Anyone here have experience with costochondritus?



  • It’s hitting me really hard this week. At the moment, I can’t even stand up from my chair without huge sharp pains shooting me through the left part of my chest, where you put your hand when saying the pledge. It extends down my left arm a lot, causing tingling and numbness. It really does feel just like a heart attack. I’ve been seen by 15 different doctors now, been in the hospital for 3 days for it, had a billion tests done and been to the ER about 4 times for it. A cardiologist has done a stress test and a ton of EKGs on me, plus ultra sounds for blood clots everywhere and MRIs done. No one can find anything wrong with me, and just diagnose it as costochondritus. I’ve had it over a year now, well before Chivalry even came out. Sometimes the pain hits me in the back part of my left ribs, too.

    It’s very difficult for me to enjoy life at all, it’s painful to even do things like shower, put on clothes, drive, even sit at the toilet when using the bathroom. Gaming is really hard and painful too, and I’ve tried the two medicines that docs typically prescribe for it (Aleive and Mobic) and they did nothing for me. Therapist/Psychiatrist didn’t help at all, since it’s physical pain that causes stress, but it gets terrifying at times. Shows no signs of lessening or going away, in fact it seems to get worse every month.

    Any tips?

    Oh, and I’m only 23 years old. The next step I’m going to try to take when I can is see an osteopath doctor on my insurance. If I can’t find one relatively close to me, I’ll try physical therapy since I really can’t live like this forever and I’m willing to try just about anything. Certain foods make it much much worse, like beef and cheese. No foods I’ve discovered “help” it any, just avoid it from getting unmanageable. I notice most of my flare ups tend to happen when I eat something really hard on it, like even a bite of a hamburger. I never had any issue with beef or hamburgers my whole life until this happened. Cheese has always been hard on my stomach, but never caused me any chest pains (I’m slightly lactose). Now cheese really hurts me a lot, like beef.



  • How long have you had it. Maybe a completely change of diet, exercise and rest.



  • @gregcau:

    How long have you had it. Maybe a completely change of diet, exercise and rest.

    I’ve had it since September 5th, 2012. A few days before my 22nd birthday, I stood up one night and went to go pee before I went to bed and by the time I reached the bathroom I thought I was having a heart attack and went to the ER. I was totally fine all that day until then.

    I have completely changed my diet, I eat almost completely organic foods now when I can, tons of fruits, vegetables, and fish. I often bake my meats for most health benefits, especially wild caught salmon (eating heart healthy foods makes the mental challenge a little easier on me). Sometimes I’ll get some fast food like a fried chicken sandwich with fries, and it usually doesn’t bother me at all. Sometimes big, heavy meals like going out to a restaurant and getting chicken and fries actually helps me a lot. But it’s short lived, so I actually eat much healthier now since I’ve had these pains. I start every day with a handful of whole natural almonds and a banana since it never hurts me.

    I’ve had to drop exercise completely unfortunately. Last summer I was able to get some light walking in, but any kind of lifting or even jogging or biking is out of the question now, it rips it open and hurts way too bad. Even the walks are extremely painful and hard on me. Using that muscle at all is really hard, like if a kid grabs on my left arm and pulls without realizing or trying to carry groceries.

    I’ve pretty much done nothing but rest since this hit. It’s terrible, man.



  • Well, perhaps if you go to a doctor and try to purposefully incite the pain to start. Then have them immediately examine you during or after the pain ensues. Although if you’ve been to the doctors and hospital that many times that’s probably happened already.



  • @Flippy:

    Well, perhaps if you go to a doctor and try to purposefully incite the pain to start. Then have them immediately examine you during or after the pain ensues. Although if you’ve been to the doctors and hospital that many times that’s probably happened already.

    Yep, I sat in a hospital bed for 3 days hooked up to everything. When the docs press on my chest with their hand it hurts extremely bad, which is why they believe it’s costochondritus. I mean I was really happy to hear my heart was totally healthy and fine, but it’s hard to believe sometimes when the pain kicks in and I almost start to panic. I thought maybe the inflammation might be causing some pinched nerves to mess up my left arm so I saw a rheumatologist but she didn’t help at all, she just said it was “for sure” costochondritus when she pressed on my chest and checked all my medical records. I’m hoping maybe an osteopath or physical therapist can do more detailed examinations on my nerves.



