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11-30-2012, 12:10 PM   #1
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Costochondritis/Chronic Pain

Hey all, I've been experiencing some chest wall pain for months now and it's getting gradually worse. Even months before my flare, I was constantly icing/heating my chest (left side of breast bone) and now that I'm flaring the pain is almost constant. I should mention that I used to golf a lot and do quite a bit of manual labor...(golf gets a bad rap, but it's pretty rough on the body)

I have no official DX, but I am seeing a rheumy soon to get some tests done. I have health anxiety as it is....so I am constantly thinking that it's my heart I'm 99% sure that it isn't, because i've never had issues with working out. If anything, the pain is at it's lowest after a long ride on my bike or stint on the elliptical.

It's not just the costo, it's pain everywhere my knees have always been shot but I'm used to it. My shoulder is constantly subluxating...I wake up with a numb arm at least 3 times a week.

Just wondering if anybody has experienced Costo or any of these other problems. Could it be fibro? Myofascial pain syndrome? I hate trying to diagnose myself, but all my doctors just shrug it off and don't even want to do any tests/take me seriously. They think I'm a healthy 22 year old with a bad colon, but I'm in legit pain daily.

It's now keeping me from doing things that I love to do....I feel like a 75 year old trapped in a 22 year olds body. 4 months ago I was doing 30 mile rides daily like it was nothing. Now I can barely ride 10 miles 2-3 times a week. Guess it's better than nothing.

Sorry for the rant, just looking for others that have experienced these types of extra intestinal manifestations with their IBD. I'm too young to feel crippled like this. Any input would be appreciated, and once again...sorry if I sound like a whiny little girl...I just miss feeling healthy.
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Diagnosed with Costochondritis December 2012

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Past (failed) Meds: Prednisone, Mesalamine, 6MP, Remicade, Flagyl, etc...all traditional western medicine has failed me time after time.
11-30-2012, 12:37 PM   #2
David
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I am diagnosed with costochondritis. It's miserable. When you press on your sternum, does the pain increase significantly?
11-30-2012, 01:37 PM   #3
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I am diagnosed with costochondritis. It's miserable. When you press on your sternum, does the pain increase significantly?
Yes I'm also extremely tender on the left side of the sternum where the costal cartilage meets the sternum.

I've slept on my chest forever and the pain seems to be worse in the morning. Hurts when I take a lot of deep breaths and it really hurts when I sneeze. Sitting down for long periods of time also increases the pain. When I'm just walking around, the pain decreases. My doctors just ignore me and say "it's soft tissue swelling".....Like I said in my OP, I'm gonna try to see a rheumy or somebody that can officially DX so I can stop worrying about what the pain may be.
11-30-2012, 01:49 PM   #4
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While it's not my place to diagnose you, your symptoms are EXACTLY like mine. But get seen by a doctor and there is other stuff they'd want to rule out. If it is costochondritis, here are a few tips:

1. When you sneeze, put your chin real close to your chest and your hand to your chest. This stops things hurting for me. I think it stabilizes something or takes the pressure off a specific area that is inflamed, I'm not sure. For awhile, I would actually feel something move when I'd sneeze. Kinda scary.

2. Exercise makes a HUGE difference for me. I use these and it has made a HUGE difference for me. If you do get them, let me know and I'll detail the exercises I do. If you only do one of these things, this is what I'd suggest.

3. I utilize prolotherapy. This is a (scientifically backed) procedure where they inject stuff into your painful areas to actually promote inflammation. It sucks for three days after but then the body goes, "Oh, I'm supposed to send stem cells to that area to help it heal, ok!" and does so. This has helped me a lot.

4. Dietary changes to lower overall inflammation in the body.

For about 6-9 months after I was diagnosed with costochondritis, I was so miserable. Life sucked. With the above, my CC is now a minor agitation most of the time, annoying some of the time, and gone on occasion. Life is pretty good again
11-30-2012, 02:09 PM   #5
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While it's not my place to diagnose you, your symptoms are EXACTLY like mine. But get seen by a doctor and there is other stuff they'd want to rule out. If it is costochondritis, here are a few tips:

1. When you sneeze, put your chin real close to your chest and your hand to your chest. This stops things hurting for me. I think it stabilizes something or takes the pressure off a specific area that is inflamed, I'm not sure. For awhile, I would actually feel something move when I'd sneeze. Kinda scary.

