Dealing with Costochondritis

It seems that every year I suffer from something that has to do with inflammation. Last time was iritis, now its costochondritis. Costochondritis is something that many people deal with, some only having to deal with it for a couple of weeks to a month and others, years. When I first was told I had costo my doctor, at the time, said that it would probably last 2 weeks to a month… 7 months later I was cursing this debilitating condition.

For those of you who do not know what costochondritis is it is inflammation of your cartilage between your sternum and your ribs…. ouch! So simple movements like turning your head, crossing your arms over to the opposite side, turning the wheel when driving, laying down and getting back up suddenly become extremely painful movements. In most cases, or so they say, costochondritis is caused by some impact to the chest of some sort, whether it being an accident or maybe you had a blow to the chest. In other cases, it can be caused by a virus but in a lot of  instances it is caused by some unknown reason, which makes it that much more annoying.

As a personal trainer and someone who lives and breathes fitness, when a doctor tells me ‘you can’t workout’, its like telling me not to breath.. it ain’t happening. So being the stubborn person I am, I continue to work out with it. Two years ago was the first time I had it and it lasted 7 months, last summer it was barely there but this year its back and its pretty painful.

I wanted to write a post on this to let those of you who suffer from this and stumbled upon our site know how I deal with it. I did a lot of research on it and found a lot of online groups, hearing how depressed people are from this saddens me but I completely understand. How can you not get in a funk when you can’t do simple movements without regretting moving in the first place.

I still work out on a regular basis, on days where it is super painful, I will just do a light cardio or take a rest day. On days where its there but manageable, I take advantage of it and workout but I avoid any movement that utilizes my chest muscles (ie. push ups, twisting such as wood choppers). Everyday I take three types of supplements because the prescribed anti inflammatories do nothing for me other than give me brutal stomach pains. So I take:

1- 500mg bromelain in the morning during breakfast- bromelain is more effective on a full stomach than on an empty stomach.
Then I take another 1 before bed if the pain is pretty bad.

2- Omega 3 Oil- I find this helps a lot! I double the dose than what is listed on the bottle as we lack Omega 3 in our diets anyways. Omega 3 gives an anti-inflammatory response– avoid foods that contain Omega 6 when your inflammation is bad as this causes a pro-inflammatory response.

3- Webber Naturals Osteo Joint Ease with InflamEase in the morning

At night I rub deep cold extra strength on the spot where the pain initiates from- this helps ease it a lot!

Taking these has actually helped me more than taking the prescribed anti-inflammatories. Some things you should know is that Bromelain is naturally derived from pineapples, so if you are allergic to pineapple avoid it OR if you have a bleeding problem or are on blood thinners avoid it as well.

Another thing I found that helped is trying to keep good posture. When the pain is severe we tend to roll our shoulders inwards, protecting our problem but this is actually worsening the problem. Try setting your shoulders back and opening your chest. Try stretching your chest by doing the door way stretch, don’t push too hard, just go into the stretch as much as you can without hurting yourself more. Also, another thing that does work for me is getting my intercostal muscles stripped, Chad does this for me and it is super painful but the next day it feels better. This should only be done on days that the pain isn’t so bad, because if its done on really bad days it is unbearable.

So these are the things that has helped me, it doesn’t mean it will help everyone else who suffers from this but I know when you are in pain you are willing to try anything so its nice to hear what other people have done that seems to help.

If any of you have or are suffering from this as a chronic condition please feel free to let us know what has helped you.

Jessica
Certified Personal Trainer
Full Body Developments Inc. 

 

****UPDATE!!!!!****

For any of you suffering from this debilitating condition, for me it is 100% my Omega 6 – Omega 3 ratio intake. I know it sounds stupid but there have been many instances where it has proven me correct each and every time.

For instance, yesterday I was working out and I noticed that I had a very sore spot on my chest and soon enough I realized exactly what it was.. is was the beginning of my costochondritis coming back to say “hi”. I was severely disappointed and upset. I instantly took my Bromelain and Omega 3 oil (2 tsp).

