Saturday, February 27, 2010

Costochondritis- Symptoms and a Piggy Back

This post is a shout out to Sophie, who asked for a post where you could comment on what makes your pain worse, and compare with other costo cats.

Random: I don't know about you, but ever since I went to the marathon, I keep thinking about my journey as a marathon. This could possibly be because I don't get out much. And you know how they have water stops every few miles? And people run by and grab water and don't ever look at the water holders? I so just want to jump onto the water holder, wrap my legs around one of them, give em a jolly ol' "giddy up" and get a it's a healing party piggy back ride off the course and straight to Pizza Hut.'s been a long time since you and me made out, Mr. Yummy Slice.

Back to the topic at hand:

Okay, here we go, all of the symptoms I currently have are as follows:

  • Chest Pain - I know...that was a shocker to everyone
  • Burning in the Chest
  • Stabbing Pain in the Chest
  • Pressure in the Chest - mostly left side
  • Chest Spasms - when laying on my back
  • Lower Back pain
  • Pain in upper left stomach
  • TMI alert....diarrhea, lethargic, moody after eating any food with oils (canola, sunflower, safflower)
  • Acid reflux and increased burning chest pain (and wake up feeling hung over the next day) if I eat dairy, potatoes, fried food, tomatoes, or gluten- hence- I avoid.
  • High Protein in my Blood
  • Slow digestion-in my small intestines
  • Low blood circulation
  • Candida
  • Numb left hand, tingling down extremities

Symptoms that I've had the past 3 years, but are not there as of the past month with certain changes, mostly diet changes- Holla!:
  • Lethargic
  • Felt like I could not get enough sleep-and then felt hung over upon waking, this stopped when I changed my diet- (insert celebration dance)
  • Pin needles down legs and right foot
  • Tightness in throat
  • Bladder Infections - yeah, that was fun to admit- gag
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Mid- Back pain
  • Thyroid is sluggish - on meds.
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Blurred Vision
  • Left Facial Pain...I know...WHAT?
  • Hot flashes
  • Headaches- haven't had one in 3 weeks!
  • Tightness in throat- feels like it closes up- and burning after eating
  • Cramps in my Calves
  • Imbalanced Hormones
  • Bad PMS - yes, that makes for a fun week- lol- you what I'm talking about ladies!
  • Low Vitamin D

What makes my chest pain worse:
  • Breathing
  • Talking
  • Laughing
  • Singing
  • Laying on my left side
  • Laying on my stomach
  • Lifting anything heavier than a pen
  • Exercising
  • Coughing
  • After eating Canola, Sunflower, and Safflower oil
  • After eating potato based food
  • After eating tomato's
  • After eating gluten
  • Jumping, moving in general
  • If anyone touches me
  • Caffeine
  • Sitting up
  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Driving
  • Shaving my legs -)
  • Bending over in general - keep your mind out of the gutter people! (insert chuckle)

What makes my Pain Better after all this Guinea Pigging
  • Sleeping on my Back
  • Walking daily, light stretching
  • Avoiding Gluten, Potato, Oil, dairy, fried foods, and Tomatoes
  • Skilled Relaxation Exercises, prayer, meditation, reading the Word, everything that calms me down
  • Sauna
  • Not lifting anything, zilch, nada
  • Staying as quiet as I can
  • Medical Massage Therapy
  • Watching totally cliche chick flicks

My worst pain with all kinds of hospital trips was about 10 months ago when I was touring and singing, lifting all my bags on and off the tour bus everyday, my mom had cancer, and I was doing the Mediterranean diet - lots of bread an oils. So that's what my rap sheet looks like. If you feel like sharing your symptoms and what makes it worse, feel free and thanks in advance for dropping a line in the comment section, where it's always a party. I didn't say a good one, with like cake and a pinata of giant, inflamed ribs....haha...okay...I just made myself laugh. I better go now.



  1. Hey Lucy, Heres a few things that makes my costo worse!!! ...

    - Alcohol (any form, even a couple glasses of wine)

    - Laying with too many cushions (makes my dead legs symptoms worse)

    - My first few days of gluten free diet have already helped, so I'm happy to say gluten makes it worse! (Who knows why!!)

    - Panicking! It makes my symptoms stronger, I find that I become more aware of them, making it hurt more! (although, its hard not to worry!)

