Thursday, November 12, 2009

Costochondritis- Success Story

Hey friends, Here's a success story that was shared in the yahoo group I'm a part of. I wanted to share what Heather wrote. Thanks for sharing, Heather!

"Hello all-
I have only been a member of this group for about 2 months. I started reading and posting about a week after my breast reduction. Just to review, I had pain mostly in right sided 7th rib (directly under my breast, but sometimes on the left. It started 10 years ago while I was running. Since then I had become extremely limited in my ability to exercise. Then I had my breast reduction in hopes that it would help my rib pain.I believe this is where I was in the story when I last posted. One week after my surgery my rib pain began again. I was very upset. However, because of a persistent cough I had (which seemed to be caused by a post nasal drip) I decided to use my inhaler. And my rib pain went away within 30 minutes. I was shocked, after 10 years of suffering, do I have a solution?

I wasn't quite ready to declare that though, so I went on with my life. 2 weeks after that my rib pain began the day after I had done a lot of fast walking (something that used to ALWAYS flare my rib pain). I was upset because I was still thinking that my inhaler giving me relief had probably just been a fluke. But, I tried it anyway, after 10 minutes, no relief, and I was starting to get very upset. Then almost exactly 30 minutes after using my albuterol inhaler, the pain was completely gone. Halleluyah!!!! I am so excited. This happened about a month ago and I have walking and even jogging (YEA!!!!) without any flare ups at all. I had not been able to walk fast or jog in 10 years because of the "rib" pain. So, obviously,this problem is due to some pathology in my lungs. I'm not sure what yet, I intend to visit a pulmonologist, but to tell you the truth, I don't care what the reason is. I HAVE A SOLUTION NOW. I feel like a brand new person. Anyway, so it took me a month of being pain free to decide to go ahead and shout this from the roof tops, and I'm still a little bit afraid that I might be
"jinxing" myself by telling all of you this...but hopefully not.

So, the good news is: I have a cure for my pain. The bad news is: the cure is not for costochondritis. Good luck to all of you. I will still be checking in and reading and/or posting messages, but probably not as often. Please spread the word on my behalf, if anyone you know, or if any of you, have similar symptoms and have asthma, try your inhaler. I would hate for anyone else to go on suffering and limiting their activity as long as I did, when all they have to do is use their inhaler." -Heather


  1. chamlin999@gmail.comMarch 8, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    I just ran across your blog (looking for costo-friendly exercises) and want to share an apparently little-known treatment for costo that has worked wonders for me. I developed acute onset costo in 2000 and spent the next two years in tremendous pain. It eased to moderate daily pain after that and I thought that was as good as it would get. Three years ago, while being treated for an unrelated injury, I joked with my physical therapist that it was a shame he couldn't fix my costo as easily as he could the other part of me. He suggested that we try a type of PT called manual therapy. I have to say that it was painful at the beginning - the last thing I wanted was to have someone pushing on my painful ribs - but within two weeks I could breathe more easily and after that I saw a *huge* reduction in my daily pain. As my PT guy explained it, the inflammation of the cartilage causes the surrounding muscles to tighten; that's why I had both pain and difficulty breathing deeply. Manual therapy restores the flexability to the costal joints and unknots those knotted muscles. As long as I did the stretching exercises to keep those muscles stretched, I had only occasional mild discomfort (a mid-chest ache). I even shoveled snow and ran the garden tiller with little or no discomfort! I fell off the exercise bandwagon last year and have seen a slow but steady return of my symptoms, so am starting with the PT guy again this week. As you can see, it's not a permanent 'fix' for costo - you must do the stretching to keep the ribs moving and muscles relaxed - but I can honestly say that manual therapy changed my daily life tremendously (no more need for daily aspirin, heating pad, etc.). Here's the interesting thing: when I told my physician about the relief I had gotten, she had never heard of manual therapy. If your doctor tells you physical therapy isn't used for costo, consider getting a second opinion or (if your medical insurance will cover it) just schedule an appointment with a manual-therapy-trained PT person and try it yourself. I wish I had found this therapy earlier - I would have saved myself years of daily pain. Hope that this helps you as much as it has me, fellow costo sufferers!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your story and for taking the time to let us know how you are coping! I really appreciate it.

    I'm currently doing manual therapy with my medical massage therapist and I'm SO thankful for it as well!


  3. I have only now begun my journey with Costo. When I was first diagnosed my Dr gave me meds and said I would be good in 3 days. New to this long word disease I decided to do some research. Then I got the real facts. Now, 2months after my 1st diagnosis and 3 flare ups later I have begun to get very frustrated.I have been in excruciating whole body pain for over 5 years now. I was recently told that Fribroyalgia may be the root cause of my costo. I am scheduled to do a breast reduction to see if the extra weignt off my chest will reduce the pain of my costo and FM pain. I am also asthmatic and I so wish the pain relief was as simple as a puff for me like Heather. I haven't had such luck and really just do not know what to do. As I am on strong meds for the FM pain, costo just adds more pain that the meds cannot deal with. I am 32 and I really see the rest of my life as a rollercoaster of pain and new doctors, new techniques and new pain. I just wanted to share my story for those that may feel as hopless as I do. Sometimes this can be the lonliest feeling when noone around can understand just what you are feeling. I hope somebody from this knows that there is someone else who is hurting as bad as you with no relief in sight.