As I was getting ready for bed I was trying to think of reasons why this could possibly be coming back: weather change? any impact to my chest? too much chest exercises? diet?… oh my.. diet! The only thing I changed in my diet was that I found a bag of sunflower seeds in my pantry and for the past 3 days I have been having handfuls and handfuls of sunflower seeds and even adding them to my salads. And guess what? Sunflower seeds have both Omega 6 & 3 but they are EXTREMELY high in Omega 6!!

For me, my costochondritis comes into play when my Omega 6 is far too high and my Omega 3 is far too low. So to balance it out I try to consume foods that are high in Omega 3 and take my Omega 3 oil everyday.

If costochondritis can be ‘cured’ by taking 1-2 tsp of that nasty Omega 3 oil why wouldn’t you try it? Trust me, its been now 4 times that Omega 3 has helped me and it may just help you too!

Thought I would keep this updated because I know how painful this condition is. Oh and just by taking my Omega 3 oil last night I woke up pain free. As far as those sunflower seeds go, well, I think they will be left for my husband to eat. 😦

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257 comments on “Dealing with Costochondritis

  1. I am relieved to see a website addressing this issue with so many suggestions. My 16-year old daughter was diagnosed last month with Costo. She is a competitive swimmer, and was told to “rest” for two weeks. My dread has been that it will be a chronic issue for her, which sounds from many of these comments to be the case. For anyone who lives in the Dallas area, please contact me with names of professionals who can help us with physical therapy, etc. to work through this. Many thanks!
    marcisymington@yahoo.com

  2. Hi thank to jesus for another day! & hopfully every comment id read ,does’nt read this bcuz it mean in jesus name theyre heal of costochondritis. As for me ive a burning sensation too like on my upper rite chest breast and sometimes like on top of my bothbreast as soon as i take Aleve my pain goes but comes back does anybody sound familiar ????

    • Hi Leticia,
      The best way is to seek medical attention. CC seems to feel and start different for everyone. A physiotherapisst or doctor would be able to help you figure out if it is indeed CC. I personally never had a burning sensation, it was just utter pain and extremely sore to touch/ put pressure on the area.

  3. I know this is an old post! But how are you doing with CC? Any new updates or tips to help along the way? Thank you!

    • Hi Holly,
      So extremely sorry for the late reply. I recently had a baby and juggling two kids and the business, got a wee bit busy . BUt CC is still under control, with a flare up maybe lasting a day. I am still an advocate that omega 3 is what is keeping in tack

  4. I started w costochondritis this week. I have experienced tenderness at the base of my sternum over the years but it was a contained type of tenderness that only bothered me if touched. What I have now is dreadful as it radiates across my ribs and I am beginning to feel nauseous and weary from the pain. I think it might stem from me having psoriasis – an inflammatory condition of the skin and for which I take an immunosuppressant drug called methotrextate. Rheumatology once suggested I might have psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia then discharged me. Aspirin has not helped and I am now trying ibuprofen but the day I take the methotrexate which is today I am skipping the ibuprofen as they are not supposed to mix well. I took a targin painkiller today which has taken the edge of the pain but I am very anxious about this not clearing on its own. Does anyone know if fish oil or cod liver oil is better for inflammation? I will see my Dr again next week if things do not improve. I cannot believe how painful this is and have felt very despondent at times. I do not work out and cannot think of anything physical that might have caused it and am really struggling ewith the pain at times. Deepest sympathy to other sufferers. I hope we can all find some relief from this. My right side is afffected and I think if it had been my left side I would have been even more worried and possibly the Dr too. Healing thoughts to all 🕊

    • Fiona, I developed costo 3 1/2 yrs ago and am at about 98% now. Our food is our medicine. I switched to the Bible diet which is essentially the same as the Mediterranean diet. Made a big diff for me. Immuno suppressant drugs leave you open to many various conditions. Check the side affects of all the meds you are taking and check with your dr to see which ones you may be able to come off. I will keep you in my prayers.