    -And all of the things Lucy listed above! (Yeah.. really.. try not to do them haha!! :) )

    Thing's I've done to try and overcome these are:

    - Not drink! (haha, oh what a fun teenage life I'm living!) I won't even be able to drink on my 18th birthday if this carries on.. Not cool!! :(

    - I Try to use a few less cushions, I take heavier meds at night to help me sleep, and I also use a heat medpack at night to help me! These are great in my opinion!!

    - I Try to eat more healthily, I'm gluten free for the past few days (As people have advised.. Thanks lucy!) And so far, so good! So i'm gonna keep that up for as long as I can stand the bread... (Yuck haha)! Sorry people.. haha maybe you could try the pitta instead? :)

    - Well, I still panic, It's not as bad as when I first got the symptoms, with the everlasting sobbing , and complaining without being able to breathe satisfyingly enough, and having my mum go "Sophie, you can breathe properly, it just hurts when you breathe".. haha well actually, I'd say both! :) I've been told that anxiety pills help, But i'm trying to avoid going down that route, In my opinion, the less pills the better! aslong as i'm not in pain! :)

    I hope this helps anyone!
    and thanks so much lucy for the great blog, and your fantastic sense of humour, it really does keep us all going!! :)

    Sophie :) xx

  2. Hi sweet Lucy. Thanks for your comments on all my blogs.

    Heehee, my friend Rachel is in pink in the picture just below the "Dismantled" piano picture post.

    So, I am waiting on Sunday afternoon for breaksfast to be delivered. Is there anything better than delivered breakfast?!

    I will write more about my symptoms after brunch, but just wanted to say that the craziest thing about costo is how the symptoms move around, no? Today I woke up with pain on my right side (still on the left, too). It's because yesterday I was feeling better and thought I could move a big old mirror all by myself. Really poor judgment.

    So I'm paying for it today. Hope your Sunday is the best Sunday you've had for some time!

  3. SOPHIE-

    That's AWESOME that avoiding gluten makes it better. SWEEEEEET!!!

    Thanks for sharing all of your symptoms and what makes it better! You keep me going too!


    Breakfast delivered- PERFECT!!

    Eek...dern mirror. I know how you feel. I tried to adjust my desk yesterday. Not my brightest moment. Ouch. Ouch. and Ouch.

    Yes, it's weird how you can feel different things with this is my liver hurting today...WHAT?!!!

    And last night I have NO IDEA what happened, I either got gluttened or something weird...after dinner (organic veggies, rice and beans) I started having stabbing stomach pain, my back started hurting, I got burning chest pain, and acid reflux coming out of my mouth- AHHHH!!! GROSSSS!!!! I was up until 4AM- it sucked- lol. I felt so crappy. My hubby went to the store at 2:30AM cause we decided to try peptol bismol and thankfully, it worked like a charm. I've read on a bunch of gluten sites to try it if you have weird reactions- so we gave it a whirl in the event that I may have celiac. Wild, huh? I fell asleep around 4. gag.

    So we began the search to find out what caused this...I tried a different brand of rice and kissed my hubby after dinner...after he had eaten a sandwich. Isn't that wild?!

    Anyhoo- thanks for listening. What a mess. lol.


    PS- you have to check out my penguins- haha! on the right hand side. I just added them and I think they are funny.

  4. Haha, yeah the gluten free has made the sudden sharp stabbing pains in the chest go! as for the sore ribs... they remain :( I just rub body lotion over them like a billion times a day haha! It helps a bit :)

    OO i love the penguins!! If you click and hold one, all of the others follow! lmao! :)

    PS - Did you get your results back yet Lucy?

    Sucks for the random costo attack, I hope you catch up with your sleep hun, I'm soo grumpy when I haven't had enough sleep, I'm guessing that's why my moods been everywhere lately, (since its been at it's worse)!! I might get one of those celiac tests done, you can buy them online! Have you tested yourself for it yet?

    Sophie :) x

  5. Sophie,

    Thanks for the affirmation about the penguins- haha!! I liked naming them- ha!

    As far as the celiac testing- yes, there are multiple tests you can do online! Wild, huh?!

