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Costochondritis, or Tietze’s Syndrome: My Story

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I had my first Tietze's syndrome attack at the age of seven, but I wasn't diagnosed until my early teens.

Various theories have been tossed around as to what causes Tietze's syndrome, which was first described in 1921.

Various theories have been tossed around as to what causes Tietze's syndrome, which was first described in 1921.

What Is Costochondritis, or Tietze's Syndrome?

Although it was described first by German surgeon Alexander Tietze in 1921, doctors today still know very little about the syndrome.

Up until very recently, it was believed there were two forms of the syndrome: costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome. Both diagnoses were based upon the same symptoms: benign inflammation of the costal cartilage at the junction of the rib bone and sternum. Doctors believed the difference was the degree of swelling of the costal cartilages. Now they are recognized as the same condition—and the swelling simply represents the severity of the condition.

Various theories have been tossed around as to what causes Tietze's syndrome. Trauma to the sternum, such as a car accident, can be a cause. Another theory is micro-traumas to the cartilage, building up repeated damages and leading to the syndrome's appearance. Some patients develop this condition after surgical procedures when the ribs are cracked. The condition might also be brought on by upper respiratory infections. Because there is no single cause, it is harder to pinpoint what brings this condition to manifest in a patient.

Signs & Symptoms: Some Things to Look Out For

  • Significant, acute pain in the chest (sometimes mimics pain associated with a heart attack)
  • Tenderness and some swelling of the cartilages
  • Pain is exacerbated (made worse) with respiration (breathing)
  • Pain radiating to the arms and shoulders (usually only with Tietze syndrome)
  • Slight swelling and/or heat over the affected area (present only in severe cases)
Benign inflammation of the costal cartilage at the junction of the rib bone and sternum is the defining symptom of Tietze's Syndrome.

Benign inflammation of the costal cartilage at the junction of the rib bone and sternum is the defining symptom of Tietze's Syndrome.

Diagnosing Costochondritis

Diagnosing Tietze's syndrome can be difficult. Some patients present with tenderness and localized swelling over the ribs and cartilage surrounding the sternum. Usually, this pain has persisted for several days or weeks, sending the patient in to have it checked. Most doctors, up until recently, were unfamiliar with the condition and therefore ran batteries of tests to rule out other problems. Other patients have an episode so severe, one with a level of pain that mimics cardiac problems, that they are diagnosed with this condition after the fact. Other forms of diagnosis are blood tests for inflammation levels, although usually, the level of inflammation isn't severe enough to indicate Tietze's syndrome. CT contrast scans check for wear and tear on the costal cartilage, but usually, there is not enough to point to this diagnosis.

Most patients have small episodes of moderate pain that last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. The pain is usually worse upon waking up or lying down to sleep. More severe symptoms can last up to a few weeks or more. The standard treatment includes heat and cold packs placed along the sternum, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or prescribed medications such as muscle relaxants. In the majority of cases, the symptoms lessen and sometimes disappear over time.

Treatment Options: Some of the Ways to Relieve the Pain

  • Lots and lots of rest
  • Heat and/or Ice on the affected area
  • Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce inflammation in the costals
  • OTC (over-the-counter) pain medications
  • Physical therapy and ultrasound treatment
  • Small cortisone injections to reduce inflammation in the costals (only in severe cases)
It is difficult to diagnose Tietze's Syndrome because even many medical practitioners are unfamiliar with it.

It is difficult to diagnose Tietze's Syndrome because even many medical practitioners are unfamiliar with it.

Chronic Pain

A handful of patients fall into the chronic Tietze's syndrome category. The pain becomes so severe it reaches a level of debilitation. It's enough to make a patient believe they have cardiac problems or are even having a heart attack. The pain lasts for months and can be set off by the slightest of movements, even shallow breaths. When it reaches this level, the patient usually sees a rheumatologist who gives them injections of cortisone to the costal spaces to lessen the inflammation to a tolerable level. Sometimes a patient may receive up to four injects a visit, and there is no guarantee how long the relief will last.

My first episode was around the age of seven and the pain was so severe, as though someone had smacked the center of my chest with a rock, that there were no words to describe it.

My first episode was around the age of seven and the pain was so severe, as though someone had smacked the center of my chest with a rock, that there were no words to describe it.

Two Decades with Tietze's Syndrome: My Story

I have suffered with Tietze's syndrome for over twenty years. My first episode was around the age of seven and the pain was so severe, as though someone had smacked the center of my chest with a rock, that there were no words to describe it. My grandmother found me laying on the floor of her living room, completely gray in color, and was terrified that I might be having a heart attack. I continued to have attacks, sporadically and usually triggered by stress. I can remember attacks that left me gasping for breath, pacing the kitchen nearly in tears from the pain. Every doctor I saw had no idea what could be causing these attacks. It wasn't until my early teens that a physician filling in for my regular doctor took an interest in my complaints. A little research brought her to the conclusion that I indeed had costochondritis.

Unfortunately, few people in the medical community in my area knew about it and there was little they could tell me to do to relieve the pain. I tried the standard treatments of anti-inflammatory medication, heating pads and ice packs. The crushing pain continued to plague me.

