Sunday, August 16, 2009

Costochondritis- How did I Get it?

So only you and your doctor can diagnose the cause of your Costochondritis. Here are the causes that are most common:
  • Chest trauma, such as from a car accident
  • Repetitive trauma or overuse such as lifting weights/working out
  • Viral infections, especially upper respiratory infections
  • You can be genetically disposed to it
  • Pregnancy
  • Celiac Disease
  • Candida
  • You are NOT alone, this is a common condition, but NOT commonly diagnosed correctly

If you got Costo another way than what I listed, please leave a comment and I'll add it here. Thanks!


  1. I got costo while i was very ill on holiday in asia. Was diagnosed with costo after numerous heart tests, and once I'd been allowed to fly back to the UK after 2 months it turns out I had Dengue fever, which had given me a chest infection which most probably led to the costa. Horrible sequence of events both of which I'm still fighting with on an on/off basis. i still get exhaustion from the dengue, sometimes it lasts for a few weeks although it rarely happens these days. the costo keeps coming back though and ith that comes the anxiety and paranoia :( stuff like this is helping though, keep it coming :)

  2. Sarah,
    Thanks for sharing how you got Costo. So sorry you have been in so much pain. You are so right about the anxiety and paranoia- I'm right there with you on that!! I will definitely do a post about the anxiety we all struggle with. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts and I will keep it coming! =)

  3. I was diagnosed with costo a year and a half ago, though I had been having the symptoms for a couple of years: increasingly short of breath, chest pain, and sweating heavily with the slightest exertion. I had all the cardiology tests, lung tests, sleep tests, mri, nerve conduction tests, you name it. My chiropractor first diagnosed it, and 6 months later my PCP confirmed it. But why? What caused it for me? I had no history of injury or infection. So my PCP referred me to a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. I am on 300mg of Lyrica daily, with Cymbalta as well. That helps the deep muscle & joint pain (I can differentiate between the fibro pain and the osteoarthritis or costo pain). The costo is now my big enemy and my hubs wonders if I will ever be able to walk with him again. I can't answer that. I will always have fibro, I know and am reconciled to that, but the costo is supposed to go away, right? I am in physical therapy right now, but I am beginning to wonder if it is helping or adding to the inflammation. Sometimes I can breathe without whistling so that is something I guess. Anyone else with fibro & costo as co-morbidities?

  4. Brodaband1,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like you have been through a huge ordeal.

    I'm not familiar with Fibro the way I am with Costo, so I may not be of much help. =( I understand that Costo can be a symptom of the 2 go hand in hand- which I'm sure is really difficult.

    I tried PT as well, and ended up in TONS more I understand that.

    I did read that getting in a suana is helpful for Fibro as well as Costo...just a thought.

    Here's a group of folks I found who have Costo and may already be a part of them??..

    I will have you in my prayers this week.

  5. over 7 years ago I was hugged by an old man (who was a fitness guru). He picked me up and squeezed me and I felt a huge crack in my left breast (I was wearing an underwire bra).
    I was in so much pain. My chirpractor told me I had cracked cartilege and that was the end of it. I finally recovered but have had intermittent problems ever since. It seems to be right under my left breast. I've since hugged two other men (who were overly excited to see me) and felt the same thing. Once on my right side (which is fine now) and recently another on my left. This last time felt like it was a higher location but I'm dealing with the pain again in the same overall area. My question? Does this signify that my bones are brittle? Do I need a supplement to strengthen my ribs? Will excercise help? I'm afraid to hug anyone anymore. Thanks for your help.

  6. Wow...this sounds really rough. I know how you feel. I totally know the feeling of not wanting to hug anyone...I don't hug anyone anymore- ever. Air kisses for me!

    I wish I was a doctor and could give you more information about this. I would definately go to a rheumatologist and get your bones tested. However, if it's your cartilage that's inflammed, it's doesn't mean your bones are the problem. Which is good news, if that's the case.

    I would let everyone know in your more hugs...too risky and although hugs are wonderful...not worth the pain after.

    And then i would get to a rheumy and see what h/she says. I wish i was of more help!

    Keep me posted! Hope you get to feeling better soon!!