2. Exercise makes a HUGE difference for me. I use these and it has made a HUGE difference for me. If you do get them, let me know and I'll detail the exercises I do. If you only do one of these things, this is what I'd suggest.

3. I utilize prolotherapy. This is a (scientifically backed) procedure where they inject stuff into your painful areas to actually promote inflammation. It sucks for three days after but then the body goes, "Oh, I'm supposed to send stem cells to that area to help it heal, ok!" and does so. This has helped me a lot.

4. Dietary changes to lower overall inflammation in the body.

For about 6-9 months after I was diagnosed with costochondritis, I was so miserable. Life sucked. With the above, my CC is now a minor agitation most of the time, annoying some of the time, and gone on occasion. Life is pretty good again
Thank you so much for the reply, David

I will be looking into all of these recommendations. I've already started to alter my diet over the past few weeks (trying to figure out what works for me).

The part about feeling something move when you sneeze....I get that feeling too. It happens a lot when I turn my head/body, like when I look over my shoulder switching lanes in traffic. Some sort of weird popping/cracking sensation in my sternum....

I'll look into those black mountain products too. Exercise seems like it might exacerbate pain, but I'm usually in the least amount of pain after I exercise....I don't know if it's endorphins or what, but exercise makes me feel good. If I do invest in the products you recommended, i'm sure it would strengthen the area around where my pain is, or something of that nature. I'll be sure to PM you if I do decide to order those. (I'm 22 and low on cash lol but I trust your recommendation!)

Like you said, it may not be your place to diagnose me, but it makes me feel better knowing that my symptoms match yours. I blame my pain on a car wreck a few years ago, playing too much golf and 10 years of UC Thanks again
11-30-2012, 02:15 PM   #6
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I tell you what. PM me your address and I'll send you one of my resistant bands. I don't use them all anyway. You just have to promise to do the exercises 6x a week for two weeks

And for about 6 months, I literally couldn't turn my body to look over my right shoulder when backing up. I had to use my side view mirrors. I'm only now working to break that habit as I can turn now
11-30-2012, 02:26 PM   #7
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I tell you what. PM me your address and I'll send you one of my resistant bands. I don't use them all anyway. You just have to promise to do the exercises 6x a week for two weeks

And for about 6 months, I literally couldn't turn my body to look over my right shoulder when backing up. I had to use my side view mirrors. I'm only now working to break that habit as I can turn now
I really appreciate the offer David! But I think I can spare 30 bucks of my next paycheck so I can get the whole set That extra 30 bucks would probably just be wasted on going to some bad movies or something like that lol. I really do appreciate the offer though.

Little things like that make me love this forum even more.

If you could help me with the actual exercises that would be great though. I'm willing to try anything to feel better!

I get paid Monday....so I'll try to order them ASAP and I'll shoot you a PM.
11-30-2012, 02:28 PM   #8
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Seriously, save the $30.00 and enjoy the bad movie. If the exercises help, you'll need more bands in the future as you'll get stronger and stronger and can shell out the money then. It's just gathering dust in my closet so why not save the money and see if they even help?
11-30-2012, 02:32 PM   #9
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Seriously, save the $30.00 and enjoy the bad movie. If the exercises help, you'll need more bands in the future as you'll get stronger and stronger and can shell out the money then. It's just gathering dust in my closet so why not save the money and see if they even help?
Well if you insist! I can always buy the full set in the future.

I'll send you a PM with my address. Really appreciate it!
12-04-2012, 03:24 PM   #10
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Seeing my primary care doctor in 1 hour to try and get all this cleared up. Hope I can get some sort of real diagnosis today. Or at least some medicine to dull this horrid pain.