Finally I managed to find a rheumatologist who knew what I had and said he might be able to help me. Four small shots of cortisone later, around the age of 20, I went nearly pain-free for three years. You don't realize how you take breathing for granted until you can't, at least not properly, and feel as if an elephant is sitting directly on your sternum 24/7. In the more recent past, I've had to have shots several times a year, usually after prolonged periods of stress that bring on attacks. During a particularly horrible episode that lasted three months, I literally thought I was having a prolonged heart attack. What is not mentioned in most information on Tietze's syndrome is that it also mimics a particularly strong panic attack. For people who do suffer panic attacks, this can be very confusing. A contrast CT scan revealed I do not have signs of structural wear on my cartilage but only time will tell on that one.

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For as common as this syndrome appears to be, or is becoming, very few people ever realize they have it. I have spent time arguing with my rheumatologist over exactly what I have; while he believes I do have the condition, getting him to understand the severity has taken many years. Up until recently when it was decided Tietze's syndrome and costochondritis were one in the same, I realized I had the more severe form as I have the swelling and the skin over my rib cage radiates heat constantly.

For now, I've learned to take it day-by-day and deal with the pain, as well as try to take preventative measures to lessen the inflammation.

Update: After a particularly bad flare-up, my doctor now believes I not only have costochondritis, but nerve damage as well. This seems to explain some of the symptoms as well as sharper pains I experience that are not explained by the costochondritis. In the future, I hope to see a neurologist to explore the issue and hopefully find a way to manage/treat my pain.

More Information on Costochondritis

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2009 missbat

Share Your Story in a Comment!

Nishaan Salaam on July 12, 2019:

I was diagnosed last year. I feel like I am having a mini heart attack everyday. It is so painful and yes stress aggravates it even more. The pain has become so severe that the rest of my day is unbearable. I feel nauseous every morning and completely dizzy and then the sharp pain comes right on my heart and I cannot move I just feel like removing this area of pain. It is terrible I cannot run and play with the kids lay down but I cannot take pain killers either as there is now protein in my kidneys. So I highly doubt a happy life in the future or present but god is by my side inshallah ameen.

Ashley on June 05, 2019:

I have had tietze for 6 months, I had mri, constraint scans, multiple visits to the emergency ward because I felt like I was having a heart attack. .All the doctors kept telling me I was just stressed and to relax and it would go away. No one believed how server the pain was and I was unable to work or even get out of bed and then I stumbled across a doctor online that recommend the BACK POD it cost around $100 and I can honestly say it has helped me soo much I have been off pain relief and haven’t had any major attacks. Do yourself a favor and just try it. Check out the reviews on YouTube I did and I don’t look back

Nurhanisah on February 22, 2015:

I have had an endoscopy i have LA grade c egpisitots i currently take 40 mg nexium in the morningg followed by zegerid 40 mg at night it does a little to help my reflux i have been on all the ppi's . We discussed him doing a Nissen fundoplication but his feelings are that if P.P.I'S fail to improve the reflux. The surgery would be pointless. I have a normal Ekg, neg chest X-ray's . My pain is bi-lat sternum to nipple line across. From below my clavicle to the floating ribs following the coastal cartilage. I know that these symptoms do not present as normal Tietze. Palpating the ribs do not seem to reproduce the pain but if my sternum is pressed with force i feel the pain radiate.Espogilty motility disorder is what the gi doctor figured it was and prescribed amytipiline for the dysphasia. It did not help my chest on a side note if did help any lower gi issues. Also this may seem interesting but 1mg of klonopin seems to ease the shortness of breath. When i rotate my upper body i feel the pain in my ribs exercise makes the pain worse. I am currently taking 40mg nexium 40mg zegerid 0.5 1.0 mg klonpin and 2400mg of ibuprofen daily. What tests should i be asking for i do not know. The (esr) and (crp) tests seemed to be a good start i have been fighting doctors on the fact that the problem is not somatic. Cleared by a psychotherapist and a psychiatrist i have mild hypomania and anxiety secondary to chronic pain. I hope this expands my problems a bit more. I feel that is some one sees this they might save a lot of pain and time. Sorry for spelling error's med. lingo is hard

Pricey81 on April 21, 2014:

My name is Michael age 32 And I have had Costochondritis for 3 years. I did this at work laying bricks. For the first year and half due to my symptoms of major headaches and a feeling of aura and dizziness I was sent for head scans MRI's and CT's. It wasn't until I went to see a Rheumatologist that they diagnosed me with this. The doctor gave me a cortisone injection in the chest and it changed my life back to normal,I now have to go back every 3 month for an injection. The last one I had lasted 5 month so hopefully things are getting better. I am ready for one now,the headache and dizziness is back and my chest is killing me.

daniel from Adelaide on February 19, 2014:

I myself have this, mine is chronic too.

It's such a horrible condition.

Debbie- on November 28, 2013:

I had injections 3 days ago, cortisone in the chest and a block in the upper back. I did this through the pain clinic. I have a bit of muscle ache in my left shoulder blade and arm, could be from the stretching I was told to do. I hope this is the answer after 21/2 yrs. I have appointments for the next 7 weeks, more shots. Off the anti inflammatories. I am still on 25mg of Amytriptaline every night. I am hoping to slowly stop that next week. The Dr thinks this could have started with a virus!?!?!?