  7. I got costo after doing Jillian Michaels workout videos. I love Jillian, I think I pushed myself to hard with the weights.... Or, maybe I did something wrong.... Darn, I'm going to try the ACV and the relaxation for about a week and see if anything changes. I have had Costo for about 3 months now. I refuse to take Ibuprofen! The side affects are terrible.


  8. Hi TJ-

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. OUCH! I got Costo from working out too...not fun. I'm so sorry you are in pain!

    Please keep me posted on how the skilled relaxation and ACV works for you. Hope you get to feeling better so soon.


  9. hi lucy, and everyone. i hope someone out there is having a 'good' day :) i had a very ineresting experience this week. after having an upper endoscopy to rule out anything esphogeal (came out fine), i found that i had an entirely pain free day for the rest of that day! i am thinking the anesthesia had something to do with it. nsaids really do nothing for the pain. valtoren gel helps to take the edge off only a little. after how i felt the day of the endoscopy, i would like to try a muscle relaxer.` i had forgotten what pain free felt like! also, i am concerned that it seems my situation is 'progressing'. originally the pain was only in the sternum. a month later it was also in my back, and now its also in the side ribs- so basically the pain is all over my torso. would love to know if anyone else has experienced the same or similar thing. i feel fairly certain that the costo was brought on by an upper respiratory infection i had in october, but want to rule out anything autoimmune so i am going to a rheumatologist this week. in the meantime, like you lucy, i surround myself in white light and thank god for the healing that is on its way to me right now. i wish you all peace and health.

  10. Hi There,

    So glad you had a day without pain! Major bummer that it's back. Gag. Did you have to fast for the procedure?

    I really feel for you, my costo progressed as well. It started out as costo only, then over 2 years came the back pain, shoulder pain, headaches, neck pain, acid reflux, etc...I know it's really frustrating and scary. As I've changed my diet with a food diary to find out what is exasperating the pain and the massage therapist, a lot of those progression symptoms have subsided the past month.

    I used a muscle relaxer for a few months. Although I don't use them now, they were really helpful at the time.

    That's positive that you've nailed it down to an infection. Eek!

    Love that you surround yourself with the Lord's love and healing! Thanks for sharing your story.


  11. lucy, i am curious to know if you are working now? please tell me how costochondritis has affected your ablity to work, and what experiences you have had pertaining to working/not working with costo. i am on short term disability at the moment, expected back to work (as a music teacher) in mid april, and i dont know that ill be ready..., exploring options. thanks :)

  12. Hi there,

    I'm not currently working. I was unable to work since my job was very physical, musical theater tours. So I left the tour when I could no longer sing or move due to the pain. I'm waiting to heal up to go back to work!!!

    I haven't explored disability, but if I was in a place where financially it was needed or if the time comes where we need it, I will not hesitate to apply. So your doctors were good about helping you get short term disability?

    Keep me posted on what you end up doing, I wish I had some better options for you.

    I know a lot of costo suffers are really trying to find jobs they can do from home. Like teaching private music lessons, tutoring etc...I'm exploring at home options as well.

    Keep me posted on how you are doing! I know it's stressful trying to figure all of that out. I pray you don't have to go back to work in pain!

    Hugs and healing to you,

  13. It seems as though one of two "events" triggered it for me -- and I've had it for well over a year now. It started soon after I had the worst flu I've had in at least a decade. Also, around the same time I was getting multiple weekly chiropractic adjustments to address a scoliosis condition. I consider the adjusting a possible culprit because I've also had chronic back pain since having it done (and didn't have it before, despite the scoliosis). Also, I did work out with weights for many years. It's a very mystifying and life-altering condition that the doctors just don't know how to address.

  14. Hi My name is Danielle, I had Costo about 7 yrs ago when I was 27 and it was awful, it lasted for 6 mths. I was in a ton of pain, nothing seemed to help and aside from leaving the house to go to various Dr's apt's I was bedbound. Well I thought it was long behind me and all of a sudden its back. I've had it now a week and it does not seem to be getting better. The Dr put me on 800mg ibprofin TID. I'm a dog walker/pet sitter and Vet Tech and had to call off all work for this week cried the whole time I was calling all my clients to cancel. I'm now 34 and I do have a large chest but I'm not sure why it came back this time. I was haboring some stress the weeks to come and was active but no more than usual. I remember how awful it was the last time, and don't want to go through it again!! I also need a support group since as you all know you feel so alone!

