical attention right away. Your doctor can help determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
Synergy Wellness in New York City, Dr. David Kulla and his team specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of costochondritis or tietze syndrome.
Patient with chronic costochondritis for 8 years gets relief, FINALLY!!
In conclusion, costochondritis is a condition that causes chest pain and discomfort in the area where the ribs meet the sternum. It is caused by inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum, and can be treated with chiropractic, pain management and physical therapy. If you are experiencing chest pain, it is important to seek medical attention right away to determine the cause of your symptoms and rule out a heart condition. Still, once that is done, it is essential to develop an effective treatment plan with your chiropractor that specializes in costochondritis. Dr. David Kulla and the Synergy Wellness team have perfected methods over the last 23+ years, with excellent outcomes.