Costochondritis is the inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the sternum (breastbone). The pain experienced by the patient can range from mild to severe with it having a different feeling from person to person. One person can feel it similar to a heart attack, while others can say it feels like unusual electrical pain. There is no visible cause for costochondritis and treatment generally focuses on lowering the pain via ice/heat packs or medication. Costochondritis usually goes away on its own after a few weeks to possibly a year. No surgical procedure can be preformed unless the cartilages infected.
Symptoms of Costochondritis is most often a pain often on the left side just lateral (away from) to the sternum and affects more than one rib. The pain is commonly sharp and the pain increases when taking deep or even shallow breathes and coughs.
As stated before there rarely is a cause for Costochondritis, however, sometimes the illness can be caused by; physical strain or injury, arthritis, a joint infection or possibly but rarely a tumour. There is also an increased risk of Costochondritis in adolescents and young adults.
To diagnose the illness the doctor will most commonly order a variety of tests such as; X-rays and MRIs due to Costochondritis mimicking heart conditions. As there is no test that can determine the presence of Costochondritis these tests are the often route taken by doctors.
If needed there are a variety of treatment options available such as; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants or anti-seizure drugs (antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs have shown an ability to control chest pain).