What Is Costochondritis and Can Chiropractic Help?

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Costochondritis is the name for the condition by which the “hinge-like” (costosternal joint) part of the ribs becomes inflamed. This causes terrible chest wall pain and discomfort. The condition is the cause of chest pain and is often hard to diagnose. Diagnosis is tricky because it mimics so many other health conditions’ symptoms.

Depending on how severe it is, a chiropractor may be able to help with chest wall pain. Patients suffering from osteochondritis are in worse condition. Osteochondritis is a joint disorder that leads to certain parts of it developing cracks inside the bone.

X rayof the chest

Some telltale costochondritis symptoms

When it comes to costochondritis, patients often suffer from chest pain in the chest wall. This is because their ribs are directly affected by costochondritis. The inflammation of the chest could cause pain throughout the thoracic region of the chest wall which can be mistaken for a heart attack.

What’s more confusing is that the chest pain may often be on the left side of the sternum (breastbone). The pain can make it seem like heart failure.

Other symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

  • Difficulty breathing (without feeling pain)
  • It feels as if the chest is becoming tight
  • The sternum area may feel sore when touched which is pain associated with costochondritis.Costochondritis ccan cause chest pain

How do people develop costochondritis?

There are many possibilities for why patients develop costochondritis. Oftentimes, a patient may have suffered trauma to the chest or to the breastbone sternum. The causes of chest pain could have happened during a motor vehicle accident. Blunt force trauma to the chest wall or to the breastbone can also lead to the costosternal joint becoming damaged.

Costochondritis and arthritis are also linked in some cases. This is especially so when the patient is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. This long-term inflammation, although common in hands and feet, can affect other joints.

Sometimes a tumour in the costosternal joint can lead to costochondritis.

What are the options for costochondritis treatment?

Before supplying a treatment plan, doctors have to run tests to determine the cause of the pain. Some include blood work, x-rays (chest x ray), and other scans. Most treatments include anti-inflammatory medications prescribed or OTC meds. Sometimes doctors also prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help manage the pain of costochondritis. Physical therapy is very effective in helping to manage costochondritis.

To improve the treatment of costochondritis pain, patients can get help from chiropractors. Chiropractic may include soft tissue treatment, mild adjustments and light massage. Hot and cold treatments are also useful.

How to treat your condition may also require certain lifestyle changes. Your chiropractor will tell you about suitable exercises that you could do at home to help manage costochondritis.

If you’re experiencing any type of chest pain, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Only after examining a patient is a doctor able to identify what the problem may be and to rule out any other conditions according to their diagnosis.

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