Debbie- on November 24, 2013:

@anonymous: Steph, are you still better from your shots? I am now at a pain clinic and I am having shots for the first time tomorrow. I am wondering how you are doing:)

anonymous on July 19, 2013:

@Spring17: I have Hip Dysplasia, Tietzes is horrible for me. My pain tolerance is high! I am miserable with this. If I go 3 days with no antiinflammatory I can't move. I would rather stick pins in my eyes that have this. I ate organic, have no medical issues physical or mental. If you have this and you only take ASA's sometimes I want to hear from you. If you have had cortisone and it worked long term, I want to hear from you. I have had this continuously for 2 years and work in a hospital. I have health carefree. I am getting nowhere with this.... Solutions please, from people who suffer from this. Aggressive and super sick of this. I ate organic. I exercised, I am thin and was healthy. Any info that is helpful is appreciated

Spring17 on June 02, 2013:

Recently did some more research into it, and for the same thing in the knee (osteochondritis) they are normally advised to take glucosamine sulphate. It helps a lot. I have been taking them, but haven't really worked. So I'm going to double the dose, and see how it goes. Please feel free to ask any questions if need be, you can message me at any point!

missbat (author) on May 24, 2013:

@Debbie-: Shots can relieve the pain and/or make it manageable. I had several sets of shots during 2012, the last set being in late Fall / early Winter. I have not had any since, although I am not entirely "pain-free". As pain tolerance varies from person to person, I would highly suggest finding a rheumatologist who is A) very familiar with Costochondritis, and B) is willing to work with you to create a treatment plan that includes shots. Do not be discouraged if you receive shots and they do not work right away; it takes time for the inflammation to decrease, particularly when you've never had shots before. You made need several rounds before you see improvement. I wish you luck!

Debbie- on May 24, 2013:

@anonymous: Are you still pain free from the shots? I am considering shots after 2 years of constant pain.

anonymous on February 16, 2013:

Has anyone with Tietzes tried Amytriptaline (Elavil), low dose for chronic pain?

Debbie- on January 15, 2013:

@anonymous: I would love to hear an update from you. I have posted here and was told cortisone injection was not worth doing. Please post with any update regarding the duration of the relief you are feeling. Thank you for the information, this is a very frustrating and painful thing, it's nice to hear good news.

anonymous on January 12, 2013:

@anonymous: Hi, I have this too and after an episode that didn't finish for 7 months I had shots done and it was sooooo.. worth it! If it comes back when the shots wear off I'm definitely going back for more. I almost hugged the doctor as soon as the anesthetic kicked in. It still hurts a bit but I feel like a new person. Hope you're okay soon! x

victoria-louise-378 on November 12, 2012:

@anonymous: For last 10 year I been in hell from chest pain all this years they did nothing but but heart test one after another I hade anixty over it panics just till now last weak hade heart cath it whose clear for the 4 time in ten years now I,m in pain with Costochondritis daily

anonymous on November 05, 2012:

My 8 yr old daughter is complaining bout the same symptoms she has also complained bout her neck hurting also. I was thinking of taking her to the immediate care any thoughts

anonymous on October 29, 2012:

hi, i really appreciate this site and the stories shared here. i just got diagnosed 3 days ago after having bronchitis for the first time. i never heard of this and never felt such pain. im 27yrs old and i hope this heals on its own without having to get shots. thanks again for sharing

anonymous on October 25, 2012:

I developed my costochondritis in my 6th and 7th right anterior ribs after a horrible episode of bronchitis. I was fortunate that my doctor diagnosed it right away. He gave me pain meds which unfortunately make me nauseous so I have gone back to just taking ibuprofin. That seems to help me the best along with resting (and no coughing if I can help it).

anonymous on October 16, 2012:

My heart goes out to everyone who has this and the plight taken with doctors/specialists who don't or won't listen. It is maddening and you wonder about so many of them that have closed minds, my guess is because they can't help us. I am only going on three months of this pain that is destroying my life and have experienced the drugs, the p/t, ice/heat, etc, which medicare says I must go thru (of course pay for on my measly social security), before they will approve a chest MRI. Now I see that will be useless as well. Thank you for the tip, which would be another $100 out of my pocket. I am so frustrated and against my beliefs am considering a faith healer but am not quite there yet.

Debbie- on October 04, 2012:

Well the end result of my Tietzes journey has arrived. I met with the orthopedic surgeon that has been helping me to inquire about cortisone injections. He consulted with the Thoracic surgeon that I saw. They decided that the risk of infection was not worth the short term results cortisone would offer, they also said there is no cure for Tietzes. I will try some more natural products with some hope of good results.

anonymous on September 20, 2012:

Thank you so much for sharing this information. I was first diagnosed with costochondritis is 2009 after having a really bad cough/suspected chest infection. I was given anti-inflams which didn't seem to be of any help and I always have some sort of pain. Over the years there has been occasions where it is completely unbearable and all I want to do is cry and no matter how many times I go to my GP I feel like I'm being fobbed off with meds that don't work. I'm currently waiting on a referral to see a rhuematoligst for th second time to see if I have got fibromyalgia which costochondritis is a symptom of. Although I've been waiting since April so fingers crossed I get an appointment soon. Sorry for th rant! Thanks again for sharing you experience with us :)

getmoreinfo on September 08, 2012:

Thanks for sharing this information because I know it will be of use for those who are suffering or going through this type of syndrome.

anonymous on September 07, 2012:

How good it is to find more people that have the same as me my diagnoesd some time go but when i moved to a new hospitalthey keep looking at my back

but i tell them at the pain is in my chest they look at me as if i do not know where the pain is as i get pain when i lay down to sleep and i wake up in pain every night i can not play wiyh my kids as it hurts like hell and when i drive it hurts like hell my wife has heard me wakeing up in so mush pain i olny get one to two hours of sleep every night i end up sat in my chair to sleep

anonymous on September 06, 2012:

@anonymous: I think my girlfriend may have this... she is prone to sudden fits of severe chest pain that reminds me a lot of a panic attack... uncontrollable crying, breathing problems, hoarse coughing fits, etc. We don't know what's wrong, was wondering if you could give us any advice.

anonymous on September 03, 2012:

Oh my gosh!!!! I have had this for a few years now, and I was only diagnosed when I ASKED if I might have this. Upon my first complaints a few years ago, I was sent to a cardiologist who immediately thought I needed a heart cath. After undergoing through THAT, they found my heart to be fine. The issue was just dropped. Later when I complained about this, doctors all blamed anxiety, panic attacks, esophageal spasms, or heart burn. I am treated for those things. When I have an attack, non of the treatments helped. Lastly, upon hearing my complaints, my Gastro doctor had an MRI on my lungs. They found a spot on my lung that they thought was cancer. It turned out to be Histoplasmosis. Now, a friend told me about Costochondritis. Yep!! I thought that was it! I talked to my doctor, and he says PT will help. Thank God I have a PT Appt tomorrow. The stress over having family here for the holidays has caused me to have a flare. Two pain pills, heat, and double anti-inflammatories later, and I might be able to sleep with my sleep aids. Any ideas? I already take a truckload of meds.

Spring17 on August 27, 2012:

I have had costochondritis for just over a year now, and have been researching this ever since I found out what it was, back in April. After a process of elimination, everything was off the list. It's not about stress, it's not about exercise. All they do is just aggravate it. I got into a huge depression about all this, not knowing how to manage it. And after ages of researching all methods of different things, I was left empty handed.

Anyway, I recently discovered that it may be something to do with hormones. After watching a TV show, I thought about what I am, and what may help. Because I'm a teenager, and have been going through puberty, I know what hormones are like. Find a way to help your hormones, whether that's releasing them, or getting tablets to help them, then it'll reduce your stress by miles, which will stop your pains from being aggravated, thus reducing the pain, and the muscle tensing, and will allow you to get into exercise slowly, and control the costochondritis easier.

That is only a theory of mine. If it doesn't work, then I'm sorry... But it has helped me a lot in the past, and thought I'd share. I hope all the people who suffer, get better soon. I know how bad it can be, and it's had me in bed all day quite a few times. I will clarify that it's not completely gone yet, but it has reduced a lot of the pain, and I have only figured this out over the past couple of days, so am in the course of trying it still. But I wanted to share this with you. Best of luck to all.

anonymous on August 26, 2012:

I've had costo for over 20 years and it's been hellish at times. No one believed me about the pain, so I wasn't diagnosed until college. I've had severe attacks that lasted for days and not even cortisone shots helped - I did find, however, that a 10 day steroid pack helps. I have it every single day, though it's usually mild lately and luckily haven't had a severe (crying & panicking) attack in at least a year now. I think it may be due to my exercising more - I started doing Zumba on the Wii and maybe it's just coincidence, but everything has improved for me, including the costo.

Most people have no idea what this is, so it's a relief to hear other people's stories. I couldn't even get my own mom to believe me, in fact we were on a cruise in 2008 and I had a bad attack at breakfast - she was embarrassed that I was suddenly crying, hyperventilating and making a scene. It wasn't until 2010 that my little sister (who is 19 years younger than me) had an attack at school and they diagnosed HER with it! Now my mom believes. "Gee, thanks mom." So after all these years at least some of my family is finally taking this seriously.

Anyway - if anyone else ever needs to talk, please feel free to contact me. It's so isolating and I love talking to people who actually understand.

anonymous on August 26, 2012:

All I can say is pray. Y'all not kidding about this pain: at times it is downright unbearable. I was diagnosed early 2012, and was so sure I was having a heart attack or pulmonary embolism. (I am on Coumadin for blood clots in my leg and thought perhaps the clots were moving.) But no, I get this diagnosis after being in the ER for 12 hours and I am sent home with no prescriptions and the belief I will feel better soon. It did dissipate, for a few months, but after suffering with Bronchitis this summer, the pain returned, in more duration and severity, and plus a lump on my breastbone to boot. Symptoms have not subsided in over three months, and the pain has brought on nausea and debilitating migraines that are blinding. Of course, this is all on top of my being in a car accident, in which I sustained trauma to my chest, and a collarbone fracture when I fell down the stairs. I believe those 2 events triggered the costo as well as my Fibromyalgia, for which i am now in a wheelchair for. All of these painful diseases, plus I have Peptic Ulcer Disease, so I cannot eat anything but a full liquid diet and the real kicker--I was born with a rare disease called Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome (dare you to Google that one, it's a doozy!) Basically my entire colon is filled with bleeding tumors, called hemangiomas, and every day I have severe bloody diarrhea. I have had 8 colonoscopies, and more than 20 surgeries on my right leg to correct my varicose veins and unending pain. All this before I was 25 years old! But I am now 31, today, as a matter of fact, and the doctor said on my 1st birthday I would not live to be 2. I have surpassed that. I was warned, do not have children, childbirth and bloodloss will kill you. It almost did, but not until I brought daughters Adrienne and Charlotte into this world, now aged 9 and 15 months.