  15. I was diagnosed with it 5 days ago,woke up on a Friday morning,had a hard time breathing or moving and since heart problems are herditary I was a little worried.Im 37,female and I dont think doctors take this seriously.So I waited and Monday morning went to get checked.He prescribed to me anti inflammatories for a week and told me to come back after the week is over if not better.This morning I woke up stiff all over in stomach and back,probably from anti inflammatories?Chest still hurts but at least nott to breathe.I dont understand how I can hurt myself in my sleep like that so Im starting to wonder if it may have been caused by walking my over active,hyper yet very strong dog,she pulls alot.I work at a desk job,not comfortable to sit for long periods of time.I took yesterday and today off.Seriously need some relief!But very happy to know thaat my heart was fine,had EKG,x rays and blood tests done.Also hppy to have found this board and know others are dealing with this(not happy you all have to deal with it though)

  16. Hi all. I am in my late 40's. I had a heart attack and had a stent placed into my artery. A year later, I had another heart attack and had twp more stents placed into another artery. After this second ordeal, a few days later I was experiencing this horrific pain, turns out to be cono. My doc calls it CWP (chest wall pain). I do not sleep well and my activities have been limited. It is very disturbing to me, because I am a very active woman. I have placed on pain killers and that is it. I am so scared that this is not going to go away. My quality of life has changed drastically. Is there anything I can do other than take it easy? I can't bear to think I will have this for the rest of my life...

  17. Hi, I was having chest pain, difficulty breathing, and thought it might be a side effect from some new medicine I was put on. I called my doc and (the nurse screens all calls, you never get to the doc) she wanted nothing to do with me, but said I need to go to the hospital. Well, I drove there, an hour away, then the hospital was closed and the ER was the only option, the scary sharp pains in the center was the straw that broke the camels back after a week of chest pains/tightness. They did the EKG and x-ray and I was sent off with this diagnosis. I had no injury, no physical strenuous activities, no resp. infection, not pregnant and not the other reasons listed above. I have no idea why I got this. I have been taking naproxin sodium, but it's not really helping at all. I wish I knew why I got this...and how long I'll have it. The doc said a week, it had already been a week. Sigh. I'm with you guys.

  18. Hi Lucy! I am so glad I found your blog!I am not much of a blogger, But I have found comfort in your posts, so thank you!I am 35. I have 2 beautiful boys, and a fabulous husband... They are what is keeping me going these days, although I feel like I am not being there for them... It makes me very sad. Over the past 10 years I have been Dx'd with panic disorder, hypothyroidism and hypersomnolence. (a lighter form of narcolepsy)On 9-7 I had a pain in my chest. I work for an amazing chiropractor and told him that it felt like my sternum needed to be adjusted. We got so busy, I left work that day without even having him look at me. Over that weekend, I had minor pain here and there, but was attributing it to stress. That Monday back at work it was awful, this was my 1st really bad day. I could barely breathe,talking and breathing was very difficult.Everything I did I hurt. So doc did X-rays- nothing out of the ordinary. The next few days were equally as terrible. I would wake up and think the pain was gone. Then I would move! I went to see a doctor within my PCP's office for fear that I had something wrong w/ my heart or lungs. ( I also am one of the lucky few w/ an extra valve in my heart, so that with my dexadrine sometimes causes palpitations) He confirmed everything was fine and said I have Costo. He put me on steroids for a week. They didn't even touch it. This past Thursday I saw my PCP. The pain was so bad that day it felt like even my shirt was making it worse! When he did the exam, he barely touched me on my 2nd ribs and tears started flowing. He said I was in far too much pain for costo and sent me for an immediate CT scan. It showed nothing as well. I was told to take 2 aleve twice a day with Pepcid to avoid stomached ulcers, and given a Rx for Lortab. I will only take them at night bc I get sedated very easily. It doesn't really help much, but it does force me to be still.
    I was so glad to see that you and others noticed that bras make it worse. I have had pain on my left 7h rib at my sternum for years. It always felt like a bruise. I never said anything to anyone bc I didn't think much of it. If I wear a bra right now, by the end of the day I can barely move. Most of my pain is on the right from my 2nd rib to my 7th. And that breast hurts bad- but that 7th rib on the left is awful too.
    Since it started I have had a few ok days where the pain was only a 3-4. Most days I would say I wake up with pain scaled 1-2, by lunch it's a 4-5, and by dinner I'm at a 7-8... Today I woke up at a 7-8 and now feel like a 10+!!! I think it was my Jammie shirt- it's a baby-doll type shirt with small loose elastic that crosses over the chest and under the breasts. I am going to try the bras you recommended for sure!!! Talking definitely seems to aggravate the pain... Which is awful bc I s so social....and I talk a lot for work.... I love my job so much. I have never missed a day- or even gone home sick until this- a few days ago I just couldn't stand it anymore!
    I will stop now, since this is now seeming like more of a journal entry!!
    I really am glad I found your blog.... Thank you so much for posting.... And for listening!

