Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Costochondritis- Helpful Tips

If you can go through your day and cut down on all the small things that add to your pain, it may help bring it down a notch. Definitely a plus.

No one wants to change their life for this condition...I get that. I battled the current of change for 3 years. There's a a part of you that thinks if you change your life style, that your resigning to the pain, admitting that this is your life. Or maybe that's just stubborn little ol' me =)... sigh. I'm sick of Costo. But I'm also sick of working against myself...so these are some of the adaptations I've made on my journey to healing. Hope you find a tip or two that helps make your day a little less painful.

  1. Towels- if you are lifting heavy towels up every time you shower, snag some thin ones, drop the heavy ones that add to your pain. Go check out your towel and see how light or heavy it is.
  2. Liquid in the Fridge- Put your milk, juice, sodas etc in a pump bottle that you can snag at Walmart. Lifting those heavy liquids can ruin your day quick. Grab a pump bottle of your choice and stop lifting those liquids!
  3. Travel Size- Buy your shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, hair serums, mouth wash, etc in a the travel size.
  4. Your Laptop- If you can, use your computer at a table where you can stand while using it instead of sitting down. (I have a huge box under my laptop so that my computer is high up- this way I bypass the chair).
  5. Soap- Use the pump soap, no bulky bar soap. The less lifting small or large, the better.
  6. Your Purse- Make is as light as possible. Use your lightest purse or bag. Take out EVERYTHING that you don't use each day. What can you leave at your office desk? Or in your car? And trade that huge adorable bag in for a little bitty purse to lighten your load and easy your pain.
  7. Flats- Wear Flats...high heels jar the ribs as you walk.
  8. Straws- Use straws with your sodas, water, or juices. Take your mouth to the drink and use the straw, don't bring the drink to you.
  9. Detergent- Put your liquid laundry detergent in a pump bottle so you don't lift the detergent.
  10. Plastic Wear- Use paper plates, paper bowls, and paper utensils.
  11. Your Kitchen Cabinets- Reaching above your head for soups, pretzel bags etc causes irritation to your ribs. Rearrange your cabinets so that all the food you reach for is around eye level.
  12. No Hugging, No Hugging, No Hugging. Just stay away from touching all together. lol.
  13. Driving- very painful...do as little as you can. Try to stay in the passenger seat as much as you can. However, if you have to drive, I find that leaning my seat back as much as I safely can (so that you're not sitting straight up) helps with the pain. Try to relax and breathe as much as you can while driving.
  14. Bra's- just say no. =) Check out my earlier post and click HERE for some detailed info on other options for bras and why they hurt like crazy.
Let me know if you have a tip that I haven't put here, thanks!!


  1. Luci,
    Love the list, although I admit there was a lot there I hadn't given any thought to, and as far as giving up hugging, that's like asking me not to breathe! Although I do mostly light one-arm hugs these days. But I do have a big one that's not on your list: driving. The whole turning the wheel, the whole stress and bracing thing, driving really does me in. And you didn't say anything about clothes, especially bras. I know we've talked about it before.
    If I think of anything else, I'll post.
    Oh, and I want to know how you manage to run. I can only walk, very slow, without gasping for breath.

  2. Hi all, its Joanne. I have had a couple of good days. But have to make a seven hour plane ride twice in the next week. Not looking forward to that. I will be real gorgeous in the seat w my bra unhooked,loose tops that are layered and roomy pants.. I will check all bags. I carry a very small lightly loaded purse. I think that is a good suggestion too.
    Driving, you are right. A couple of months ago I drove home on the interstate at night in the rain. I usually dont get out too much at night, and the stress of that trip made me sore for weeks.Hurt so bad I had to take a happy pill!!
    I can only walk as well. Cannot even imagine running. How do you do it Lucy.

  3. Hey Ladies!!

    Thanks for your comments and suggestions! I just added the driving and bra tips- thank!! I knew I forgot something! lol.

