What is Costochondritis?
An inflammation of the cartilage which is present in the rib cage is known as Costochondritis. This condition is generally known to affect the cartilage where the upper ribs are attached to the breastbone. It is also known as sternum or costosternal joint or costosternal junction.
There are a number of different symptoms that an individual is known to experience while going through this condition. The intensity ranges from mild to severe. There are no different types of this particular condition that is known by experts.
There are not too many Costochondritis symptoms that there is to know about. The degree of pain depends upon the intensity of the symptoms as already has been mentioned above. However, despite that, there are some other common ones which we have listed below for your reference and knowledge:
- Excruciating chest pain in the upper and middle rib area and on both sides of the breastbone is experienced by most individuals suffering from this condition.
- This pain at times is also known to travel back to the abdomen or the back of the person and may get worse if there is movement involved.
Who is at Risk?
There are various Costochondritis risk factors as it can happen to anyone due to multiple and at any time. Some individuals are more sensitive to this condition as compared to others. However, experts have been able to identify certain risk factors related to this. We have mentioned them below for your reference and understanding of the same:
- Any individual and in particular women over the age of 40 are more prone to this.
- Someone who has performed manual labour
- An individual who regularly participates in high impact activities
- Someone with rheumatoid arthritis
- Someone with reactive arthritis
The exact cause behind Costochondritis causes is not something that doctors and experts have been able to give a definitive answer till now. However, we have discussed below for your understanding some of these causes that may cause this condition to happen:
- Physical strain due to activities like strenuous exercise and heavy lifting
- Certain trauma to the chest due to a blunt impact from a fall or any other type of accident
- Certain different types of arthritis
- Having tumours in the costosternal joint region
- Certain respiratory conditions and viruses such as syphilis or tuberculosis which causes joint inflammation.
How is Costochondritis diagnosed?
For Costochondritis diagnosis, a doctor will need to perform a certain number of tests for this condition as there is no one common test to understand the root cause of the problem. As mentioned, the doctor may then have to conduct multiple tests to get a proper understanding of the problem:
- The doctor will first start with a physical test by manipulating the rib cage before making any kind of diagnosis
- He will enquire about your complete medical history and also that of your family’s
- He will also check for signs of inflammation or infection
- Certain tests such as a blood test, X-rays and ECG might be prescribed by the doctor depending on the need then.
How is Costochondritis Treated?
There are several different methods for Costochondritis treatment as done by a Costochondritis doctor. We have mentioned in brief the process of treatment:
- In most of the cases of this condition the doctor turns to medicine for Costochondritis for treating the individual.
- The doctor will also advise on lifestyle changes such as physical therapy, bed rest and hot or cold therapy.
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How can Costochondritis be prevented?
Prevention of Costochondritis starts with practising and incorporating certain lifestyle changes. However, having said that, there are some recommendations which might help an individual. Some of these have been mentioned below for your understanding and consideration:
- Ensure that you do not indulge in physical activities that you feel may be too much for your body. This includes strenuous sports activities, lifting heavy weights at the gym and doing certain exercises that you body might not be ready for.
- Make your surrounding as ergonomically sound as possible, which includes the bed and the sitting arrangements too.