    • This has been so helpful. I was wrongly diagnosed with a level 1 pec minor sprain and after 1 week of feeling my symptoms were that of something different I went back for a second opinion. Sure enough. It’s costo. Ugh. I do high intensity interval training and know exactly what I was doing when I created this mess for myself. Breaks my heart. But reading about these little tricks is good information. Especially the omega 3 and 6 details! Also posture. I notice when I sit up straight there’s no pain to breathe deep. Hence why posture is so important. I pray since I caught this early that I can make a full recovery. Only time will tell. Thank you. Carolyn

  5. Gina,

    Costo is usually diagnosed after any potentially serious underlying conditions have been eliminated. That is why the doctors run those various test. If you can press on a specific area of the sternum or ribs and reproduce the pain, it is probably costo.

    An anti- inflammatory diet, and for those who are experiencing a floating rib, use of the back pod may help. This routine has helped me a great deal.

    I wish you well. God bless

    • Thanks, Edward! I watched your uTube videos…very helpful! You are right, doctors in this area (Southern California) hardly know what costo is – I had to explain it to them. For the last few years, I just had lower rib pain on each side which would come & go, now a year later it’s sternum and sides. It just seems to migrate around, obviously an inflammation problem as well as locked ribs in the back? And I keep working out. It’s so painful, I was convinced I had bone cancer or mold exposure or something. Anyway, will report back as I clean up my diet, add a few new supplements, and work on the back pod/stretching. Thanks! I finally have hope 🙂

  6. Thank you soooo much for all of these suggestions. I’ve been dealing with “self-diagnosed” costo on and off for 5 years and am currently in my worst relapse yet 😦 I’m a huge pilates fan, but I think during the deep core work (side hinges over the box, etc.) I’ve injured my obliques and caused this inflammation. Is it normal to feel somewhat better during the day but pain is awful at night? (ie: no sleep) Right now i’m doubling down on ibuprofen & aleve with no relief. Usually a heating pad helps, but maybe I should switch to ice? On my way to store to buy bromelain and switch back to a pure Omega 3 (from megared.) Checking out BackPod now… Also, dry needling sounds like it has potential, looking for a practitioner in So Cal.

    • Just to clarify the “self diagnosis,” last year I went to my general practitioner, then was set to orthopedic, then sent to pulmonologist, and after a xray, CT and MRI a confirming diagnosis of costo or pleurisy could NOT be made. Why is this so difficult to diagnose?

  7. Thank you so much for this helpful post! I was diagnosed with costochondritis when I was 15. Though painful, it has always been manageable, until recently at 23. It has been 10x more painful then it every has in the past. My father passed away when I was 15 from heart disease and my mother had a heart attack right after having me from her chest wall becoming too inflamed from this condition so the fear of heart issues has always been quietly sitting in the back of my mind. Now though I find myself discouraged from seeing a doctor since my medical coverage has skyrocketed in price since they got rid of Obamacare and my daily life is completely affected by the debilitating pain I have been trying to deal with for 2 months now. I tried to exercise and 4 minutes into a jog I passed out. I will try your recommended routine and hope that gives me some relief. With all of these posts about doctors saying there is nothing they can do, I don’t want to waste the money going when I am saving every penny for a job relocation at the beginning of June.

  8. Avacados, coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar are part of my daily anti-inflammatory diet. Eat clean and organic if possible.

    I use the back pod as well for the mechanical realignment of my ribs and spine.