Hopefully they can rule out any heart issues because that's been giving me anxiety for weeks. I fit all the criteria for costochondritis but I need to know for sure. My anxiety is almost as bad as the pain.
12-04-2012, 08:18 PM   #11
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Saw my primary care today....as always, I had my typical white coat hypertension so my bp is high....my resting heart rate is typically 60-80 but at the doctor it's always 90-130.

Here is my BP at the pharmacy after I left the doctor



Anyways....they did an EKG first to see if my pain is heart related. I could feel my pulse racing as they were doing the test. The nurse left and said the doctor would be in shortly. My pulse was racing while I was waiting for the doctor.

She walks in and says "your EKG was abnormal with sinus tachycardia"

My heart sank immediately....she told me that a sinus tachycardia was just a high pulse rate but not an abnormal rhythm.

I then told her that I thought my pain was in the sternum area and was extremely tender to the touch. She felt my chest.....and confirmed my beliefs. She said all of my costal cartilage was very swollen/tender and that was causing my chest pains. A bit of anxiety lifted as she told me. Then she listened to my heart for about a minute and told me it sounded just fine.... and my abnormal reading was probably related to my anxiety (she knows I've been dealing with a lot in my personal life).

Still got a referral to a cardiologist and PT. I'm officially diagnosed with costochondritis, but I am still worried about my heart although my doctor tells me that she's not worried and seeing a cardiologist is a precautionary thing.

I know nobody is reading this lol but I'm just venting. I can't take NSAIDS because of my UC and prednisone doesn't work well for me. So I'm going to solve this with PT and rest....
12-04-2012, 08:35 PM   #12
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The resistance band should be there tomorrow or Thursday. PT begins soon
12-04-2012, 09:13 PM   #13
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I do not have the costochondritis, I have 2 slipped discs in my back and have done physical therapy for that for quite a long time. One thing that worked amazingly well for inflamation was "Dry needling" It is kind of like accupuncture but deeper and more painful. The benefits were amazing. It is not something that therapists can do in every state, but maybe you will get lucky and they can do it where you live. Good luck, hope you feel better soon.
12-04-2012, 09:35 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies

I'm just trying to calm myself down about the EKG results, but my doc assured me it was nothing to worry about....

edit: this is hours after my original post, but I should mention that my doc gave me tramadol for the pain. DO NOT TAKE THIS STUFF. I had no clue what it was before hand but the pain was so bad that I popped one immediately to dull the pain. Within 30 minutes I was in full blown panic attack mode. Threw up the pill and calmed myself down with some deep breathing...

Turns out tramadol is an SNRI....? Why would my doc give me an SNRI for pain? She knows I have anxiety to begin with, and SNRI's can cause anxiety in anxiety prone patients. I guess it works for some people. Left my doc a message saying that the pill caused an anxiety attack. I hate to ask for pain medication, but this costo is horrid....i've had zero problems with vicodin so hopefully she can prescribe me some for when the pain becomes unbearable. Tylenol is not cutting it It's been a rough night

Last edited by FullM3lt; 12-05-2012 at 12:46 AM.
12-06-2012, 11:57 PM   #15
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I decided a video would be the most efficient way to teach you the exercises I do. Do each one until your muscles are well fatigued. I hope they help!

12-07-2012, 01:27 PM   #16
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Awesome vid, David I will be starting those today!


In other news...since my EKG was abnormal at my original GP visit I saw a cardiologist this morning. Told him that my GP thought my pain was Costochondritis related and my abnormal EKG was anxiety related (I have bad white coat syndrome )

The doc told me that abnormal EKG's are actually pretty common in healthy people and not to worry....He listened to my heart for about 3 minutes while I was taking deep breaths and he said everything sounded very normal. He's the one with the PHD so I think I trust him! Still scheduled a stress test and echo for next week but he really thinks I'm fine so that makes me feel better.

