I wish during the 2 years when I didn't know my diagnoses, someone would have not only diagnosed me, but told me how painful, yet non fatal this condition is.
Here's the cycle: constant pain in your chest....then Stress hits, Pain in the Chest doubles where the heart is, Trouble Breathing, Panic, THEN More Stress, More Intense Pain, More trouble breathing, More Panic...and the cycle goes on and on until it elevates and you end up in the emergency room. Most of us have been there multiple times and can attest to this traumatic cycle that can run your life into the ground.
These cycles can cause panic attacks, depression, and a lot of doubt about your health and sound mind.
Why does stress induce more pain with costochondritis?
When your body thinks it's in danger (real or imaginary), it begins to spring into action. It prepares the body to respond to the danger and protect you. So when you began to get stressed about anything in your daily life, these are just a few of the things that occur:
- Your body begans to brace itself in preparation for defending you
Muscle tension increases to prepare for action
Breathing gets shallow and faster to supply more oxygen to the muscles and body tissue
- Heart rate increases and heart increases its strength of contraction to pump more blood
Stress = bracing = More Pain in Costochondritis.
So What do I do about it? My life is crazy, I can't cut down on stress!
I'm not going to tell you what to do. You have to make your own decisions. I personally have really stepped out of my professional and personal life this year. It's been extremely challenging and honestly- sad. But I'm dedicating this year to doing everything I can to heal. This means reducing stress in every way. As much of it as I can. My hubby supports me fully. So my life revolves around preventing my body from bracing in any way.
So take some time to really contemplate what you can do in your own life to reduce the stress induced cycle. Big or Small. It will help. Also, adding in skilled relaxation is a great tool. You can check out more about it HERE.
So when you start the cycle of stress, pain, difficulty breathing, panic....stop yourself. Don't give your control over to the panic. Tell yourself that you have Costo. Tell yourself that you are okay. Tell yourself that's it's inflammation. Tell yourself that you are safe. You have to find that trigger that calms you down. It's a must with this condition. My trigger is simply, "You are just inflammation." Sounds corny, but it's what I use. Then I place my hand where it hurts the most to calm myself down, and go through my body and relax each and every muscle while listening to music that relaxes me.
It's time to stop the cycle. I pray as you read this, you will find a way to reduce the stress in your life. It took me being in so much pain, I couldn't even smile when my hubby walked through the door just to tell me how much he loved me. This condition has seeped into every aspect of my life. And I know it's done the same to you. And for that, may I say I am so sorry. I am so sorry.
I use to think I was indivisible to stress. It never really bothered me. I know now that was a load of stinky horse manure. We can't change where we've been, but we can contribute to where we're going....
To panic, or not to panic....that is the question.