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Costochondritis or?
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Costochondritis or?

I have diagnosed with Costochondritis back in April or May..I dont really remember at this point. but the pain is progressively getting worse. just last friday, while at work. I was standing at the computer and felt a very painful, severe chest pain in the left side of my chest. It radiated all up my chest and into the top of my left arm. It lasted for just a couple seconds and than happened again. I had to sit down because the pain was unbearable.

This pain did not leave my breathless, numb or dizzy, However I was fatigued. But for the remainder of the day the left side of my chest, by lower sternum and left breast I could feel a dull ache and sometimes I would get the "stabbing pain". It's now sunday and i'm still getting this pain, but not as bad as what it was on Friday. The pain is also radiating to the right side of my chest below my right breast. now, when I take deep breaths, I do not feel any pain. This pain seems to be happening pretty randomly, however, when I apply pressure to the sternum from top to bottom there is lots of pain as well as the pain on breast bones connecting to ribs. Now that I know is costochondritis, or at least only know it because of research and what the doctor told me.

I figure since I am still alive and kicking that whatever the pain is, be it costochondritis, that its not a heart attack. I have had about 2 ekg's in 2010, never had a stress test and numerous cat scans. Doc's told me my heart looks good.

I am taking Aleve during the day and Flexeril at night to help me sleep.

Now friday, after an intense day of chest pain, my back was hurting unusually worse and not long after I took the flerxeril I was out like a light and didn't wake up with any pain. It wasn't till later in the day on saturday that the pain started to come back.

I live with Costochondritis every single day since the chest pains started, I do not lift heavy objects and try to keep stress out of my life. But as I said above the pain is getting progressively worse.

Now my heart on the other hand..I have had some palpitations in the past few months, those did not hurt, just felt very weird. But while i'm having the actual chest pain, I put my hand over my chest to feel if my heart is beating irregular and i'm not noticing anything different. it feels the same.

If this is costochondritis pain i'm still feeling and i'm taking antiflammatory and muscle relaxers every single day, why is it getting worse instead of better? The doctor told me it might take a few months to get better...but it's been, oh....5 months now? It's debilitating to my health and some days I can't do much of anything without aggravating it and being in pain. Once the pain kicks in i'm moody, fatigued and just want to lay down.

Some opinions would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
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13 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi
I've suffered this for over 30 years and it was diagnosed way back by a chinese doctor who was standing in for my regular GP who did every test known to medical science, and he just pushed and poked and said ' pain come from back - move around ribs to front'. He was right. I have disc damage and degeneration, and it does this especially when I spend a lot of time at the desk or standing in one spot. I remember when it first started and my sternum actually swelled up and felt like there was a small hotdog there- like a sausage. That came and went, and when I got home from work I  had to lay down and rub arthritis cream in (I still do). Have your spine X rayed. Bet they find the trouble there. The pain travels around the ribs and nerves from the spine. Painkillers only mask it to a certain extent, and rubbing arthritis cream in does help. It also inflames soft tissue around the cartalidge and that can give you (me anyway) odd kind of spasms that feel like palpitations. Please ask the doctor about your back. Lets know how you get on. best wishes
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475570_tn?1280944963
Were you in a car accident or suffer a fall? I had this problem after heart surgery and was told this happens after a car accident or fall where the rib bones get desturbed. It takes quite a while to get rid of this problem. Taking calcium with vit. D pill may help
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789820_tn?1315452113
I have actually had back problems since I went into labor with my son over 6 1/2 years ago. There's a section that was around 3 inches just between my shoulder blades in my spine that aches to move or touch. now that pain, i've kind of gotten used too and back in 06 (that was 2yrs of back pain) actually had a ct scan of my back and they couldn't find anything. They didn't understand why I was in so much pain. Now 4yrs later, there is what feels like 6 inches of space just above the shoulder blades, between and below, directly on my spine that hurts to the touch.

It's hard for me to lay on my back, I can't crack it some days and the pain actually spreads into my shoulder blades muscles and I have noticed that my ribs ache on my sides. I have been wanting to get an MRI of spine and a spinal tap to check for AS. And have noticed that the pain does radiate to my back exactly where the pain is. I somewhat believe the costochondritis pain is due to my back pain especially since the pain is located right behind my chest.

Maybe I will have to give the arthritis cream a try, but does it really make that much of a difference?