  19. not sure where this will post on the blog...but those who are new, kinda like us, i say "us because im posting for my almost 16 year old. Very active softball player-pitcher-infielder for years. had some shoulder therapy one year ago, has severely suffered costco since Christmas break. prior to that, she had on/off chest pains for a few months--we just thought she over threw for a game or practice etc... because it was not extreme. She has had days when she cant get out of bed ( just a few) nights are the worst--cant get to sleep due to the pain. but if you think about it at night when you go to bed, all has settled for the day, its quiet, not much to think about but the costco pain...nights really stink.
    SOOOOOOO... we have found a great doctor.. im in the los angeles area-- he is a chriropracter/ extreme nutritionalist/alternative med... he is treating her from the inside out--its like we are going backwards to get this inflammatory creep! so after 5 weeks with the doctor--and plenty of blood work she has a few other contributors besides her softball -history.
    Vit D- deficient
    Anemic-although she has plenty of iron in her system, her body not using or breaking it down properly
    Vit D
    Omegas 3 1200mg
    HCL-hydrol-cloric-acid (sp?)-for digestive
    NO DAIRY--very minimum
    NO processed foods--
    organic meats/ grass fed Beef
    This is an inflammatory evil beast--hard to get to. all these things help treat the gut/digestive system which does or doesn't cause inflammation to areas in our body.
    he is also treating her with adjustments and certain exercise to keep her shoulders/ upper body strong.
    This hurts her after a work-out.
    She is still in constant pain--but a slight getting better pain.
    rest-stress free environment is important.
    hard to say exactly what triggered this: FYI for young girls out there, my daughter had the stupid guardisil shot in May/ July 2012--thats when the first onset of chest pains started---far and few between....just saying--do your research DONT DO THE guardisil- just my thoughts! oh ya and the regular western medicine doctor really wont treat your costco properly--look into some alternative medicine-pray continually and be patient

  20. I had a car crash in May 2012 and have at a number of flare ups since, the worst in February this year when I started a new job in a busy restaurant. I am a nightmare as a passenger now, forever fearful and tense. I also worry when I work in case it comes back. I've even stopped swimming (I was swimming every other day until 2 weeks ago) because the pain was starting to come back. I'm now starting another job and very worried in case my pain gets worse :(

  21. Chronic Lyme Disease difficulties, pretty sure.

  22. Hi i have this 1.3 years i cant live anymore help.................

  23. I was diagnosed with Costco this year. I have cysts in both my breast from it. I have never been in so much pain. I don't know what its like to feel painless anymore. I don't want to live off if meds. In used to be super active and now I'm not allowed to even go jogging... :(

  24. I was diagnosed with Costochondritis while I was in basic training for the Air Force. I woke up one morning at 3am and couldn't breathe. I felt like I was going to puke, so I tried to get to the latrine, and the entry controller saw me struggling and called an ambulance. It felt like my chest was closing in on itself. I was scared and didn't know what was going on, so that made it worse. I was in and out of the hospital and clinic for about a month before I was medically separated and sent home, ineligible for further military service. I've been home for 2 months now, and nothing has gotten better. I have noticed that the pain gets worse with stress. I haven't been on any medicine because I don't have healthcare anymore. Some days are better than others, but most days are the same, pain-wise.

  25. I was diagnosed with costo about 2 weeks ago. Worse pain I have felt in all my 45 years of living. I've been prescribed everything from Naproxin to Tramadol, antidepressants, you name it. It only takes the pain away momentarily. I pray I don't have to live with this for the rest of my anyone have info on steroid injections or even surgery to remove the bad tissue???