  • Sorry to hear that. Rare chronic conditions are tough for physicians. I would certain pursue it on your own - seek out forums and groups with people who the same condition and see if you find some options to improve your quality of life - even seeking alternate medicines - dont give up !



  • @gregcau:

    Sorry to hear that. Rare chronic conditions are tough for physicians. I would certain pursue it on your own - seek out forums and groups with people who the same condition and see if you find some options to improve your quality of life - even seeking alternate medicines - dont give up !

    Yeah, definitely. The most wild part is my dad had something similar to this a few years ago, and then this also hit my brother just a few months after it hit me. It’s not a genetic thing at all, and we all have extremely different lifestyles from each other. For my dad it went away in a few months, but me and my brother still suffer from it. He’s the one who tried osteopath first and said it really helped him so I’m hoping it can help me, too. It’s just, it doesn’t help me right now when I can’t find one on my insurance (My brother lives in a different state so he has access to different ones than me) and it’s too painful to even get up and get some water.



  • What state do you live in? If medical cannabis is legal I would have personally looked into that. That way you can go to a dispensary, tell them your symptoms, and they can find a strain that’s right for you. If it’s not legal, then you should just smoke some pot anyway and see what happens.



  • @Karasu:

    What state do you live in? If medical cannabis is legal I would have personally looked into that. That way you can go to a dispensary, tell them your symptoms, and they can find a strain that’s right for you. If it’s not legal, then you should just smoke some pot anyway and see what happens.

    ^ My mother has multiple sclerosis which is basically a very rare disease that can cause fatal nerve damage in all parts of the body, in most cases leading to eventual disabilities and sometimes lead the victim to be completely paralyzed. However in most cases the victim usually dies quite young, typically around the ages of 40-50 depending on the severity of the nerve damage. She’s one of the very few people in the world who have the disease, yet don’t have any crippling disabilities from it or any serious nerve damage. The worst she has are occasional muscle spasms. But otherwise she’s perfectly healthy. She’s been smoking pot for most of her life and she’s a strong advocated for the full legalization of marijuana because all kinds of research has shown that marijuana can have very beneficial effects and help people with many various diseases. So ya, pick up some pot and try that.



  • I would try to get a referral to see a neurologist (if you haven’t already). If it’s “nerve” pain, weed won’t work as well as many other medications that specifically target the nerves ex: Neurontin (Gabapentin). Combining that with an OTC anti-inflammatory would probably give you the best relief, if it even is nerve pain.



  • Its a thing?

    I’ve been having the exact same thing you described. Though it comes and goes. For 2 years. Feels like someone is stabbing you in the heart. Though I never went to the hospital or saw a doctor over it. When ever I cough I can feel it though. Waiting to come up again badly. When it does get bad I can’t sleep properly it hurts when I move my left arm. Physical activities and stuff.

    But I would just have an ibuprofen and ignore it.

    I don’t know about food affecting it. Its an imflamatory thing.

    Reading up on it I think I know what caused mine if I had it. When I was 12 I was in a car accident which dislocated a rib on my left side. It never went back into place though the doctors said it would. It instead further dislocated itself as I got older until it finally found a place to sit. It no longer cuased any pain as the doctors said it wouldn’t cause any direct problems there. But I may of grew wrong becuase of that rib. Could of caused muscular imbalance which can cause chest pains.

    Lookinh at it it has a million suspected causes. Phsyical trauma, heavy lifting, bouts of violent coughing, various infections by things, drug abuse, arthritis, a tumor (doesn’t have to be cancerous) and some other things.

    I caught pneumonia at the beggining of the year from a cold. First time I went to the hospital in 10 years. Nothing wrong with me other than that when I went. My heart was fine my other lung was fine and I was discharged with antibiotics the same day. I didn’t know what caused my chest pains.

    Happens most in 40 year old women and its the cuase of 30% of people going to hospital complaining of chest pains.



  • @lemonater47:

    Happens most in 40 year old women and its the cuase of 30% of people going to hospital complaining of chest pains.