  9. Hey everyone, glad to see im not in this alone aswell. i see no one has posted in a while which could be a good thing meaning you are all healed or feeling a lot better. costo hit me about 9 months ago. i do alot of calithenics and gymnastic training, handstands levers etc so always using my upper body, costo has literallly stripped me from doing what i love. it all started with a dip one day, had a click sound from the sternum had pain for a week then it went away didnt think to much of it, then about 3 months later while training for a one arm back lever i crunched to the side like doing a side crunch and over crunched the obliques which a clicky/popping kinda sound came from my lower rib maybe 3 up from the bottom or oblique now when i cough i get a thudding sound from my rib or oblique, then a few months after that doing a stretch class “im a personal trainer so this is really killing me” i stretced down to touch my toes and felt the most excruciating pain i had to curl up for 30 seconds in front of a class everyone wondering if i was ok, from that day on i had costo the usual pains i can barely do any excecise some days it feels worse then others some it feels as if i can train soon as i do a few exercises for upper body i feel it the next day badly sometimes right there on the spot but more now days after my workout the pain almost goes back to day 1. i have tried resting for like 2 to 3 months but icant do that no more its driving me crazy even now writing this i can feel a lil something in my chest if i tried anythimg i wpould be in pain. do loads of chest opening stretchs which help but it doesnt feel like i will ever be able to get back to the way i used to be with my training, seeing as its so upper body based that doing a 20 press ups kills, cant imagine doing planches and handstands right now. im wondering if the rib or oblique injury could be connected? also im going to try loads of omega 3 see if that helps. have any of you got back to full training how you used to? or is this going to be a life thing now that i am always going to have to be careful of?, already have LV of the left ventricle cant deal with any more life problems just want to train and do what i love feel like something is always trying to slow me down or stop me.

    • Hi Aaron, wow this sounds very similar. As you probably have guessed, I too am a personal trainer and it is super hard to not be able to do the thing we love to do because of the pain of this inflammation. BUT there can be light at the end of the tunnel. Just stay healthy, avoid foods with a high Omega 6 content, stretch, roll your spine, you can do chest openers with a foam roller as well. Ice, heat, tiger balm, etc are all your friends right now.
      I had costo for 5 years straight and then I got it to the point where I could train again and then to the point where I got no pain. Every once in a while I may feel as if it’s coming back, so I do what I need to to keep it at ease.
      I am now back to training full time, lifting weights, everything is back to normal.
      Just know that this may be a long road to recovery but it can get better.
      Keep me posted on how you feel with Omega 3’s. You can also try Bromelain as a natural anti-inflammatory.

      • Hello. I’m relatively new to the world of costochondritis and have had it for 5 months now. Mine came on after a chest infection. I’m in the UK and was initially put on really high doses of codeine to deal with the pain and coming off them after 3 months was awful. I’m now on anti-inflammatories which seem to really help but my Dr wants to wean me off those and I also don’t want to be on so much medication. I have been taking omega as you recommend but will definitely investigate bromelain. As I couldn’t exercise I have put on weight (as I carried on eating the same amount of food plus comfort eating oops!) but am now getting back on track with food and exercise. What is the link between costochondritis and sugar? I do drink a lot of diet coke and coffee too – could this have an affect?

        • Yes sugar has a major impact on CC. It’s really important to eat a very clean diet.
          I have had this for 5 years and am now relatively pain free compared to where I started from. OTC drugs never worked for me. The things that have had the biggest impact for me were acupuncture (2-3 times a week for a few months), massage therapy, a super clean diet (no sugar, dairy, etc), and I also use the back pod which has been an excellent way to unstick the collagen – look into the back pod and you will likely even see reference to it on this site. Developed by Steve August. There are you tube videos for it. Also, there is a FB site for CC if you’re interested that has a lot of great information. It’s called Healing from Costochondritis and Tietzes Syndrome. It’s a closed group but make a request and you can be added. Lead by a holistic health coach who has posted tons of great files on the site. Hope this helps!

          • Thanks so much for your reply. I have been looking at the backpod and will join the Facebook group. Knowing my costo could be improved will motivate me on my cleaner diet quest!

    • Hi Aaron and Jessica.

      Jessica, how are you? I enjoy your blog but haven’t commented for a while because I really didn’t want to seem like I was hogging comments. I’d like to reply to Aaron though because he so clearly illustrates what I’ve been talking about.

      Aaron, I’ve seen so many cases of costo set off by dips. It’s so clearly a mechanical problem – not at all a mysterious inflammation that comes on for no apparent cause. What that initial click in your chest was was a rib joint on your breastbone straining – like spraining an ankle. The click happens when the joint gets forced beyond its normal range. Inflammation is silent – a click means it’s a mechanical problem, which is my New Zealand manual physio view.