    I'm still waiting on my test results. The Doctors office called and told me that the results would be in on Tuesday. Two days! The test results I'll get to share on Tuesday are my food allergy testing and also celiac test results. Not sure if they will give me some better clues or not. I'm both apprehensive about it and looking forward to ruling some more things out.

    You thinking of getting tested?


  6. Love your penguins. So cute. Is it bad that I wasted about 5 mins getting them to follow the cursor around? LOL

  7. Hey Lucy,

    Yeah, I'm going to buy a test online, its going to cost me around £12, (which i think is around $18) and you just put it on the end of your finger (like a diabetes test) and it draws a tiny bit of blood and gives you results there and then! Haha, like a pregnancy test, painless and quick!! :) my sister had one done, her results came back clear, but she had similar symptoms to me when she was my age, and was convinced she had an allergy to something... Luckily for her, her symptoms weren't as bad and went away after a year or so, and all of her results came back fine as well!

    She said to me yesterday that "anxiety can cause a lot of physiological symptoms" ... It's frustrating because although I am worried, the only symptoms I have gained since being in this upset state of mind is the dizziness, i hate that people think It's not that bad.. because to me.. it's one of the most painful things I've ever experienced!

    It's also made me think that people without this condition should be making the most of what they have!! I know that the day mine goes away I will be taking full advantage of good health .. (I hope that day will come soon, for all of us!!!)

    PS - (back to the penguins... haha) How do you know who's who?!!! LOL!

    tap back,
    Sophie x :)

  8. PS - if anyone "pinch, punch first of the month's" me.... I willl scream LOL! :)

  9. Since I am currently in the throws of a really bad Costochondritis flare, (if you can call it that) my regimen has been as follows: Soma 350 mg tablets 3x daily, Toradol tablets (Toradol cannot be taken over 7 days at a time, so I switch it up with other meds) and a moist heating pad. There is such a delicate balance with doing too much or not doing anything, because right now, going to the store makes it worse and I have such terrible pain when I breathe. But I know that doing nothing doesn't help either. I have also been doing gentle stretches (as tolerated) and have downloaded some relaxation tapes. Also, relaxation DVD's have been proven to help calm nerves.

  10. SOPHIE-

    I don't know why I write in capitol letters when I'm writing to more than one person. haha!

    Okay- we don't have an instant celiac test here like you do (insert jealousy). haha. That's really really cool. Keep me posted!

    I'm sorry you got the "some of it must be in your head" comment. Gag. That really sucks. I honestly, from time to time, think that the "invisible" part is worse than the "illness." Especially when the illness is causing such havoc. Although there are some benefits to the invisible part of it. Like when from time to time I go to la-la land and pretend it's not real...and shop. haha! I have found it's a hobby I do in silence if I have the energy to get out.

    So may I affirm you all, with my hot pink megaphone of course, and everyone on here that it's not in your head!! And your pain is real!!! And it sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(gracefully putting megaphone down now).

    And you are so right, good health is SUCH a gift. I've learned a lot about not taking anything good for granted as well. I can't wait to jump out of bed in the morning, jump and down on it, then cook a huge breakfast for my hubby- cause I'll be able to lift a pan-haha- and it will ROCK!

    Okay- as per the penguins, lol, that was funny. I have NO CLUE who is who. haha!

    Tap back (I'm totally gunna start saying that!)


    Reading that made my heart sink. My heart really goes out to you. Those really rough breathing days are excruciating and long.

    And you are right, there is such a balance with all of this. Glad you are finding the relaxation exercises helpful.

    Thanks for sharing what you are currently doing.

    Hugs and Healing to you,

  11. Hey Lucy

    You probably could have had one imported from over here!! but don't worry you will be getting your results soon!! You have to message me on here as soon as you get them, and let me know!

    Well yesterday I went out to the store and bought loads more gluten free food... it cost me soo much!! I don't know how I'm going to afford this, especially when I leave home in September!! haha! Not good!! Although, I'm enjoying the food! I got some really nice stuff! It's not all bad (like the bread .. Gag!!)

    What's your favourite gluten free product? :) (We should have a section on here where we can share nice gluten free food ideas! haha :) .. maybe? Lol!!)

    Ahh yes, the good old 'tap back'.. I stole it from a friend :) it sounds awesome! lol!