    That’s because costochronditis is a bit of a catch all diagnosis, similar to how a significant amount of the prison population are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Costochondritis is just a simple inflammation of the tissues surrounding the pleural cavity, it’s usually non-threatening and very temporary. What SOC is describing sounds different, because the intensity of pain is increasing and starting to seem chronic (one full year of pain). Often costochondritis is mistakenly diagnosed instead of pleurisy. However, since they ran a CBC already, I’m assuming they found no infections or disease to indicate pleurisy and defaulted to costochondritis.

    There are a lot of possible reasons why SOC might be experiencing pain in or around the pleural cavity. The problem with diagnosing it is that these pains are often idiopathic, or without explanation. This would explain why it seems that your doctors are being disingenuous with you.
    I could chance and say that maybe his body produces too little pleural (serous) fluids and so the two membranes of the pleural cavity aren’t properly lubricated and rubbing together causes pain (which could be compounded by eating more solid foods, thus applying more pressure on an already highly frictional surface). Or it could be exudative pleural effusion caused by an extended inflammation, a comorbid result of costochondritis. But I’m not a doctor, just a biology student with an interest in medicine, and very little information to go off of. Do you have shortness of breath?

    How to deal with chronic pain… I could give you advice that would sound like I’m quoting it out of a text book, because I likely would be. I’ve never dealt with chronic pain, so I have no input here.



  • I’ve had it for 2 years. I can cough now an there’s a slight pain. Just sometimes it can get bad. Feels like a heart attack and moving can be painful.

    The pain can sometimes make it hard to breathe. But that’s only because it hurts trying to sometimes.

    Though yes soc could have what you suggested. Food doesn’t seem to affect how bad it gets for me.



  • My brother’s the one with all the pot and it doesn’t help him any, unfortunately. I think the biggest medicinal factor behind pot is that it helps calm the nerves which relieves a lot of stress and leads to a happier lifestyle. The mind can control how you feel quite substantially, so if it helps go for it.

    @parkrangerstan:

    I would try to get a referral to see a neurologist (if you haven’t already). If it’s “nerve” pain, weed won’t work as well as many other medications that specifically target the nerves ex: Neurontin (Gabapentin). Combining that with an OTC anti-inflammatory would probably give you the best relief, if it even is nerve pain.

    Yeah, I saw a neurologist in the hospital, she’s the one who had the MRIs done on me. She saw me again a few times after that, saying I had something slightly wrong at the top of my spine where my neck is, but said it was so minor that it wasn’t anything to worry about and that was it. I’ve tried multiple types of anti-inflammatory and they usually don’t help at all (Naproxen, mobic), but they haven’t mentioned neurontin to me. I’ll ask about it when I see a physical therapist.

    Yeah Lemon, costochondritus is a huge thing, this page sums it up pretty well but it’s pretty dated. Ibuprofen does nothing for me unfortunately. I’ve tried multiple forms of NSAIDs but they don’t help much, either. Inflammation and food actually pay key roles together I’ve found, and from what I’ve researched everyone has different forms of their “inflammation factor” when it comes to food. I’ve read that pumpkins and blue berries are very anti-inflammatory while peanuts are very inflammatory: but for me, pumpkins and blue berries do nothing and peanuts do kind’ve make it worse. I just try to experiment and find what works for me. Pork, turkey, chicken and fish usually do very well with me but I can’t handle beef at all anymore, for example.

    I think the biggest factor is probably repetition to my rib cage: spending many hours a day sitting at a computer and playing video games (especially in Chivalry holding shift and W with your left pinky and middle finger so much) is probably how I caught it, or maybe why it’s not going away for me. It’s just, I’ve went weeks without being on a computer or playing anything as an experiment and it still stuck with me the whole time so I dunno. But I’ve spent my whole life gaming (since I was 4) so it seems weird it would hit me all of a sudden. I mean literally one minute I was fine, the next minute my life changed forever.

    Yeah, early on I definitely had shortness of breath, but mostly because it was too painful to breathe too deep. I’m able to breathe much deeper again now with little pain, but maybe I’ve just gotten used to it. When the pain gets too bad, standing up causes my heart rate to sky rocket as if I was resting for a long period of time and it gets really scary. So you think solid foods can play a role in my pain? Maybe I’m not chewing my food enough, too? I try to drink tons of water (2-3 glasses a day, at minimum) to help keep my fluids up as well.


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