Sunday, August 16, 2009

Costochondritis- Definition

Well, this is the start of my blog! Here we go!

(And if you are reading the blog the top to the bottom, may I say well done and thank you for taking this journey with me!) OKay, back to the task at hand....

Definition of Costo: Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage in between your ribs,
where the ribs attach to the breast bone, at the sternum. The inflammation can involve multiple cartilage areas/ribs on both sides of the sternum but usually is on one side only, the left. It's less common, but it can be on the right side as well.

The pain can range from a stabbing, mimicked heart attack to a dull, constant pain. The pain can start in the middle of the chest and cause pain to wrap around the back all the way to to spine.

Those us us who have had it for years call it "costo" for short. If you are new to the world of costo, you are not alone. But please, make sure your doctor has diagnosed you with costo. and ruled out heart problems, etc.


  1. I think maybe I have had this for years and my chiropractor has now put a name to the face of the pain!! I thought for the longest time that it was gastro problems, or heart, the latest was colitis - but nothing ever showed as abnormal. Everything I read here is exactly the pain I have been having. It's a relief to know I am not out of my mind! : )

  2. Michelle,
    Thanks for sharing!!You are not alone!! Hope you get to feeling better. It's always a relief to know the diagnoses. So so so glad you got diagnosed so you can try to heal from this yucky condition.

    Hugs and healing,

  3. Can this condition cause burning pain in your upperback??

  4. I have experienced a lot of pain in my back, but not burning. If you put a pole through my chest, the pain in my back is on the same level where my chest pain it. I wish I was of more help!!

    Maybe post this question on the yahoo groups page for costo? Maybe someone else has had this symptom. I hope you get to feeling better so soon!!

  5. I too have had lots of back pain. Sometimes like a tingling feeling. I thought I had broken ribs over 3 years ago. Had alot of pain, got a little better after about 18 months. Then in June decided to wear an underwire bra...! I reinjured myself again!My husband took me to the ER and there got the right diagnosis, after three years he said Costo right away. So I still take one half of a vicodin about twice a week at night. The rest of the time Ibprofen.I do lots of resting, can only sleep on my back, every exercise hurts, I use five pillows, sleep at a 45 degree angle. I can't lift anything without pain. Was feeling better, and today carried in a half gallon of milk and jar of peanut butter from the car.... bad pain again.
    My back is so bad I cannot chop anything. Anyone else doing that?
    So glad I found your site, this is a hard thing, emotionally.

  6. I'm so glad you found the site too!! It helps so much to know we aren't along. I'm so sorry for your pain. It sounds like it's been a long, difficult road.

    I too can't chop anything, lift anything, or make a dinner without a lot of pain. It's so not fun. And the bra kills me!! I currently wear a lot of tanks with jackets. So not always cute, but helpful. =)

    However, I must be having sympathy pain or something, cause mine is killing me today. lol.

  7. I meant alone...not along. =)

  8. Oh my gosh, its killing me too, its late at night, another costo sleepless night. I love the information about the inflamation. I got back on my Omega-3's. Also the Osteo-Biflex. I get it at Walmart, cheap and effective. Its for cartilage in my knees but I read where its helpful with rib cartilage too.
    I notice I have put on weight around my middle, I wonder if the inflamation has made those tissues and muscles swell and hold water and ( Lord forbide) fat!
    Yes I have had pain for over 3 years, it wears you down. Some days I just cry for a few minutes, it must release stress, because I feel better.
    My husband does all the chopping for dinner, does the dishes, cant bend into the dishwasher, gets clothes from the dryer.Does everything that might trigger it. He knows when I get too bad he does everything so he makes sure to help me. What a blessing he is, we have been married 44 years.
    So that gave my age away, being older and having costo is not good. The only good thing is that medicare paid for all the x-rays and medicines. Ha.
    Here's to patience, trying to wait this out. And healing rest, and lots of conversations with the Lord about this.
    So good to talk w someone who KNOWS what your going through. Thanks

  9. Sounds like you have a wonderful hubby.=) What a blessing. Mine is wonderful too. I'm so thankful for him.

    So glad you got back on your Omega 3's!!! That's awesome! So so so good for you! Yes, I have lost weight recently (I gained it and noticed my pain was worse..) and now since I'm losing it again, I have noticed a difference. So I totally understand how belly stuff can increase the inflammation. I think you are definitely on to something.