    Well.. Tap back! lol
    Sophie x :)

    PS - Day 3 of gluten free, results = Great! Sharp pains disappeared, I had a small attack last night, but just got the good old heat pack onto the worst area!
    And I realised yesterday when i went to the shop that my dizzyness and circulation problems were from being in bed too long.... woops! Well, it wasn't my fault the pain was so bad! Bloody costo!!! grr (On the downside, I still have pains at the lower end of my ribs, and bad headaches)

    (That was a long PS- lol! sorry!)

  12. Sophie,

    Oh Mercy, So get this... Lab messed up my test and I'm having to do it all over again. I was all moody and upset this morning, because I had my hopes up to find out today. But then I got over it. lol. I'm about to blog about it.

    As per the gluten free- I'm SO HAPPY that your pain is responding to the gluten free!!! THAT ROCKS!! Thanks for the update! I'm having good results with it as well. Getting kinda excited about it. Holla!

    I will do a post this week or so about gluten and share my fav. products - so we can share our favorite products with each other and the costo clan. Good idea! keep em coming! lol.

    Tappity Tap Tap Tap,

  13. Hey Lucy! :)

    Omg, That's annoying!!! How did they mess it up?!?! I bet you were so angry!! So how long till you get your results now?

    W000 haha, go gluten free!! My sister is amazed that I've kept up with it. You see, I was a huge fan of cream cakes... And well, when I decided to give this gluten free thing a go everyone was like 'Umm, Sophie, there is no way you will keep up with this, I give you a day' Haha, (it was like a betting frenzy) and 5 days later I'm still keeping up with it. I do miss those apple Danish's and custard tarts.. Yummmm .... pastry!! ('drool') LOL.. OH well... I'd rather lose a little love and gain less pain!

    I read somewhere too that some people with celiac don't necessarily have symptoms as such, and they can just have mal-digestive symptoms at first... and apparently only around 1 in 4000 (and something) are diagnosed with celiac disease (even though the other 4000 and something still have the condition).

    I was shocked.. i think everyone should be tested haha! :) Maybe then our governments would actually do something about the cost of the food!! lol

    (In the UK we don't get tax cuts on the gluten free food if we suffer with celiac!!!) Haha, you guys in the US have it lucky! :)

    Cool OK!! Sounds like a plan! :)

    Tappity Back lol!
    Sophie x

  14. Sophie

    Hi there! Yes, bummer about the lab. Not sure when I'll get the results now. By the end of March, hopefully. We shall see. ick.

    So good for you, going gluten free! Yeah, isn't that wild how many people have it, but don't know it. It's really fascinating. And I just know in my gut that even if it's not me, that you or someone, or many someones have Costo as a results of Celiac. I'm going to do a gluten post in the near future. Going to do a candida post as well. I'm a typing away!

    Tappity Tap, high kick, tap,

  15. Hey Lucy,

    I have my ECG today, and the doctor has given me an appointment a couple of hours after to go through it with me.
    My costo symptoms have almost vanished?!? I don't know whats going on... I get the random twinge in my ribs every now and then, But apart from that it's all clear?!

    However, I have new symptoms, (and I don't think they are related to costo, which is why I'm a little bit worried!!) ..

    I'm getting blue legs if I stand any more than about 5 minutes, (with red patches).. I get dizzy, my vision goes a bit funny and I get really light headed. But if I sit down, those symptoms go almost instantly....

    I haven't been to work in almost 2 weeks. I'm worried that my position there may disappear... :( I hope to God they find out what these ghastly symptoms are!

    PS - I LOVE the new layout! It looks awesome!! :)
    && How's the diet going btw? Are your symptoms getting any better? :[

    Tap back,
    Sophie :) x

  16. Sophie,

    May I just say I'm celebrating with you that your symptoms have almost vanished!! That is SO AWESOME!! Please please please keep me posted on that. one week gluten free???

    And MAJOR bummer to hear about the legs and dizziness and stuff. That is not cool at all, I'm so sorry you are having those symptoms. Sounds terrible. =(

    How did your doctor appt go? I'm going to maybe over step my bounds here, so forgive the boldness...but I'd totally venture to guess that the symptoms are related. However, that beign said- I'm no doctor =) And I really hope they aren't related so they can figure out what's causing these new symptoms as well. Eek.

    Thanks for the props about the new layout! I needed to change something in my the blog it was! lol.

