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Costochondritis

(30 Posts)
mummymccar Sun 13-Nov-11 21:35:30

Bit of a long shot because it seems to be a rare condition but does anybody else out there have or has had costochondritis?
I've had it for 10 months now and have no light at the end of the tunnel. I can't take NSAIDS because my stomach lining is too thin and although I see my chiropractor regularly there is only so much he can do.
I'm so fed up of watching what I do/eat. I'm in agony and can't walk long distances, or do much at all. I had to give up work and I'm just so fed up.

If anybody out there has had it, how long did it last for you? What did you do to treat it?

TIA

Well, I've just been told I have it, but in my case its being blamed for every ailment under the sun, as if its a doctor's "get out of diagnosis free" card! I've been referred to a physio, I cannot imagine how it can help. Sorry to be negative, I'm not much use to you! Hope someone more sensible and informed comes along soon but in the meantime, can you tell me what your symptoms are?

notcitrus Sun 13-Nov-11 22:07:30

I had it for ages and kept being told there was a) do nothing, and b) try NSAIDs, and turns out I'm violently intolerant to diclofenac. You know something's intractable when you can't even find quack cures on the internet!

And then I saw a GP who said yes, there's three options. I said I'd have the third one. The option was to inject anitinflammatory directly into the rib joints. I came back a few days later, and he did five joints - you only feel a scratch on the skin as there's no nerve endings. It was a total miracle! As in previously I couldn't walk 100 yards without resting, and 10 mintues later I walked half a mile home!
He then did some more joints, some twice, on two other occasions.

The reason they're reluctant to do that is the risk of a punctured lung - the GP gave me his personal mobile number as well as strict instructions to call 999 and explain I had a punctured lung if I had any issues breathing over the next few days! I imagine though it should be feasible to have it done in hospital under supervision even if a GP is reluctant.

6 years later I get the odd bit of it when I get a cold or similar, and it's still there a bit as it hurts if someone presses a joint, but on the whole it's not a problem any more.

Hope that helps.

mummymccar Sun 13-Nov-11 22:28:33

Wow. I didn't expect any replies at all, let alone any so quickly! Thank you both for taking the time to reply, it's nice to know there are other people out there who've experienced it too.
Burning - There aren't really any symptoms other than pain in your ribs. It gets worse through exercising though and can be absolutely excruciating. I've been in A&E so many times this year because of it. My diagnosis took months because there is no test for it so they had to rule everything else out first. It comes in flare ups so sometimes you can go a few weeks with only a little pain and other times you can be screaming on a bed in A&E. Even things like opening a refrigerator door can cause flare ups. I can't even carry a light washing basket without having to rest.
Notcitrus - nobody has ever mentioned the injections to me before - thank you! I'm pregnant at the moment so I don't think they'll give me them until baby is here but after that I'm definitely going to look into it. I know what you mean about the walking. Before this I was walking 8 miles a day. Now I can hardly manage 100 metres without having to stop.

sazza76 Sun 13-Nov-11 23:42:18

I have it,i've had it 3 years since being pregnant. It did improve with steroid injections into the rib joints, this can only be done twice as it can cause damage, but did help me, you should ask to be reffered to a pain specialist who will be able to do this for you.

Fo0ffyShmooffer Sun 13-Nov-11 23:54:45

I have it it's been diagnosed about 2 years. It's less my ribs more upper chest muscles. First flare up I thought I was having a heart attack or an embolism and had trouble breathing. The only thing I have ever been offered is diclofenac but I suppose because of the fact that it mostly flares up when I am run down so not all the time they won't offer me anything else. I have Fibromyalgia they seem to flare at the same time.

Kewcumber Mon 14-Nov-11 00:00:45

I either have this or a rare type of arthritis - scan results are borderline. I too can;t take NSAIDS but luckily th epai is bearable and managed with paracetamol (was aslo offered steroid injections directly into my lumps but have opted not to have them unless it deteriorates rapidly again).

It was a good excuse to give up gardening though grin

Thats not much help though is it.

TheDetective Mon 14-Nov-11 00:09:55

I was diagnosed with this when I went to A&E as a fit 22 year old sad Now 27, and still have the odd flare up. I had one tonight, not had one in a year. First time it happened, I thought I was having a flippin' heart attack. It scared me silly. I literally can not catch my breath when it happens, the pain is so intense. Then I panic because I can't breathe. hmm

I can't see it improving much, only getting worse as the years go by. Luckily for me, when it does flare up, it doesn't last long. Minutes even. Not long enough for me to take painkillers even.

mummymccar Mon 14-Nov-11 08:08:22

Thank you so much to everyone that has replied again!
Just out of interest, how have you been able to work? Mine has been so bad all year that I had to give up work as a TA because after a few minutes is just be crying in pain. After my maternity period is up I'd love to be able to get back to work though so I'm curious as to what kind of jobs may be available to me.
So sorry that you've all be suffering for so long. It is such a nasty condition, fingers crossed they'll find something that'll cure it one day.

Well, if I do have it, its nothing like as bad as everyone here I am sorry to hear you are all suffering like that. My ribs only hurt if poked (by consultant during diagnosis). Now really, do you not think that most people would go "ow!!" if poked hard in the ribs whilst lying on an examining table?! My other symptoms are pain under left ribs that goes through to the upper back, pain in my groin that goes through to the lower back, and my whole abdomen is swollen both above and below the navel, including all round the ribs (so a like having a lifebouy round your waist!) I can do everything normally but I notice if I walk quickly I get breathless, its impossible to pick up DD2 (although she is 8 now!), and if anything touches my abdomen/ribs, even my own left arm slightly brushing my left ribs whilst I am typing this, it feels tender. So I don't seem to have typical symptoms, and I feel I was fobbed off by consultant.