The last er doctor I saw said there is no medical explanation as to how I have survived: have lost so much blood due to GI bleeds, have had more than 15 blood clots found, but never went to my lungs or brain, and even now the Mayo Clinic, famous motherload of all hospitals, is denying me access to their services, as I am "beyond medical assistance or expertise." I am in severe pain all day, every day, and only sleep if I take strong sleep aids, like Ambien. I take Percocet for my pain, but drastically cut back as it continuously gave me bowel obstructions (narcotics are so constipating). And also I am allergic to a lot of antidepressants, antibiotics, and muscle relaxants, which all claim to help with pain.

Jesus Christ is my only relief. Through reading His Word, I am comforted, by marrying a godly man I gained a kind helpmate who holds my hand when I cry, holds the baby so i can sleep, or holds my hair as i am puking. And he's handsome too! But mostly as a direct result of prayer, not mine always, but the well wishes and warm thoughts sent heavenward by others, have extended my life past 1982, and i truly believe that. Keep the faith, hold onto hope in your heart, and maybe it will help to remember a lady from WV whom you might never meet in this life is praying for you, right now, in this moment, and asking He'll give you relief from your pain. Hang in there, friends. :)

Debbie- on July 20, 2012:

I had my root canal pulled 3 weeks ago, I am glad I had it pulled but it did not cure the pain in my chest and arms. So I carry on with the Tietzes Syndrome. I really thought the root canal was the problem as it all started 2 months after I had it done. Although the biopsy of the area of the root canal showed inflammation and root canal cement in the tissue, it was not the answer to this health issue. I am on the Meloxicam twice a day, this helps with the severe pain, but I still have muscle pain that seems to move from one side to the other including the arms and shoulder blades. The thoracic surgeon I was referred to in March felt the Tietzes should resolve after 6 weeks of anti inflammatories. I am going to have the orthopedic surgeon that I see refer me back to the thoracic surgeon as this was not the case to see what he says. I still have no other health issues and I feel well with exception to the mental drain of pain, I also hate taking medication, but i am thankful that it helps. The other frustrating part, I work in a hospital, doctors are easy to see, but still no real answers or solutions. I have seen a family doctor, an internist, a rheumatologist, an orthopedic surgeon and a thoracic surgeon. This just seems unbelievable that you just wake up one day with unbelievable chest pain, and it does not go away, wow 13 months later. I also tried the calcium orotate with no luck, i took it for 1 month. I have also detoxed through diet, tablets and sauna, the heat helps in the sauna but also no solution. I eat a healthy mostly organic diet and am mindful of inflammatory foods. I feel like i have tried everything possible with no resolve, it is just really hard to admit defeat and accept this. I just want to get back to my spin class, get back on my bike and do some hiking, backpacking and camping. If anyone has any suggestions please post.

anonymous on July 10, 2012:

i have had pain in the bottom of my sternum since the day after boxing day , it clicks and and the parts where the end of the sternum join my ribs hurt and click too , its becoming worse lately . my doc says this is Costochondritis , does anyone else have these symptons

anonymous on July 05, 2012:

@Debbie-: Did the calcium orotate ever help?

anonymous on July 03, 2012:

I have had Tietzes/Costochondritis for many years with very degrees of pain, from being mildly uncomfortable to being excruciating with every breath, with the added pains in my arms depending on which side flares up, sometimes it could be both sides of the sternum. Medication I currently take is Celecoxib, Tramadol, Dihydrocodiene and Diazepam. On my severe days I can take as many as 20 tablets per day and still the pain does not go away. I also suffer from severe Ankylosing Spondilitis and Osteoarthritis. When all of these flare up at the same time it feels like my entire body is in more pain than anyone should be able to bear. To answer Debbies question, the Tietzes does go away but it never goes permanently, a sneeze, cough or just plain old movement can set it off again. The secret to dealing with this pain is to be bloddy minded and stubborn and don't let it beat you. I have been suffering with these deseases since I was 3 years old, I was told I would be in a wheelchair by the age of 30, I am now 45 and no chair, I am in full time employment and fitter than most of the guys I work with, this is despite half of my spine being fused together, fused to my pelvis, I need double hip replacement, shoulders, knees and wrists, more recently my elbows have started too. Just be strong in your mind and don't let these things get you down, I will not let these deseases beat me !!!!

anonymous on May 26, 2012:

@anonymous: My pain has gone away. My chest pain got progressively worse over a few months. I had a cardiac cath, upper GI, and other tests - all clean. Then I developed fatigue, mental fog, and other symptoms. Turns out I had Lyme disease. Over the next month, I went on Antibiotics, had steroid injections into my coastal cartilage, and started taking Cymbalta. The pain disappeared. The steroids had some immediate effect, but my guess is the Lyme was the real culprit and the antibiotics did the trick. I doubt this is the case for most people on the forum, but something worth looking into.

anonymous on May 25, 2012:

I have now been off anti inflammatories for 9 days, after 9 weeks of them. I have been taking Calcium Orotate for just over 1 month. No luck, today I could hardly move without excruciating pain. Now what????? I have purchased Zyflamed to try, but at the moment I am taking Tylenol #3 and Meloxicam as it is so bad I have no choice. I am now considering having my root canal removed, as that is what started this ball rolling. I was hoping to report something positive as my 9 week stint on meds also included being off work. 12 months of this, no end in sight. Is there anyone out there with Tietzes, that has actually had it go away permanently?

anonymous on May 09, 2012:

@anonymous: I haven't been able to consistently take calcium orotate as I still have to take Prilosec. I will try once I can stop taking prilosec.