    I so hope your job is still there- Hope this dr. you saw today is really helpful...

    The diet is going okay, I'm coming up on a month of Gluten free as of this Monday. My stabbing attacks are fewer and farther between, which has been a HUGE gift! I love it. My pain started to really subside on Monday, then Tuesday it came back with a vengeance. Ick. But I had a TERRIBLE UTI this week that I'm trying to heal from- gag. Feeling much better today. And my costo is better today than yesterday. So I guess I'm trying to say, I'm still waiting to see how this will play out. Not sure why a UTI would make my costo worse...maybe all the bracing from the pain- we shall see. Still hopeful....and on the healing hunt as

    Tap, Tap, High kick, Cart wheel, Tap,

  17. Hey Lucy,

    My ECG came back fine, there was no abnormalities! Which is great!! However, She does think they're linked (You should become a doc!! haha :]). She thinks I may have a connective tissue disorder, and so she's referred me to a rheumatologist.. who is going to make more blood (eeek!!) and look into it further. Because she found it odd that no inflammation or other abnormalities showed up on my first blood test. which is why she thinks is may be a connective tissue disorder. So rather than effecting my muscles and joints, it's effecting the tissues and cartilage stuff.. Haha, I'm sure I'll find out more about it. She said she's sending me down this route first, but she gave me the choice to see a cardiologist as well. But she thinks this route is more than likely going to pick more things up. She doubt's very much it's anything to do with my heart. I agree with this because of my costo. It has to be linked, otherwise why would it come up at the same time as these horrible costo episodes. I saw the same DR. but I made my mum come in with me... and she had a completely different attitude.. hmm! Lol! And she signed me off from work for 2 weeks.

    I'm really pleased you're getting some results from your diet. Maybe gluten and all of these other weird food ingredients (lol) just effect everyone's levels of inflammation or something. idk! lol it's odd though how it's helping us! Ouchhh UTI! that sucks! Hope that goes soon hon!! You will get answers, I'm sure of it. Your determination will benefit you. :)

    I did have something else to type.. But i've forgotten Grr!!! If I remember I'll add it later! lol :)

    Tap back :)
    Sophie x

    (PS - Thanks so much for listening to me waffle on!! lol)

  18. PS - That third sentence should say , the rheumatologist is going to "take" more blood.. LOL not make.. :) x

  19. Sophie,

    You know I love listening to you!! Thanks for listening to me too!!

    YAAAAy for a clear EKG- yes!!!

    So eek about the connective tissue disorder, but is sounds like you are really closing in on what is causing all of this. And for that- I'm SO EXCITED for you!! And I know you HATE giving blood, and I don't blame you at all!! will rock if the rheumy can help you nail down this whole thing. Sweet!

    And it's so true- docs are so different with a parent in the room. So weird, huh? So glad you had your mom with you,. Moms rock. And that's great that she signed you off of 2 more weeks of work. Maybe this will be just the time you need to heal and find out what's going on. good stuff!

    I'm having a better costo pain day today and the UTI is SO much better- yay!, so I'm really thankful! I bought the Candex that Angela is rocking it out on. Going to try it at some point...I may wait until I get my Celiac results first.

    Again, I'm so happy for you, I really think you are so onto the answer in your case!!

    Tappity, Tap, Leap Frog, Jazz hands, Tap,

  20. Hey Lucy,

    Yeah I'm glad I'm getting closer to the answers! I hope that you find some too! I'm glad that your costo and UTI is having a good day! Lets hope for all of us to have permanent days where it's all good!!!

    I just can't wait to be able to go out shopping and not have to worry about my legs going blue and being close to fainting... And with the spring weather here.. I want to be making the most of it and being able to go out!! I actually miss college!! Lol!

    You call it an EKG over there? lol cool! :) and I love how you guys spell 'Mom' ...

    oo whats candex?

    Tap back,
    Soph x :)

  21. Lol. I'm sure you do miss school. I remember when i was like "I miss 14 hour rehearsal days." haha!

    That's so funny, I was going to post yesterday that I love that you call her "mum!" haha!

    Angela is finding some relief with Cadex- helping her get rid of candida in her body and helping with the pain. It sounds like you are on a totally different path, but it's definately something to keep in the back pocket.