Thanks for your comment, much appreciated.
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789820_tn?1315452113
I was in a car accident in 2003, I did suffer mild whiplash, but that's not the cause of all the pain. After I had 4 wisdom teeth surgically removed (october 09) I've had alot of problems arise and costochondritis is one of them among 15 other symptoms..
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes, my back pain area is in the same place as yours, and the pain does radiate as you describe.
The arthritis cream definately helps, but I think its the massage of the area with the cream that contributes most, which i do laying flat on my back. Sometimes when it's really bad (and my wife isn't too sick of me) she massages cream into the really painful area of my spine and presses and rubs really hard. Hurts like hell but does a lot of good. It feels like it pushes the bones back into place properly. Sometimes I stand against a door frame and lean back and really press the sore section against the edge and kind of move it around; just like the grizzly bears do when they rub their backs against trees. That often gives relief for a little while. I only do it when nobody's looking though, because I do resemble a big old bear and they might think I'm a nut case.....well, it has been said by some.....
Keep trying. best wishes
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789820_tn?1315452113
Ouch...I can feel that pain right now as I was reading how you go against a door frame. I too enjoy the pressure but the pain is unbearable, but it also seems to give relief. I dont let anyone message my back or shoulders due to the pain. As even when I go to the gym or I am very active then it flares up very bad. Even sleeping wrong makes it ache worse.

I will buy that cream today and give it a try, see if that helps. And question...would an MRI of the spine actually be better?

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1451028_tn?1284953623
I have both Costochondritis, which can be described as swelling of the chest wall.  It can be aggravated at times, and fine other times. The flutter you're feeling, which I also get, is actually a speeding up.  Because I also have a fast heart rate in general, I take a beta blocker, Toprol XL (often prescribed for high b.p., which I don't have).  It keeps my heart rate down to a normal rhythm, and also eliminates the fluttering for the most part.  When I do start to feel it, my doctor has me take an extra 1/2 tablet.  It is very common and not a threat at all, especially if you're under 60 or so.  If it persists or if, like someone mentioned, it is accompanied by dizziness or pain, then you should see someone.  When I tried using a halter monitor so they could see what I meant, they didn't catch it and most times won't, so that can be a waste of time.  Caffeine brings mine on, so I try to avoid it.  Don't be afraid to exert! By the way, I also have Fibromyalgia. Costocondritis is common with fibro, so you may want to research that?
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Avatar_m_tn
As far as I can remember They have never suggested it to me .....the specialists have just looked at the X rays and concluded the same as the ordinary GP's but charge 4 times as much. With me they have found the evidence from X ray and there's nothing they can do for me so they don't bother to go further. I know that an MRI scan will show soft tissue like tendons etc, and one doctor suggested I might have one done on my neck because that's a real mess with bony spurs and all sorts, but he added that regardless of what showed up they couldn't do anything about it. Mind you I'm 66 now, but I have suffered since my late twenties and because your young it might be worth further investigation. I have to say that it isn't all that much more painful now that it was years ago, and maybe because it deteriorates gradually the body adjusts and you kind of get used to it. I'm not too bad with pain luckily, and I'm not giving in to it. No walkers or anything for me.
see what the doctor thinks about an MRI.
keep your chin up. Kev
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789820_tn?1315452113
Thanks for the insight, much appreciated. I have read costo is a major symptom of fibro and further research for diagnosing it, I believe I may actually have it. Of course now they are saying the tender points maybe redundant to diagnosing fibro. So not sure what they will do, but i'm definitely going to talk to my doctor about it. One of my closest friends was diagnosed with it. They couldn't find anything wrong in an MRI, blood tests or other tests and she tested positive for all the tender points. Thats the same thing going on with me so far. I'm told they can't see anything physically wrong with me, but the pain is there and they can see its there. Of course I was also told many of my symptoms are MS related, which is why they want to do an MRI to check for lesions. Costo is also a sign of MS, since MS affects the nervous system. can cause headaches and muscle-skeletal problems. So find out by next year probably what it is. too much money lol
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Avatar_m_tn
Please consider this -- I have been through all of the things you have said and it's familiar to me because I had the same thoughts, fears and suspicions for years. I'm 66, you are 27. The symptoms you describe are chostro. which is irritation of the cartlidge between your ribs just below your sternum. Your sudden pain sounds like muscle spasm (cramp) which I have had a few times while standing talking to somebody.
If you has MS you would have many, many wierd symptoms besides this. Also, I have ankylosing spondalitis, heart irregularities, ulcers, bony spurs in my neck, constant headaches, chronic inflammatory sinus disease, frequent light headedness and drunk feeling which can last for weeks at a time. My central nervous system reacts wildly to any chemical additives in food and my blood pressure soars and I shake uncontrollably. I have panic attacks, night panic attacks which wake me and then I am up all night. I am always tired, and every joint in my body aches and sometimes swells up. BUT, I DON'T HAVE M.S AND I DON'T HAVE FIBROMYALGA (fibromyalgia) AND NEITHER DO YOU!!! Dont become a medical cripple at your age. Stop self diagnosing and don't do too much research. Wait till you're old and then get the rocking chair and laprug out. Talk to the doctor, and go from there. Smell the roses for a while? Do you have a hobby? Do you have a pet? (human or otherwise?) Find somebody or something else to care about and you will feel Better. Get mad at me if you like, but that will help too. I'm trying to help because I know what it's like. here's a smile.... Kev
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789820_tn?1315452113
Actually, I'm not mad at you....lol (thanks for voicing your thoughts). And, I'm not trying to self diagnose...but actually i've had MANY MANY WEIRD symptoms since October 09. And every month that passes by My symptoms get worse or I get new ones. I have written them down and there's around 20 symptoms. I'm not a hypochondriac...never had this problem before. But- one day, had the worst headache of my life, January 18th to be exact (This headache was so severe, that I was distraught, confused, my eyes were dancing or what someone told me it looked like they were bouncing back and forth), then my face was numb and burning all the way down to my left shoulder and arm, my muscles are weak (all over my body), I hurt in multiple places everyday! I was diagnosed with Labrynthitis, Costo, TMJ too and- I have tingling or pins and needles sensations that run thru out my entire body from my head down to my toes. my fingers, arms & shoulders go numb (mostly left side), i'm having wide spread muscle spams, pain, optic neuritis, ice pick headaches, vertigo...hmmm...oh and hearing loss in my left ear, which did not fully come back...oh and short term memory loss has become a daily thing for me. LOL   So, its not just the Costochondritis that I have to worry about. And my symptoms aren't stress. I'm not depressed. I'm not having anxiety attacks. I'm happier than I have ever been in years actually. Oh and Im sensitive to heat, it exhausts me, i'm fatigued everyday, I toss and turn every night, I wake up every hour, sometimes I even hear this weird "boom" and wake up (it literally sounds like a bomb going off), If I spend too much time exercising or walking, hiking then my muscles tense up and for over a month my right knee has been swollen and recently my left knee is now in pain (and I dont remember doing anything to my right knee, but its swollen and pops and oh so stiff, it *****.. So...yeah...its more than the costo, it feels like my body is falling apart pretty much. LOL oh and I also have chronic sinus infections too (I have never had so many sinus infections in 1 year!), I have been on Amoxicillan for almost a year for sinus infections...and lastly i've had lightheadness & dizziness while standing and sitting.