Debbie- on May 02, 2012:

@anonymous: Is the pain worse when you move your upper body or when you lie down? Did you take anti-inflammatories for the costo and did it help? When it is difficult to breath you can get anxious, that is normal. Have you looked up

Tietzes Syndrome symptoms and do you have any of them? I have had Tietzes for 11 months now, I was first diagnosed with pleurisy then possible secondary bone cancer after an MRI showed a lesion on my sternum. A

Thoracic Surgeon diagnosed me with Tietzes, said I was a classic case, chest wall pain, sometimes in my arms and shoulders. I couldn't lie down and it hurt to push on my sternum area specifically the second joint on my left side between breasts. The Dr pushed on the joint and the pain shot through to my back. You could check out a video on You Tube by a guy named Scott who has Tietzes, it is very informative and sort of reassuring as this can be a Chronic thing. If you are not happy with your Dr, go to someone else! I am not a medical professional, i am just offering my experience. I am now taking an anti-inflammatory and i am also taking

calcium orotate. I feel much better, i was advised to take the anti-inflammatory for 6 weeks then advil for 3 weeks. I am hoping for a permanent fix! Good luck and I hope you get relief.

anonymous on May 02, 2012:

@anonymous: i too get the feeling of not being able to get a breath in, and when i do get a deep breath in my chest wall cracks, very unpleasant. i'v had it for nearly 5 years and still haven't found an effective treatment, its just one of these things that doctors don't understand, i have found a rather good dr who has a lot to do with alternative therapy, and believe it or not, to put pressure where you have a lot of pain can relieve it for awhile, heat packs will help to.

anonymous on May 02, 2012:

I was diagnosed with Costochondritis about 7 months ago, and is very severe. I constantly have chest tightness, where I feel like I can't take a nice deep breathe, does anyone else experience tightness? Hurts really bad to touch my chest,especially my sternum! Currently I go for acupunture sessions. I feel like doctors don't understand how painful it is, and the first thing they say is all ANXIETY!! and are quick to prescribe anxiety medication. I need help, don't know what to do anymore or what to try :( any advise will be appreciated

anonymous on April 24, 2012:

@anonymous: Care to share? :)

anonymous on April 23, 2012:

@Debbie-: i have always slept on my stomach with one hand crossed on one side of my chest so i guess when i am sleeping the right side of my ribs moves freely but the other is restricted (they are meant to move equally) so this maybe causes the inflammation n my rib cartilage which brought about costochondritis. ive had it for ages but only just found ou what it is when saw a GP because

i got a savere 1-hour sharp pains

anonymous on April 23, 2012:

i just found out the pain i've been having for agez is costochondritis. i think i have a theory of what causes it!!!

anonymous on April 10, 2012:

@Debbie-: Hopefully you get some relief, i have recently found a site about anti-inflammatory foods a lot of people over look them. well its worth a try,

Debbie- on April 09, 2012:

I have just been diagnosed with Tietze's Syndrome. I woke up one morning 11 months ago and could not move. I was very active and ate a mostly vegetarian organic diet. I am taking NSAIDS with some relief, but I really hate taking medication due to all the side effects. I just ordered calcium orotate, I am hoping this works. This syndrome has put my life on hold. I guess I am going to have to learn how to live with it, I don't see a lot of success stories. If anyone has any tips other than rest, drugs and heat, please share. I will post if the calcium orotate works. The pain is unbelievable!

anonymous on April 02, 2012:

@anonymous: I have had this type of pain on and around my sternum over the last few years in episodes that would typically last 2 to 3 weeks and occur maybe three times a year. However I had an episode that started this January and is still in play. It started out pretty severe for about a month and brought me to the ER twice. The pain has subdued a bit but is still present as nuisance pain most of the day. It also took on a new characteristic for this episode - it likes to move around. It will go from my sternum to my right coastal cartilage to my left coastal cartilage, then to my upper back right in the spine through the course of the day. It is body position dependent. Sitting or laying flat on my back cause it to appear or shift to in and around my sternum. Hunching forward shifts it to my back. Laying on my left side or on my back with my back elevated usually makes it disappear. I have had multiple tests including a cardio-cath and upper GI to rule out cardiac disease, cancer, and problems with my major organs. I have tried NSAIDS, chiropractor, and acupuncture without help.

Along the way I have done a lot of research into possible causes. My best guess is I have slipped rib system since my symptoms and the way the pain moves around fit several different sources to a T. A slipped rib is due ti rib ligaments that have become weak or overstretched. I chopped 2 cords of oak wood from a felled tree back in November and early December of last year which I am guessing was a trigger. I am seeing a doctor who specializes in this field this week, and my next venture may be Prolotherapy. This involve a series of injections of pretty bland, harmless fluid into the affected ligaments which forces the ligaments into a healing process which strengthens and tightens them. I am interested in if anyone has experience with this treatment and I will certainly report back on my results.

anonymous on April 02, 2012:

@anonymous: One thing i would suggest is visit a chiropractor, a reputable one of course. they are quite often over looked, but they can be compete magic for most body related issues, in remembering that most study for several years.. costo is inflammation of the cartilage of the ribs, one thing they might suggest is cortisone ejections they can be quite painful in themselves but it could be worth a try.. but definitely visit a qualified chiropractor

anonymous on April 01, 2012:

My mother has suffered what she describes as "horrific, torturous pain" in her sternum area for 18 months. She literally woke up with this pain one morning, without having any cause or injury to her chest wall. We have journeyed countless ER visits & specialists in search of a cure. Gastroenterology felt this was her gall bladder, so she had it removed. She has had every kind of scan/test possible, without any findings causing this pain. She has to rely on daily narcotic medicines and lives by the clock in hopes of minimal relief. Recently we visited the Mayo Clinic, AZ, thinking maybe they would find something that might have been missed. One of the specialists had mentioned this could possible be caused by the xyphoid process, yet, she has had no injury to this area. I am frustrated beyond words seeing my mother suffer daily. As she says, "no human should have to suffer this type of pain, this day and age." If anyone out there has some advice, or direction, I will be so very grateful. I will take her to the ends of this earth if we could find what this is..Thank you, Kim

anonymous on March 28, 2012:

@mnov5534: It Truly isn't nice, the say the pain is on par with having a heart attack, and they wouldn't be wrong i was diagnosed at 14. ruined my teen years.

anonymous on March 27, 2012:

@anonymous: Did the Calcium Orotate work? I have had costochondritis for 6 months and not much relief so far.

mnov5534 on March 27, 2012:

Very informative and well researched lens. I hadn't heard of the condition before and it definitely sounds nasty. Thanks for sharing the valuable information.

anonymous on March 25, 2012:

I had never heard of this condition(I am a retired nurse!) I am relieved the pain will subside. unfortunately NSAIDs cause irritation. as it radiates into my shoulders and arms wonder if it is Tietze.

anonymous on February 26, 2012:

I've had Costochondritis for over 2 years. I did find Calcium Orotate cures this. I had to buy it on amazon as they don't sell it any health food stores around my house. I read that this is the only thing that cures Costochondritis/Tietz syndrome. I have to take Prilosec to protect my stomach from the antiinflammatory med and the calcium will not absorb when taking Prilosec. My plan is to switch an herbal remedy and do the calcium orotate. I did read to give it at least 3 weeks because it takes time to get into cartilege.

anonymous on February 09, 2012:

@anonymous: A really hot shower can help reduce inflammation, and believe it or not rubbing the cartilage of the affected ribs can also reduce the pain, other than that try to get your doctor to prescribe something like paracetamol 500mg and codeine phosphate 30mg, in Australia we call it Panadeine Forte, the codeine is a muscle relaxant and can really reduce costo. i hope this helps you :)

anonymous on February 08, 2012:

Hi, just found this site! I've just been diagnosed after being admitted to A&E with severe chest pain. The pain relief I have been sent home with is not strong enough, I could cry with the pain I'm in all the time. I'm going to see my GP tomorrow to see what else he can give me. I've already had cardiac problems being diagnosed with SVT.

Im just about to turn 40 and can't face being like this all the time-how are we supposed to live when we are in extreme pain?

anonymous on February 03, 2012:

I have had costochondritis since the age of 14, and still have it today, 5 years on. i experience a lot of pain when lifting any weight, or when i do a lot of moving around or exercise, i'v had several doctors since being diagnosed, however none of those have ever referred me further than anti inflammatory's which obviously aren't working, i have never seen a rheumotologist, as none of my doctors have seen this necessary, but i'm still getting pain all these years later and its debilitating.

anonymous on February 02, 2012:

@anonymous: Chelois - I feel your pain, literally. I followed up with my primary care physician. He did put me on Prozac since perhaps my main issue is the anxiety that comes with the pain that keeps me from functioning anywhere near 100%. I had the same attitude as you but have been told I should not develop a dependency, and felt its time to give a try. Based on other things I have picked up on this blog and others, I am trying three other things. I'll let folks know if they seem to work. First is a chiropractor. Second is avoiding what they call nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers) which are believed to release a chemical that causes arthritic symptoms. Third is I too myself off my statins. My doctor doubled my dose (by mistake) at my last appointment and my last episode started about a week after I started on the higher dose. Note I am not a doctor so please don't change any of your meds on my advice.

My wife just got off the phone with a coworker who has not been feeling well - chest pains - for over a week. Spent a day in the hospital yesterday, CT-scan, the whole 9 yards. The diagnosis? Hint - it begins with "Co".

anonymous on January 29, 2012:

Third trip to ER in 8 years last night. Sharp pain in my sternum off and on for over 3 weeks. Moves to left shoulder or midpoint of left arm at times. Almost always spread over a very small area. My cardiologist, who I see at least twice a year, gives me the impression that he thinks I am needlessly burdening the medical system. Clean stress echo last summer, no EKG changes, etc. ER doctor says same thing. Ran three miles on treadmill earlier in the day and ER doc says if it was my heart I'd be laying on the floor. Have heard chronic costo gets less severe over time. I've had it at least 8 years and I think the opposite. NSAIDS seem to offer no relief, but 2 or 3 beers often does. This is a good forum - it helps to hear how others are coping, or trying to.

anonymous on January 27, 2012:

@anonymous: Chelois, I hope you are not still suffering, but if you are, here is my advice. I had two severe bouts of costochondritis, one at 22, the other at 24. Both times, the pain was so severe it was hard to sleep. The first time, it resolved itself after 6 months. Fortunately, the second time, I found a physical therapist who understood the condition. You see, sometimes the cause is that the rib is out of joint. MDs usually do not understand this. I recommend seeing an osteopathic doctor (DO), chiropractor, or physical therapist who knows how to treat this by physical manipulation. After my rib was popped back into place, I felt 90% better immediately. Best of luck to you.

