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Costochondritis

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the connections where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone or sternum. The condition causes localized chest pain. Though it’s relatively harmless, costochondritis can be bothersome and painful. The cause is often unknown but may occur from increased activity involving the arms.

What Does It Feel Like?

The number-one thing we hear at the practice is it feels like someone is taking an ice pick to your back. People with costochondritis also feel a sharp pain, particularly when they’re breathing. Men with the condition often head to the hospital as they think they’re having a heart attack.

Ruling Out Heart Disease

Adults who complain of chest pain may be diagnosed with costochondritis. Chest pain in adults is considered a potentially serious indication of a problem with the heart by the majority of doctors until proven it’s not. Adults with chest pain will typically be given an array of tests to rule out a heart attack and heart disease.

Any adult with chest pain should be examined and tested for heart disease before a diagnosis of costochondritis can be made. It is often challenging to distinguish between the two without further testing.

If all of the tests are normal and your physical exam is consistent with costochondritis, your doctor will inform you that the condition is the cause of your chest pain.

Who Is Affected by Costochondritis?

People of all ages can experience costochondritis. The condition (with unknown cause) is a common cause of chest pain in children and adolescents. Costochondritis accounts for 10% to 30% of all chest pain in kids. Both women and men can suffer from the condition. It affects females more than males (70% versus 30%).

What Are Some Causes?

  • Coughing
  • Exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Sneezing

Costochondritis may also occur as the result of an infection or as a complication of surgery on your sternum.

How Does Chiropractic Help?

If your ribs are out of position, we use gentle KST adjustments from the front and the back. Adjusting the sternum helps as does adjusting the muscles around the rib cage. The tool we use gently taps the ribs into the correct position. An attachment also can be used that glides over the ribcage to address both the front and back of the ribcage.

The goal of chiropractic in addressing costochondritis is to allow your ribs to move and glide easily, especially when you’re breathing.

We also may recommend using heat or ice to help alleviate discomfort.

Book an Appointment

If you think you’re experiencing costochondritis, contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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Costochondritis Royal Oak, MI | (248) 616-0900