    I feel better when I cry too. I remember the first time I bawled and was SO SHOCKED when my pain was better. lol. Have you tried skilled relaxation exercises? Just curious...

    I will be praying for you this week!! I'm a huge believer in prayer.=)

  10. lucy do you ever get stabbing pains under where you underwire is? i just got this and scared me. made me wonder if it was my stomach or what? then lately when it flared up again my shoulder has been aching along with my collarbone and tingling goes up my neck. i also have a pinched nerve in my neck i think - chiro has told me that before. but wonder if it could be related to my costo too. i thought it was gone and recently have been overdoing it again. ugh!!! so sick of pains :P KRis

  11. has anyone had a stress test to rule out heart problems? i have already had an EKG and a chest xray but im not sure the EKG was workingall that well he did say from what it did read that all looked well. he said just to put my mind at ease tho he scheduled me for a stress test ona treadmill. ew stuff that this makes me nervous@! :P

  12. Kris,

    Yes, stabbing (it's actually little spasms) is VERY normal and painful with costo. =(

    Stabbing happens when we have over done it or are really stressed out.

    And yes, your neck and shoulders can hurt from costo. Read the blog from top to bottom and you'll read about a lot of cases with stabbing and body aches. I've used a massage therapist to alleviate all the body aches. I so feel your pain!! I know it's scary.

    I have not had a stress test, but I think a cardiologist is a great idea to rule out problems so that you feel comfortable with the costo diagnoses.

    You hang in there!! I know it's so tough and painful. You are not alone. Everything you are feeling is very normal with costo. The stabbing, the body pains, and the fear- all very valid challenges with this condition. =(

    Hugs to you, let me know if I can help in any way. I'd try to get a confirmed diagnoses...I think you'll feel much better once that happens.


  13. Hey Lucy!

    How cool are you! Thank you so much for this site!

    I've actually had costo for 6 years with a cardiologist eventually properly diagnosing it by ruling out all other heart problems!I've always had stomach issues too so maybe they are connected!

    Just want to thank you again for your amazing site

    Pam in Ireland!!!!!

  14. Pam,

    Thanks so much for the kind complement! I so appreciate it! Thank you!

    You've had it for 6 years?! YIKES! and OUCH. So glad you finally got a diagnoses!

    Hope you get to feeling better so soon. I know there is a lot of peace in knowing what all the pain actually is. I pray you are able to quickly find the root and reason behind your Costo. Sorry you have the condition, glad you visited my little site.

    Hugs and nice to meet you!

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  16. My OB/GYN diagnosed me with costo last year. I went in to have a mammogram thinking that something was wrong in my left breast. I rolled a cooler for several blocks to tailgate at a college football game and the next day I was in severe pain in my left breast. I quickly made an appointment and my doctor told me it was costo. I really have a hard time finding a purse to carry that want aggravate it. Has anyone found a type of purse that you can carry?

  17. i was recently diagnosed with costo over this past weekend. the doctor said the cause was unkown and there wasnt any treatment except for motrin to reduce the inflammation. I too have experienced the weight gain in the stomach area unlike I have ever experienced before. I think loosing weight will definately help the situation. Eversince I gained the weight is when the pain grew tremendously painful. I think stress also plays a major factor, im starting a new business and I have been under alot of stress lately making the condition worse I guess. one of my concerns about exercising is the fear it will aggrivate the condition and I end up in the hospital again.

    So glad to hear that the omega 3's help, I am going to try that. How about vitamin D pills? this costo is new to me, and I didnt know it effected so many people. the doctor in the ER said it was no big deal. Sure doesn't feel like it's no big deal to me when Im in excruciating pain and can barely take a deep breath or play with my two year old.

  18. Hi lucy
    Iv recently been diagnosed and omg the pain. Iv been on Anti-inflammatory for three weeks now. First they said i had a chest infection then pulmanary edema and eventually diagnosed after 10 doc appts .I'm finding the info they gave me no use.
    I read a comment about a tight fitting bra. Oh that make sense. Iv had complete rest for two weeks now. Hardly speaking to a soul. Put my padded push them up jobs on yesterday morning and iv suffered ever since. I want to try beat this And I'm open to all suggestions.
    I'm finding not exercising really hard as that's my pastime