anonymous on December 27, 2011:

@anonymous: I have been having the same issue. Mine started out a few mths ago and it was a tearing sensation and now its been persistent for 2 weeks now and its a ton of pressure that will not go away. Went to ER yesterday and he said Costochondritis too. This is so aggravating as I am very healthy. They did EKG, xray, CT Scan, and blood work all normal.

missbat (author) on November 30, 2011:

@anonymous: Hi Patricia -- I have suffered with costochondritis for over twenty years now. No one is sure exactly why it comes and goes; I find that stress seems to bring on flare ups in me. I hope the anti-inflammatory medication continues to help you.

missbat (author) on November 30, 2011:

@anonymous: Hi Chelois -- I would certainly recommend making an appointment to see a rheumotologist as soon as possible. They may be able to provide you with pain medication that can ease what you're going through, or they may give you cortisone shots to lessen the inflammation. I hope you find some relief soon!

anonymous on November 30, 2011:

I was told I have Costochondritis about two months ago when I went to the Emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack. I returned to the ER close to a month later with the same issues. The pain has continually gotten worse and I have no idea where to go from here, after reading the story above I think I will go to a rheumotologist. I am also having panic attcks, I thought because I was freaking out about my heart. I have been given anxiety medicine but I don't want to take that forever. My pain is so bad that I would say I am functioning at about half of what I used to. I cry almost every day because of the pain and because the pain seems to jump around to different places. It is causing heart palpitations and I have not slept in my bed for almost two months. Does anybody know of some sort of relief? I will even try non traditional ways of relief. Thanks, and I am sorry to anyone who has this, it is very debilitating.

anonymous on October 01, 2011:

I have had costochondritis for the last 7 years and was at first treated for angina. However after several hospital stays was diagnosed with costochondritis. Which flares up every so often without any warning. I keep a supply of presctiption anti inflammatory pills in to take as and when it flares up. No one knows why I keep getting recurring episodes though.

anonymous on September 05, 2011:

I don't know what I have, my pain management thinks its costochrondritis, but he keeps trying to tell me pain is on deep breaths, I tell him .?.no...the pain pain is in the very slightest of breath....My pain is relieved when they give me steroid injections in my sternum and along my back.....but they can't reproduce it by pushing on my's only there when I take the shallowest of breaths. I didn't start having these episodes until my late 40's, can usually associate with the most minimal of exertion, but have been under lots of stress for the last 6-7 episodes.

anonymous on July 19, 2011:

Brill to read about symtons i was told i had many yrs ago now...and living with the pain is bareable to a degree.and i'd love to share any input on this with any other sufferers.

mrkensworld on April 11, 2011:

Great lens and information on Costochondritis and Tietze Syndrome . I have had quite the education the last two years on what inflammation is linked to. I ask you if you have heard of Nopalea, it definitely reduces inflammation this along with diet may be the key to success for many suffering people. Keep up the good work. To read more about Nopalea visit my lens. I also have a site on Nopal Cactus Juice and its inflammation reducing qualities.

Hope this helps many!

hotbrain from Tacoma, WA on January 22, 2011:

First time I've heard of Tietze syndrome. Very interesting information, and an excellent lens.

anonymous on June 23, 2010:

can bouts of pain be triggered by just sitting upright or walking, this is when my pain usually occurs, the pain becomes unbearable sometimes

Ayngel Overson from Crestone, Co on September 14, 2009:

I have bouts of costochondritis, it coexists with fibromyalgia it seems. Chronic pain of any sort is so damned frustrating because it is hard to get others, especially doctors, to understand the pain daily living can become.

Hugs to you!

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on September 09, 2009:

This is a VERY well written, helpful, and informative lens. What a struggle you've had.

I'm lensrolling this lens to my medical lenses. Good work here.

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on August 19, 2009:

well written. Sorry to hear it though. Hopfully you can get pain free. I am lensrolling to my throat lens.

Adrienne Jenkins on August 18, 2009:

My Mom recently went through major colon surgery and I wanted to share her experience and our experience as a family. Your lens provides inspiration and a template to do so. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Bambi Watson on August 07, 2009:

Welcome to the Sharing Hearts Group!

Spook LM on August 05, 2009:

That must be horrible to have and wish you all the best. Have you considered posting this to mysticmama's sharing hearts group? If I was you I would definitely give it a shot.

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on August 03, 2009:

I wish you well. There is nothing worse than dealing with pain. Excellent lens.

Michey LM on August 02, 2009:

I wish you well, with constant pain is really hard to live your life "normal". Hope the research on this domain will make good progress.

All the best


anonymous on August 01, 2009:

An excellent Health lens and thank you for sharing this information. As Nancy says, living with pain is so hard and I am glad that you can get the relief you need.

SquidAngel Blessings for you.

missbat (author) on August 01, 2009:

[in reply to Joan4] Thank you both so very much for the positive wishes! And thank you for the blessing on this lens! :D

Joan4 on August 01, 2009:

Yes, Joining Ohme in praying for relief! This sounds so very difficult! Your lens is excellent and explains the condition very well. Blessed by a joyful SquidAngel!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on July 31, 2009:

Living with pain can really take a toll on one. You seem to be handling it in a positive way and I hope that you will soon be pain free. Hopefully, they will find something to help.

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