Thursday, October 1, 2009

Costochondritis- Admit you Have it

I'm going on three years with this pain. Some of you just got it-eek!...but many who read this blog have had it much longer than I have. And for that, I am deeply sorry.

I don't know everything. But I do know this: if we treat our bodies as though we DON'T have Costo- we will never heal.

It took me a long time to grasp that my life was going to have to change if I wanted a shot at healing. So I encourage all of us to not only turn to our doctors, but to respect our bodies. And my friends...if it hurts to lift it, put it down. If you push it, you'll pay for it. You know this deep down. And when we can admit this to ourselves...maybe, just maybe...our healing can begin.

If we keep doing what we're doing, we'll keep getting what we're getting.


  1. So true. It's taken me 3 years to get to a point where I know if I push it I pay for the next 3 weeks. As frustrating as it is, sometimes you just have to put down the load of washing, leave the weeds in the garden and just not care about the dirty socks festering under my teenage sons bed. I'm getting better about not being so stubborn about things, slowly, very slowly.... Hey how's the sauna experiment going??
    Michelle :)

  2. Michelle, you are so right about how being stubborn can do us in. I hate that, but I too am learning. Such a process, isn't it?

    Sauna experiment is going well. It's definitely helping my pain a little bit, you are sweet to ask. =)

    I love reading your blog, Michelle!! You have SO much talent as a writer!

  3. I was diagnosed with it around 3 years ago while on holiday and thinking i was about to have a coronary. i had loads of heart tests in a private hospital and they said my heart was fine, but i had costa. i was told it should pass within 6 months. i took about 1 and a half years for it to get better, and mainly for my anxiety to fade. i began to excercise again and felt great for a while but this winter its come back again like it does every winter.

    on a quick note, do you find the following things flare up your costa? im just trying to figure out why it has come back so viciously: stress/anxiety (i KNOW this does affect it!), asthma (if you have it), change of circumstances (i recently moved house) change in excercise habits, the onset of winter and colder wathers...i remember now it being this bad last winter after a relativley pain free summer, so heres bracing for another painful winter :/

    any tips you got on pain management or how to get doctors to help you, i presume you are american from he way you talk and it sounds like your doctor is very good at helping you but over here in England my doctors have been crap at supporting me, ihavent had any form of treatment or painkillers, or even had a chance to properly talk through it.

    anyways good luck and ive bookmarked this! by the way im only 23 an having to deal with costa as well as hypermobile joints that constatly click and cause me no end of pain, so its great to read up on someone in a similar situation with the costa. you've been more help to me in the 10 mins ive read this blog so far than all the doctors ive seen haha!

  4. Sarah,
    Thanks SO much for sharing your story! I really appreciate it so much.

    You hit the nail on the head with what causes Costo to flare up: the cold air, lifting heavy objects or light object repetitively such as during your move, stress, anxiety, and life changes.

    You are right, I'm an American. That so funny your could tell that by how I talk. =) Of course...when you said you went on holiday- i was like "is she from England?" LOL! Love meeting people from all over, so cool.

    Okay, so back to the question of the doctors. It's a good one. I think everyone really struggles with finding the right doctor. I saw over 75 before I found one who knew what Costo is. So frustrating, so I feel your pain. To be perfectly honest, the only thing my doctor has done that was helpful was:
    1) diagnose me
    2)give the costo-steroid injections a try (but they didn't work)
    3) prescribe the flector patch and anti-inflammatories.
    Other than that, most doctors told me it was in my head...AAARG!! Soo...that's when I decided I was going to start researching on my own...lots of trial and error...talked to a ton of doctors. Some great...some not so great. So I'm so sorry you haven't found a good are not alone. Most docs aren't familiar with the condition. So it can be really disheartening and frustrating.

    The biggest tips I can offer that are changing my life are:

    1) Removing as much stress from your life as you can.
    2) Try skilled relaxation 2X a day
    3) Sleep on your back
    4) No more Caffeine from cokes
    5) Using a medical Massage Therapist.

    Thanks for the encouragement about my blog! It's great to know something written here may help someone else. So I really appreciate that so much! It encouraging me to keep writing.

    I'll keep it coming!

  5. Oh- and of the best tip is not lifting anything that hurts- can't believe I forgot that- lol...and when you are feeling good- still stay away from medium to heavy objects. This can really help keep it from coming back so rough.

  6. I think this is the most insightful, wise advice that I have heard. After 7 years of costo and 3 of Tietze, I am so darn stubborn I won't stop. I have to be a homemaker. That's my JOB! Everyday I do 3-4 loads of laundry at night I rub my ALPS (red, swollen bumps at cartilage) WTH? I am out of my mind and I won't give in to the pain.
    Lucy, you are really helping my psyche!
    Now I need to practice what you preach.
    Big step in refusing to do Thanksgiving, but the guilt was worse than the pain?
    Does that make sense?
    Keep it coming...
    Cathy from FBxx

  7. Cathy, you are so sweet! So glad we can all help each other!

    I know the struggle with guilt is a big one. I fight that beast a lot as well. Makes a lot of sense to me. Finally this past August...I realized in an effort to please everyone else, I was doing serious injury to myself. It was SO hard to "back out" of life...sigh. Gotta practice what I preach as well. lol.

    But we cannot serve guilt in our lives. I know it's such a struggle. Just say no to guilt and the things that hurt you!! You can do this!!! I believe in you!!