    Skim through the Costo and Candida post and you'll see a link to the Candex. Very Very Very happy for her!!

    And you are gunna nail this thing too!

    Tappity, Tap, back flip, Tap,

  22. Wow, this has been an enlightening blog. I have had costo for about three months, though my dr. has been treating me for high blood pressure instead and ignoring my comments on chest discomfort. Truth is, the blood pressure is being caused by anxiety related to the costo, at least I think. Ihe the original post, I cannot believe how many symptoms I have that are the same. I am over medicated on two blood pressure medicines, but when I went to the DR. on Monday, my bp was 136/68 with a pulse of 72. I told him that it is higher than when I am not at the dr. and I can feel it going up just driving to his office, I feel like my bp is getting too low at times and the pharmacist and my aunt who is an RN agree. He is now sending me to a cardiologist on Monday. I have had two EKG's, both perfect and two visits with the medics, both time they said I was not displaying anything cardiac but clearly panic/anxiety. I injured it mountain biking for 5 days in a row and laying on my side watching movies on my laptop on my bed (that is my guess anyhow). I am a 39 year old male, live and active healthy lifestyle (gym, hiking, mountain biking, running on treadmill, mountaineering) and right now I am feeling like I could have a heart attack or stroke at any moment due to the symptoms these meds and the costo are creating. This blog definitely has made me feel MUCH better and that there is really nothing wrong with my heart and that the costo is causing all of this. Now I just need to convince the cardiologist, though for peace of mind I would not mind a stress test and echocardogram. Then I need to get a dr. to treat me for the real source of all of this. Thanks again to all for sharing.

  23. Thanks for all the comments about costo..mine has flared up again really localised pain on and off since the start of really got me down today... i cried.....but thanks every one i will try the gluten free diet. yet like the penguins too

  24. I. LOVE. THIS. BLOG.

    Now that THATS out of the way - let me tell you what helps me.

    Green smoothies- lots of 'em. Fresh greens, wheatgrass cubes, water, some fruit.

    Switching to a Vegan diet with no oils. Ive been Vegan since Nov '10 and it has been the BEST thing for my Costo. Dont get me wrong - Id love a big plate of chili cheese fries. But, that is going to knock me on my butt so it just isnt worth it.

    Deep Tissue Massage/Rolfing. It hurts. Alot - but much much better afterwards

    Meditation. - an hour a day

    Living my life from a place of gratitude. I have lived the lst 5 years of my life in a haze of stress, grief, anxiety. Its gotten me here. Im learning to let go and just be. This is the hardest thing for me but Im doing it because if I dont I wont heal.

    Thank you SO much for this blog. Its wonderful!

  25. I have been dealing with costo for over 2 years now but I have found many things that help and certain parts of my diet that irritated the condition more. I try to stick with the most natural healing options possible. I haven't taken medication for anything in over 1 year.

    I've found that peppermint essential oil helps, it promotes relaxation of your body and mind. If you have anxiety like I did this will really help you.

    Soaking in hot baths with a lavender scent (or anything you find relaxing) I did lavender because it naturally helps promote sleep and relaxation while the warm bath does too. My costo seems to flare up more at night before bedtime so this helped alot.

    I completly cut out caffeine from my diet. No coffee, no sodas no nothing. Caffeine seemed to be one of the main instigators in my pain.

    Gluten. Cutting gluten out of your diet will help ALOT. It may seem hard at first because everything will feel like it has gluten in it, but it'll be much easier once you figure out the products at the store better.

    A heating rice pack for work. Before my costo was so bad I didn't think I would be able to work until I started applying my heating pack to where the pain was, it made the pain manageable and I was able to work and hold down a job.

    Not lifting anything over 5, ever.

    Yoga and meditation have helped immensly. Light stretching and doing it gently to your body will help loosen your chest muscles and make them not hurt so much. Right now your muscles are like a tight elastic band. Slight movement causes pain or is uncomfortable but once you stretch them out they're alot more accepting of movement and will help lessen the pain.

    No sudden movements.

    I avoid watching scary movies, it brings on anxiety which in turn brings on costo.

    I avoid the cold or being cold. Shivering and shaking causes my muscles to hurt and sends sharp pains in my body.

    Warm liquids helps relax my muscles inside out.

    Dedicate one hour to yourself for calm and peace.