Costochondritis in Fibromyalgia

costochondritisfibromyalgia

People with fibromyalgia are also susceptible to having pain in the chest, a condition known as Costochondritis. The chest pain can range from mild annoyance to excruciating pain described as being similar to a heart attack.

What is Costochondritis?

Costochondritis is basically an inflammation of the cartilage that links your ribs to the breast bone, also known as the costochondral junctions. Depending on the intensity of the inflammation, you can experience mild to extreme level of pain in the chest. The pain is often referred as burning or stabbing.

What causes costochondritis?

The exact cause(s) of costochondritis is not known however, the three most common reasons that lead to costochondritis are:

  • Viral infections related to upper respiratory
  • Chest trauma especially from car accidents
  • Frequent trauma conditions

What are the symptoms?

Chronic pain in the rib cage and the chest wall is the primary symptom. The pain can get worse with exercise and active life. In fact, any minor movement which activates the inflamed cartilage, such as deep breathing, sneezing or coughing, can increase pain. The pain can also move up towards your shoulders and down to your arms which is very similar during a heart attack. At times, swelling and redness are observed in the affected area and this condition is known as the Tietze’s syndrome.

What’s the link between Fibromyalgia and Costochondritis

It has been observed that people with fibromyalgia are more likely to suffer from symptoms that are very similar to costochondritis. However, it is not clear whether costochondritis is a symptom of fibromyalgia or result from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is not an inflammatory condition and hence is unlikely to cause the inflammation in the costochondral junctions. However, a theory suggest that the tender points in fibromyalgia which are located just beneath the collar bones may have a role in causing costochondritis but there are no definitive grounds.

How to diagnose Costochondritis?

Health care professionals can easily diagnose costochondritis by pressing on the joints where your breast bone connects to your ribs. If you feel soreness and tenderness when pressure is applied on the mentioned joint, you’re likely to have Costochondritis. In order to be sure that the chest pain is not caused by heart related issues, the doctor will also carry out several other tests before making a final diagnosis.

How is Costochondritis treated?

Like any other inflammation, costochondritis is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs like Motrin and Advil or ice treatment.

Before you begin with any anti-inflammatory treatment, it is recommended that you must consult your doctor so there are no complications involved. Living with both the disorders of fibromyalgia and costochondritis is tough as you will suffer from a combination of pain and inflammation. Seek medical treatment as soon as you notice the symptoms.

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