      Okay, now the reason it happens in the first place is because the rib hinges at the back where your ribs join onto your backbone are frozen stuck. (This happens usually because of old strain or impact, including the percussive impact of much coughing, but also these days with the slow tightening of the rib and spinal joints that you get from much hunching over laptops, tablets and smartphones.) Then when you do a dip, which requires the rib hinges at the back to move maximally under load, and they’re stuck and they can’t, what happens is that the rib hinge(s) on the breastbone give (with that click) under the strain.

      After that you’re in trouble, because your ribs have hinges at both ends to let you breathe – like a buckle handle. If the hinges at the back are frozen, the ones at the front HAVE to move excessively with every breath you take. As you’re not going to to stop breathing, as long as the rib hinges at the back are stuck, the already strained ones at the front keep being strained continually, so they get irritated, then inflamed – and there’s your costo.

      Now, understanding it like this, you’ll see that rest will not fix it. You’ve tried that, anyway. It’ll let things settle a bit but the rib hinges at the back can just stay stuck, so when you try to do anything more than rest, the strained ones at the front will just flare up. The posterior rib hinges can just stay stuck indefinitely – it’s not a healing problem; i.e. it’s not damage taking time to repair. It’s also not a muscle strain problem, so you can’t fix it like one.

      Jessica’s recommendations for staying healthy, tiger balm, etc. will all help to suppress the inflammation around the front rib joints, and help your body cope with the inflammation better, and are good things to be doing anyway. Same with medications from doctors – they’ll suppress the inflammation to some extent. But my professional opinion after decades of fixing these things is that if the rib hinges around the back are jammed enough, nothing is going to fix the problem except freeing them up. Which is perfectly logical.

      Jessica’s suggesting using a foam roller to loosen things. Sorry, but I just don’t find they work much for costo, Jessica. Foam rollers are great for lots of things, but because of their cylindrical shape they just cannot get much specific leverage onto the rib hinges – and usually you need a lot of leverage to stretch the tough, tightened collagen around a chronically frozen rib hinge.

      The Backpod is ideal for this. It’s a New Zealand spine and rib joint mobilising device I invented – like a little peaked fulcrum you can lie back on. Because of its specific peaked shape, it can get enough leverage onto rib hinges to actually move them. That’s why we built it – because there wasn’t anything else around that actually did that. There are 30 years of expertise in the exact shape and construction of it; it’s not just another thing to lie on. You’ll see the reviews on the Backpod’s Facebook page give it five stars for actually fixing costo. My offer to send you one is still open, Jessica.

      If all of the (long!!) above makes some sense, have a look at the two YouTube videos I’ve put up on fixing costo. Links are https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvJbQFDeyOk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7ve6nNVdWc

      I really sympathise with anyone who’s got it. It’s painful, scary and limiting. I had it for seven years myself after a climbing fall onto my rib cage. Fixed it after coming through physio school in the ways I’m describing and haven’t had a twinge for decades. It’s logical and not particularly difficult to sort out. Outside New Zealand, doctors seem to have no understanding of the basis of costo at all; we find it straightforward. This is nutty. Please note that my New Zealand explanation is the only, repeat only, one that accounts for such specific pain and inflammation at the breastbone rib hinges and nowhere else in the body – general levels of Vitamin D, Omega-3, etc. simply do not account for that specific pain (though they do help reduce it). I’m lecturing on it to the two main medical conferences in NZ later this year.

      Good luck with the work. Best wishes, Steve August.