I have been on Lyrica, which actually helped most of my symptoms, since they are neurologically related (lyrica treats seizures, neuroligal disorders and fibromyalgia). I have Oxy, Hydrocodone, flexeril, Prednisone and some others that I dont even take anymore because they dont do a thing for my symptoms. Except Lyrica..but its around 200 a month and I cant fork out 200 a month for that right now. So, yeah...There you go.

I maybe alot younger than you, but damn I feel older. I can't do much without aggravating my body. Ok and one last thing I noticed. I have lost over 25lbs since October 09.. For 3 whole months I didnt have an appetite, it went POOF, it dissapeared and since I got it back, which was around the month of June, I can eat half a sandwich and feel full. And i'm still losing weight. And i'm not losing it because I want too. I was fine where I was at, which was 145 and now i'm down to 120 and I dont have an eating disorder, never had one. I could always eat a 3 course meal and dessert. Now i'm pretty much down to 1-2 times per day of eating. And the funny thing...my blood tests keep coming back normal. I'm sorry but losing 25lbs in under a year with so many strange symptoms isnt normal. :(  And I typed way too much here.
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Avatar_m_tn
You sound like me. I've had all that, sinus, numbness joint pain, hot flushes,disorientation and so on. Everything you mentioned happens to me and it has for years. There's no answers for me - the doctors have given up trying to diagnose. It's central nervous system related but that's all I know. I know the sinus problems cause balance, terrible face and headaches and wierd feelings like objects move around when they are actually still. I know I'm not a hypochondriac and I'm sure you aren't one either. Nor do I think we're nuts. I just can't find any answers, and the doctors have tried everything and now given up; especially now that I'm old. Just try to limit the amoxil - it was never the answer to my chronic sinums problems. Try sniffing up nasal saline (FESS I use in Australia) solution or weak warm salty water every morning and it helps a lot. It really does. Drop me a note and add me as a friend if you want and we can talk sometimes. Sorry I can't help. Kev
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789820_tn?1315452113
I have decided to seek out a Chiropractor since nothing else works. I actually found a Chiropractor that specializes in Biomolecular physics of the body...so he can help me control the back pain and believes the headaches, neck, shoulder and arm pain are all related. We're going to start off with my nutrition and a complete family history of known diseases or cancers and then an xray of my neck. I know i've got two fused vertabraes on c1 & c2 as told by a previous physical therapist who xrayd it. All my problems could be coming from that as i'm aging and its putting more pressure on my neck so then its squeezing the nerves and muscles/ligaments in that area

He also explained whats probably wrong with my back (due to an epidural, which I do believe, because thats when it started) Theres a procedure he can do once a year that helps minimize the pain and I just come back every 3 months for a check up. I'm hoping the Chiropractor can do more for me as no one else can. I dont want to be diagnosed with any other CRAP I really might not have. Thanks for listening.
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