How to Treat Costochondritis

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Costochondritis is basically a condition causing inflammation of the bones and cartilage of the chest wall, mainly in the area surrounding the sternum. The inflammation occurs at the cartilage connecting the rib bones to the sternum. Not all causes of costochondritis are known, but there are some key causes. One is from a car accident, where the individual's chest hits the steering wheel and the ribs and sternum are injured. A second cause is repeated overuse to the area in sports, such as in rowers. Sometimes an upper respiratory infection can cause costochondritis, especially from repetitive coughing during the illness. This article will explore methods for treating and dealing with costochondritis.

Things You'll Need

  • doctor visit
  • rest and relaxation
  • avoidance of use of chest area as much as possible
  • ibuprofen
  • optional: pain medication

If you have pain in the chest area, especially due to overuse in sports or a car accident, the first step is to get checked out by a doctor. If you were injured in a car accident, you may be taken to the hospital by ambulance. You will first want a doctor's examination to determine if you have costochondritis.

Tips & Warnings

  • It can be helpful to do some research on costochondritis and related conditions on your own, so that when you visit the doctor, you can ask more specific questions and help reach an accurate diagnosis.
  • Costochondritis needs relief from the overuse/ injury to the sternal area. Avoid any type of movement or exercise that will exacerbate the affected area.
  • Often, costochondritis is difficult to diagnose. This is because many physicians are not familiar with the condition, and there are other causes of chest pain that are hard to distinguish.
  • Misdiagnosis could come in the form of diagnosis of a chest muscle strain or sprain, or that the bones and cartilage are simply bruised.
  • You may have other problems associated with the area as well, so other things should also be checked out to provide proper care, such as a rib or sternal fracture and/or bruised bones and a strain or sprain.

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