      • Hi Steve
        I have been using the back pod and can attest to the improvement I’ve had with my costo. I also do massage therapy and acupuncture and while it’s significantly better than it was a year ago or even two years ago (I’ve had this for 5 years), I still have some pain with it. What are your thoughts on prolotherapy for this condition? I’ve been looking into other ways to treat this so I can be rid of it permanently and wondered if prolotherapy would be a viable option?
        Thanks in advance for you thoughts,
        Tami

      • Just found this sight. I’m dealing with my worst experience of cost. I’m going on about six weeks. No one has ever suggested exercise or stretching or diet changes, just rest and anti inflammatory meds. I simply can’t rest any longer so I’m thrilled with what I’ve read here. I’m a senior citizen but I’m active and have been working out with a trainer for about a year now. And I love it! I have to stay in decent shape so I can lift my husband’s scooter in and out of the car! Thanks for all the info!

  10. Hi Guys,

    Thank you so much guys for this very informative post. Just one quick question, do any of you guys experienced panic attacks and shortness of breath if you have CC? Like most of you guys here, I got my CC in weight training. Lifting for already 12 years now got my CC about 5 years back. Having on/off outbursts. Pain is manageable yet the shortness of breath is my problem.

    Thank you!

      • I also experience shortness of breath when I have a flareup. From what I’ve been told when the inflammation is bad it affects the nerves and then makes you feel like you cannot breathe in deep. And it makes you feel like you can’t take another breath. It’s frightening and leads to the panic attack. When the attack comes on I lay on a inflated ball and open up my chest I lay on my back on the Bob. This helps calm the breathing down. The only thing that is helped me through all of this has been flector pain patches that were prescribed by my pain doctor two weeks ago . Diagnosed with this strange condition a month ago. Before that I was doing CrossFit. I’m very frustrated and ready to get moving again.
        So to answer your question the shortness of breath comes with the flareups. It’s the inflammation in your sternum it affects the nerves. I personally believe in a good pain doctor for the initial acute condition and then start to look into natural supplements and the fish oils. Also a low-carb Paleo type diet does help. It has help me.

    • Hi Fred and Jessica. Yes, shortness of breath is common with costo patients. The explanation is that the hinges where the ribs join onto your backbone are jammed. If the rib joints are jammed, then you can’t expand the rib cage fully, and therefore you can’t breathe in fully, hence the shortness of breath. Since the restricted rib movement at the back is what usually causes the compensatory excessive rib joint movement at the front (and therefore the irritation and inflammation there), the shortness of breath clears as you free up the posterior rib movement.

      It’s not just all the patients I’ve seen with this; I had it myself for seven years in my 20’s. Bashed up my ribs around the back on a climbing fall and they healed frozen. Finally worked out what was going on after I came through physio school in New Zealand, got the ribs unlocked and took my first full breath in in seven years. I remember it vividly! No problems since and that was decades ago, so, yes, costo is fixable. Cheers, Steve August.

  11. It seems like most people got costochondritis from weight lifting in the gym like me. I have had it for 8 months now and still no sign of getting better. I take fish oils everyday. use the back pod, stretch and try having good posture. I have done endless research on how to fix it. I have been to doctors and all they say is rest and take ibuprofen. I think its dumb that the people who are trying to weight lift and be healthy get injured and can no longer work out or even enjoy everyday activities like sports or a job. I wish there was a cure for this so people don’t have to sit around wasting their time waiting for it to heal for months to even years on end.

  12. I’m a massage therapist with several autoimmune disorders & have had “flare-ups” of costo. multiple times over the years. Personally having my chiropractor dry needle the adhesions between the ribs has given me faster results than anything else!!! A warning though, the process is painful but really on for a few seconds on each one. Pain scale rating before & after each spot reduces dramatically for me. Usually starting around 8 or so and dropping to maybe a three. With results like that is much easier to justify & sit for a painful therapy. 😄 I would also highly recommend icing that evening to reduce soreness the next day. Also, of course, gentle stretching for me is a must along w/ paying extras attention to my breathing. Combining the above, I’m normally able to work it out in just a few weeks!!! Before we tried the dry needling it could linger for months.
    I know how frustrating costo can be so I hope this helps

    • Whenever I rest on my sides I pay for it the next day. I don’t know why I do it knowing the consequences. I’m convinced my chronic pain will never go away.😭

      • Oh, for Heaven’s sake, mate – step up to it, buy a Backpod and see if it fixes it. It should do – the reason you get sore lying on your side is because the rib hinges around the back are jammed. Side lying therefore puts more pressure on the irritated rib hinges on the breastbone, so they get sorer. This is basic physio and the stuck hinges aren’t hard to free up. The Backpod is ideal for that – that’s one reason why we developed it. But you’ll ever know unless you try. Steve August.

