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Costochondritis -- Tietze's Syndrome

What is the treatment of costochondritis?

By

Updated May 16, 2014

Costochondritis usually responds well to some simple treatment steps. It is helpful is the cause of costochondritis can be determined, and any activities that may have led to the inflammation can be avoided.
  • Rest
    In order to decrease the inflammation, you will have to avoid activities that cause pain and exacerbation of the costochondritis. Exercise, deep breathing, and strain on the muscles of the chest may worsen the symptoms of pain and slow the healing process. As a general rule of thumb, avoid or limit activities that worsen your symptoms.

  • Heat Applications
    Applying hot packs to the chest can be helpful in relieving symptoms of costochondritis. Apply heat several times each day, especially before activities that may irritate your symptoms. While ice application can hep with most conditions of inflammation, applying ice to the chest can be quite uncomfortable.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications
    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. Motrin, Advil) help with two aspects of costochondritis. First, they help decrease symptoms of pain making patients more comfortable. Second, these medications help to decrease inflammation, which is the primary problem. Check with your doctor before taking anti-inflammatory as they have potential side effects.

  • See Your Doctor
    While these symptoms usually improve within a few weeks, and resolve completely within a few months, there are patients in whom this problem persists for some time. See your doctor to ensure nothing more serious is going on. Occasionally, costochondritis will be treated with cortisone injections, but this must be discussed with your doctor.

Will the symptoms return?
Most of the time, the pain associated with costochondritis significantly improves within the first 4-8 weeks. While some pain may persist, it is usually mild and only associated with strenuous activity. All symptoms of pain should resolve within six months.

Costochondritis may return, but it is unlikely to do so. Having the condition once does not increase your chances of experiencing the symptoms again.

Sources:

Flowers, LK "Costochondritis" eMedicine. Aug 9, 2007.

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