He told me I could resume my normal workout regimen (which is quite light now due to this costo pain) but I'm at ease.
12-14-2012, 05:41 PM   #17
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I keep Costo... It's miserable...seems like just as it goes away, it comes back a few days later! I'm glad your EKG and everything came back good Hang in there!!!
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12-14-2012, 06:01 PM   #18
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I keep Costo... It's miserable...seems like just as it goes away, it comes back a few days later! I'm glad your EKG and everything came back good Hang in there!!!
Thanks Mendy

It is indeed miserable! I had to undergo a stress test and an echo yesterday to rule out heart problems and they both came back normal! I actually did over 20 minutes on my stress test before I got to my max heart rate My heart is very healthy...which takes away a lot of the chest pain anxiety. The pain is still very bad but I'm glad to know it's not my heart. Still confused as to why I have an abnormal ekg at rest but it's normal during exercise...but the cardiologist did not seem concerned at all.

I'm seeing my GP Monday to get a referral to a Rheumatologist. I can't take NSAIDS and I don't do well on prednisone....so I need to search for other options. I'm in too much pain to start any kind of PT so a heat pad and ice pack are my best friends for now!
12-14-2012, 07:13 PM   #19
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My son had an abnormal EKG last year...He was 9 at the time. He passed the stress test with flying colors as well...and they did say he has an adult athletic heart rate...so they have never found a reason for his chest pain. Odd huh?

I have a hernia which can actually feel like a heart attack. It was discovered on my upper gi...something to consider if you've never had one.

Take care and GOOD LUCK.....
12-15-2012, 12:02 AM   #20
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My son had an abnormal EKG last year...He was 9 at the time. He passed the stress test with flying colors as well...and they did say he has an adult athletic heart rate...so they have never found a reason for his chest pain. Odd huh?

I have a hernia which can actually feel like a heart attack. It was discovered on my upper gi...something to consider if you've never had one.

Take care and GOOD LUCK.....
I was told a lot of people are born with an abnormal ekg...seems pretty weird to me that my ekg is abnormal at rest and normal during exercise.

I'm looking into all possible scenarios, but my doctor could physically feel the swelling of my costal cartilage and it hurts very bad when I touch the junctions at the breastbone and the costochondral junction. Also simple things like turning my head to switch lanes in traffic causes a sharp pain in my sternum...

Guess I'll report back Monday after I talk to my doctor. Just glad that it's nothing wrong with my heart. This has been a lingering pain for quite a few months but it's been getting worse as of late, hopefully this is the "peak" of my pain and it will subside soon.
12-23-2012, 08:34 AM   #21
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OMG - after your reading this - you may have helped my situation. (I wish I had advice to help you with yours!!!) I have been told for years that my joint pain is from the Crohns - almost feels like a dismissal of my symptoms...like the doctors don't want to hear that I have yet another "complaint". But my feet, hands, neck and just recently my rib cage (left upper quandrant - sternum to under my ribs) has been killing me (I too, sleep on my stomach and have never felt this pain before two months ago. Had a barium CT Scan to make sure it wasn't my pancreas...they found gallstones, but said I should hurt on the other side if there was a problem. I have always been active, and try to even now with the Crohns. If I over do it, the pain in my joints becomes terrible and I run a fever....like my body is attacking itself. My recent blood work showed I was in a flare...and they dismissed the pain again. Thank you for your post. I may have somewhere to start!
12-23-2012, 11:15 AM   #22
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I also had abnormal EKG, if fact the anesthesiologist would not do my colonoscopy until I had and ECHO and stress test. Those cam back normal, however I would have this fullness in my chest. I could feel my skipped beats and I was symptomatic. Finally had a 48 hr holter monitor and the cardiologist could see that I was having them quite frequently and I was uncomfortable with it. He put me on atenalol 25mg per day. It has helped tremendously I still have a pvc here and there but does not last very long and I do not feel symptoms with it, so doing good. Good luck.
12-24-2012, 11:40 PM   #23
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I went to see a cardiologist for chest pain, and he ordered an ultra sound of my heart. When I went in they squirted this gel stuff on my chest, and started moving the probe around on my chest, and I almost went through the roof with the pain. I grabbed his hand and said there was no way we could complete the test due to the intense discomfort. The cardiologist came back in and diagnosed me with costrocondritis. Really uncomfortable to have at times!
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