But I am interested - Mummymccar - why did you say you have to watch what you eat?

Kewcumber Mon 14-Nov-11 12:23:22

bridges - my rheumatologist said that it can present in any number of ways, if I'm correct "Costochondritis" just means inflammation of the costal cartilage and can therefore have varying degrees of pain.

As a rule of thimb the lumpier it is teh more severe it is (and generally the more painful it is) but I even buck that trend as one side of my upper rib cage and collar bone are visibly enlarged [quasimodo emoticon] but the pain isn;t too bad as long as I lay of the carrying and gardening. To complicate things I have deterioration of the joints which may indicate that its actually arthitis but not enough to be absolutely clear.

I found topical anti-inflammatory gel very helpful if applied as frequently as allowed and I tolerated that pretty well unlike oral ones.

I have had it on and off for over 20 years now. I am allergic to all NSAIDs and paracetamol doesn';t touch it, so when I get a bout I am just laid low with it uintil it eases. I have been offered steroid injections too and I will be having them, but at the hospital.

mummymccar Mon 14-Nov-11 13:32:34

Burning - I agree with Kewcumber, it is inflammation so can present in different degrees of intensity. It certainly sounds like you have it to me.
I said about watching what I eat because of caffeine which they think makes it worse. I'm always just trying to make sure that I'm not consuming too much caffeine or too much in the way of processed foods. (I figure that if caffeine can have an impact it doesn't hurt to eat as much natural food as possible too)

Just back from my chiropractor who has said that it has definitely spread to my other side too, though not as bad as on my right. He made a few adjustments but said that there isn't much more he can do. Gutted.

This is really interesting for me. I have suffered with rib pain (both sides at front) for over a year and my GP once said it could be this.

It does come and go and it is never agonising enough that I am screaming in pain, but it is very sore. I always dismissed it because people had said how painful it is and that they can't move with it, yet like I say, mine wasn't as bad as that.

I switched to de-caf tea because i thought it could be related to my hernia. To cut a long story short, I ran out the last week and have been drinking normal tea. I had an awful flare up over the weekend and was in a lot of pain for a few hours at a time. It amazed me that you just mentioned caffeine making it worse mummycarr.

Can a chiropractor help with this? How do you get a definate diagnosis one way or the other to say you have it or not? My GP has been very vague about it all.

I only drin k decaf tea, never drink coffee or other drinks with caffine, and I still get it, so not related for me.

Elibean Mon 14-Nov-11 16:34:23

I have this - never been in agony with it, just very sore if pressed, and sometimes flares up so just painful/stiff.

First diagnosed by a breast specialist about ten years ago, because I thought it was breast pain. Its very confusing!

mummymccar Mon 14-Nov-11 16:57:10

Richtea - My chiropractor has helped quite a bit, I think it is definitely worth a visit. It took me 3 months of being in and out of hospital to get a diagnosis from my GP. If yours is being vague then it may be worth getting a second opinion.
Another question out of curiosity - what do you think triggered it for you all? I was working a physical job at the time so it could have been a hard knock but I also had awful food poisoning the week before so it could have been an infection in my case.

Piffle Mon 14-Nov-11 16:59:29

I'm having another attack of it now, not too bad just hurts when I press and when I breathe <helpful NOT>

I find mine pass after a few days, I did a lot of clearing and cleaning and sweeping and scrubbing the drive yesterday and I think that has caused it.

I have had it on and off for over a decade but it is getting more common now
I also cannot take diclofenac, I take over the counter pain relief and co codamol at night if it is really bad...

saggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 14-Nov-11 18:07:59

Ooo hello you lot.

My GP thinks I have this. I have pain under my left breast and just under my shoulder blade which I've put up with since the beginning of the summer. It's sore when it's pressed. Also when I lie on the left side I feel a bit breathless. Been for a chest x-ray this week to rule out anything lung related because of the breathlessness but he's pretty convinced it's costochondritis. I can run/walk no problem but anything like gardening or cleaning the bath sets it off. I think it's also being aggravated by my posture when I'm on the PC at work. I don't really get on with NSAIDs either so I'm taking co-codamol when I need to (though that makes me feel sick and bungs me up) and I'm using ibuprofen gel on my back.

mummymccar Mon 14-Nov-11 19:11:50

Sorry you are having another attack Piffle - hope your attack doesn't last too long.

Piffle Mon 14-Nov-11 20:19:29

Thanks x x
It's a pain as DH is in Tokyo and I can't take co codamol or diazepam without another adult here as they both make me unsteady and unable to walk in the morning sad
It is usually worse when I lay down so will experiment with Pillows to get comfy

Elibean Mon 14-Nov-11 20:47:03

Poor you, Piffle. I find lying down unhelpful too, which is so frustrating when in pain! Mine is definitely related to back/postural issues....and the CP doesn't help at all, nor does carrying small children (which thankfully I don't do much anymore, apart from lifting dd2 to the toilet in the evening).
Hope yours calms down soon!

I do seem to have some symptoms in common. Saggar I would be really interested if you could update when you get the x-ray results - when I lie on the left I feel very odd too.

Well done mummymccar for starting this thread, but sorry you had to ifyswim!

saggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 14-Nov-11 21:34:37

Will let you know BurningBridges. It'll be a couple of weeks I think unless there's something dreadful on it. Fingers crossed there isn't.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Fri 02-Dec-11 18:22:35

How is everyone doing? I'm in bloody agony today and am fed up of it.

I came back to check when I had my x-ray as I've got a brain like a sieve and from this thread it seems like it was 3 weeks today, so I'm going to ring next week to find out if there's anything amiss on it. I was really breathless at the beginning of the week but that seems to have passed off a bit.

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