        • Steve, your backpod and the following lifestyle adjustments improved my costo by 95%, after suffering for almost 2 years. Anti-inflamation diet, resistance exercises, and castor oil massages. Feels good to sleep on my sides again.

      • No James, don’t give up! Seriously try all the methods that people have given on this blog. One of them is bound to help you out.

        I couldn’t lay on my side either, I had to teach myself to lay on my back. It took a couple of nights but I finally was able to stay on my back.

        You are not alone nor are you the only one that has been through this excruciating pain. That is why this blog is here, to help people 🙂

      • I heard that megared omega 3 krill oil can either help with or get rid of Costochondritis. A guy on YouTube said he did stretching excercises and took megared and his was gone in a month. I’m considering trying it to see if it helps me. Has anyone heard of it or tried it?

        • Yes James, Megared is just a brand of Krill Oil. Have you tried Omega 3’s yet? Krill oil has a lower dose of Omega 3 than other Omega 3 capsules made from anchovy, sardine and/or mackerel. However, Krill oil is more likely to be absorbed based on it’s high bioavailability. Krill oil also has less chances of accumulating toxins. However, with all that I personally haven’t done the switch to Krill oil as I have had so much success with regular Omega 3 oils. It is my life saver. Even yesterday morning I woke up with really stiff joints and I took more Omega 3’s than normal and by mid day I was way better!

          • I have been doing stretching and using ice. I have been taking Aleve and megared. It has been months since I got this dreadful illness and I haven’t seen any improvement yet. Maybe it will never improve and I’m destined to remain like this until the day that I die.👎😢😡

          • When I cough it reminds me of a tuberculosis or lung cancer cough. My chest feels like it’s in a vice grip. 😭

          • Costochondritis is called The Devils Grip. It’s called that because it feels like the devil has your ribs in a vice grip. The devil has had my ribcage in a vice grip since July of last year and he keeps on tightening it. I will probably be in the devils grip until the day I die.😭🤒🤕

          • James, how are you doing? Have you tried tracking your sugar intake? I also noticed that myself and some of my clients will get flare ups when sugar in the diet is to high (sugar can definitely trigger inflammation in the body). Might be something to track

  13. Hi, I got CC 5 years back when I was 22 and now I’m 27 and I don’t know what did I do for it to come back. Maybe too much workout at the gym. 😦 I’m in pain now from my chest all the way to my back and it is terrible, also I can’t breath properly. I always feel irritable, worried and unease. Maybe I’m having anxiety because of this. Huhu! I’m taking some Ibuprofen prescribe by my Doctor but it doesn’t help. Been drinking a lot of green tea, hot compress, breathing exercise and light physical exercise, but it only goes for like minutes then back again. Been suffering again for a month now after 5 years of being free from it. Never knew fish oil would help, I will definitely try it and change my diet with much more healthy food.

    Thanks everyone for all the comments and suggestion, at least I know now I’m not alone. I hope it will disappear again so I can go back to my daily routine. Thanks again. 🙂