    Brodaban1- How do I manage to run? Very good question! lol. At one point I wasn't even walking, I was in too much pain. After I declared war on the Costo and buckled down and changed my life as far as being as low key as possible, not lifting anything, not going to parties etc. =(...then after 4 months of that i was able to start walking. I have no clue if this will work for everyone, but it's how mine has unfolded.

    After 2 months of walking at 2.4 on the treadmill (VERY SLOW!!), and staying with lot of quite rest, skilled relaxation, and med massage therapy...then I started walking a little faster...and I started jogging for only 10 minutes a session when i felt ready. I definitely don't do it everyday. I do it about 3 times a week. It my little experiment. =) You should see me when i do jog. I'm trying to so hard to relax my body when I run, I must look like I'm jogging while asleep. lol.

    I'll pray for you about your plane ride!! I know that can cause a lot of anxiety as well as pain. Try to keep your seat in a laid back position as much as you can.

    Hugs to both of yall!!!

  4. PS- Rock out that unhooked bra look!!! lol.

  5. Joanne here, hello.So just leaving on my trip. I am an artist and was so happy that I have been better that I finished two pictures yesterday. Now my back is killin me!! Plus a few new stabs in my ribs. Geez, I should have known better. Lots of time on the plane to pray.
    Wanted you to know I found a package of three bra extenders, one in black, tan and white.Only $6.50 at Wal-mart. They are helping... somewhat.
    So grateful for your blog.

  6. So glad you are feeling a bit better! Bummer about the back killing you. I so get that...you feel better...conquor the world...and then start hurting again...lol.

    Thanks for the bra extender tip!!! i put it on my bra post- it will really help lots of women in the future!

    I'm grateful for you too!! Hope the plane trip wasn't too bad!!

  7. One more thing about driving. If your car has heated seats, that can be helpful for keeping your muscles relaxed. The seat heater on the driver's side of my car actually reaches up mid back so it helps with the ribs. But driving is still a pain, and I end up doing far more of it than I like. And a lot of it on dirt & gravel roads, which is a real killer!
    By the way, I shared this site with my physical therapist, so Matt if you are there, welcome! I'll be interested in hearing his take. He thought the skilled relaxation exercises would be helpful.

  8. Great idea about the heated seats!

    Thanks for sharing the site with your PT! Let me know if he has any thoughts or something we should add to it. Hi Matt! =)

  9. Joanne here. Had a fairly good week, I was in cold weather, lots of stress. Both bad, but wanted you to know my sister had heated seats in her car which really helped me. I live where its still hot!!! So no heated seat needed now.
    The plane did not bother me, I took my little pillow and kept moving it around to be comfy, and hide the "unhooked look".. ha
    Wish I could say it was better, but its about the same. I am really really tired of having pain. A few good days and several bad, and seemingly for no reason... bummer. But thank the Lord at least I can walk around and do most things.
    Tomorrow I start back on weight watchers. I am going to monitor pain and see how losing weight will help.

  10. Joanne,

    So glad the plane ride wasn't awful. I was so curious.

    So sorry to hear your pain is about the same. I know it's so frustrating and draining...it's a daily fight. I hear ya. I get so exhausted from the pain....worn out and sad. I pray a lot for encouragement. You're on my prayer list too.

    I LOVE weight watchers!! I'm doing it right now as well. It's such a good program. I have lost 5 lbs and I know it's helped the pain as well. Keep me posted on how you are doing!!


  11. It is so good to read about someone who takes this seriously, I was told I had costochondritis over 5 years ago and have struggled ever since. I initally went to my doctor because I had a "spell" at work and was in so much pain I couldn't breath. He told me to take some advil and it would go away.... Well it hasn't. Last night was the kicker for me though. My husband and I tried driving home from Florida and I could barely breath to help with the driving, I had a terrible dizzy spell and couldn't focus to see. I then told my husband "There's something WRONG with me!!" to which he quickly replied "I know I've been saying that for years!" hmmmm He was serious though. Thank you for this post. I found in when I googled Costo while driving. So glad to hear this can be a real issue with this condition.