Does it hurt to breathe?  Is your rib cage suffocating you?


Costochondritis is inflammation where the ribs join the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone (sternum).



I fondly remember thinking, holy cow why is this elephant stabbing me.  It hurt so bad and I had no idea what to do.  Like many I ended up in the emergency room and grateful to learn it wasn’t a heart attack.   The pain caused by Costo is well known to mimic that of a heart attack.  When I was at my worst flare the Costo just would not stop.  I learned to “test” my pain to see if it was a true emergency or just Costo squeezing the breath out of me.  I was told by my Cardiologist to press on the area that is hurting and if I can change the pain then it’s caused by the inflammation in my rib cage.  I also started practicing deep breathing techniques to help maintain chest expansion.  


What has been your experience with it?


16 responses to “Costochondritis

  1. I am 42 years old and been having costochondritis on and off since 2007. This time it is pretty intense. Been an ongoing pain for a month already, been to the ER twice, Dr’s 4 times and not much they can do for me. ER would give me painkillers, but my regular Dr refuses to give me any narcotics to dull the pain. So I been taking tylenol or ibuprofen, which doesn’t help at all. The pain is so intense I been bedridden for the past 2 weeks, very limited to do anything at all. I cry everyday and starting to get really frustrated, like it’s never going to end. What can I do to heal faster or to dull the pain???? Please help…..

  2. My first experience I was 42, I really thought that I was dieing in the emergency rooms. I even told my husband that I love him and that he must keep my children together. Crazy………… Of cause they did not know what was wrong with me. I find that my rids hurt a lot on the back of my rib cage, I would get someone on my family just to rub on the area, and then it goes for a will. When it’s really bad I put my electric blanket on hot and lay on it, that helps too. Keep strong all my fellow AS.

  3. My 27 year old son has been suffering with chronic Costochondritis since he was 16. In the beginning the Drs. Said it would go away on its own but when it didn’t they decided he was trying to hide from growing up. Spent years fighting Drs. that it was real and not mental. Finally at the Mayo Clinic Rochester MN, my son was told it was definitely chostochondritis and they worked with my son’s dr in getting the pain to a tolerable level where he can get on with his life.

  4. Newly diagnosed with AS. I was actually relieved to see this post. I’ve never heard of this before now, but I have been experiencing this quite a few times in this past year. My wife of course freaked out and made me call the doctor. I even went in for an EKG (which was weird, because I’m 32 and fairly healthy). They had no idea what it was, could not find any cardiac issues whatsoever. They gave me an inhaler and ibuprofen. It has eventually give away every time. It’s nice to know I’m not crazy, Thank you!!!

    • No Carl your not crazy I will be there beside you helping you with this I am so sorry you have this. There are many people in your life that can help you as well your sons and wife. They can encorage you and assist you with exercises diet changes and most of all hope by looking in their eyes for strength. Mom.

  5. I ended up having the cartilage removed from my upper left rib. My chest would feel as if it was locked up or jammed. When it released it popped and it was loud and painful. Since the removal of the cartilage I have minimal to zero pain in that area. For the record the recovery Sucked!!!!

  6. I was told to just take the max dose of ibuprofen every 4-6 hours till it passes, so that’s what I do. Works I guess. Said there’s not much more they can do for it.

  7. Doctor told me to just take max doses of ibuprofen every 4-6 hours until it passes. Works okay. Told me there’s not much else they can do about it.

  8. for starters, my experience has been that it can be painful to *breathe*, that is, to take a *breath* (referring to the wrong word usage in the first sentence on the page 😉 ) My costo has been chronic since late 2001. On a good day, it feels like someone kicked me in the chest about a week ago. On a bad day, it feels like someone wearing hobnail boots *just* kicked me in the chest. Psoriatic arthritis stole my ability to play music, costo has stolen my ability to sing. I hate it.

    • I know my grammar and spelling have been horrid this month. I apologize. I normally start writing these a month in advance and have time to double and triple check everything but I’ve been flaring since December and am just trying to get them done. I wrote this after a 6 hour road trip at 11pm. I’m just grateful I got it done. 🙂

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