    • I started to feel a pressure in my chest last July. So I immediately thought I was getting a chest cold. I thought that was weird because how could I be getting sick in the summer. I went to a couple of doctors and told them about it and they thought I might be getting bronchitis or pneumonia. So they gave me cold medicines and antibiotics to try and get rid of it but it wouldn’t go away. Instead it kept on progressing. I dealt with it the best way I could. When winter came it was bitterly cold and in the negatives. After winter in March one day it hit me all of the sudden. I felt a sharp, stabbing pain on the right side of my rib cage. Then it fluctuated to my sternum and then to my left side of my ribcage. Then all of the sudden my entire ribcage felt like it was on fire and it had an excruciating burning feeling all over my entire ribcage. I immediately thought I was having a heart attack and had my girlfriend rush me to the ER. When I saw the doctor I told him I was in excruciating pain in my ribcage. He gave me an EKG and then a chest x-Ray. Then he took an ultrasound wand and put gel on it and rubbed it over my chest to check on my heart. Then he pressed on my ribs. The second he pressed on them it hurt so bad that I wanted to jump off the examining table. The EKG and chest x-Ray came back normal showing no heart problems and no lung problems. So he ruled out a heart attack or bronchitis and pneumonia. He then said based on the pain from touching the ribs that I might have Costochondritis. He told me it was an inflammation of the cartilage of the ribs and that’s why it was so painful. He said it could last anywhere from weeks to months to years. He said there isn’t much he could do to treat it. He said the only treatments for it was to take ibuprofen or use a heating pad or ice pack. I couldn’t believe that more couldn’t be done to treat me. I was so devastated. I was wondering how this happened to me. I didn’t really believe the diagnosis so after more ER visits and more doctors visits and more EKGS chest x-rays ultrasounds MRIs CT scans and blood work that was all normal maybe I’m starting to believe that the first ER doctor might be right. I have been in excruciating pain in my ribcage for the last seven months and just want this chronic and severe illness to go away. I have become severely depressed by this condition and it got so bad that I had to quit my job. I was able to suffer through the pain until May and then I had to quit my job because it was so bad that I felt like I was going to pass out at work and had to sit down all the time. I’ve been unemployed since May and have been denied unemployment and medical disability. The only way I have been surviving is by help from my girlfriend and parents. I’m so upset because I can’t live a normal life anymore because of this devastating illness. I have severe and chronic inflammation in my whole ribcage including my sternum. I’m weak tired and fatigued all the time. The pain spreads from my whole ribcage to my upper left shoulder and back. I even get pain in my stomach and sides. I was using the heating pad but I think I used it to much and long because it burned my chest and stomach so I had to stop using it. I only use the ice pack and anti inflammatory medicines but they don’t work very well and I’m still in constant pain. I heard that you can get steroid injections to ease the pain but the doctors refuse to give me any because they feel it won’t help. I cry sometimes because it’s so bad. I was given other medicine but it didn’t work. Nothing has worked. I’m so afraid that I have something wrong with me other than Costochondritis. I thought I might have some deadly disease or cancer but all my tests have said I don’t. I’m afraid I might have fibromyalgia or pleurisy or pericarditis. They say arthritis can cause Costochondritis. I think I might have that as well because I used to work in the extreme cold and my whole body would ache from it. They also say that you can get it from lifting heavy things wrong or getting hit in the chest. I also used to work at a heavy lifting job and might have caused it from that. They also say you can get it from over exercising because I have done that to. I don’t know what caused it but it could have been any of these things. They say you can’t die from Costochondritis but how can I be sure that this is what I have. It sure feels like I’m going to die. I don’t want to die. I’m to young to die. I want my life back. I live in fear each day hoping that I don’t die. If anyone else with this terrible illness reads this I would take comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one suffering from this and would like to hear from you about your story. P. S. I have had so much blood work done that a vein in my left arm got big and hard because of it. That can’t be normal. Also I get pain in my throat from this condition.

      • Hello James, you have come to the right site. We have SO much support here and ways to help relieve some of the discomfort. This is my website and my method worked for me and many others. Steve also comments on here and has joined the group who has a different method that seems to also work for people.
        Read some of Steve’s advice, or I am sure he will comment and give you any pointers. My advice for you though is this…
        What you are feeling is completely normal… I was there, I have been there. No one understood how much excruciating pain I was in and sometimes it felt like no one cared to know or understand. It is so frustrating when doctors can’t help with this because it is a huge deal, it is absolutely debilitating. But please don’t give up or feel like you have no hope, because there IS hope! I too, suffered for it for 5 years straight and my job is a personal trainer so it was so hard to deal with it. But I stuck to a method that helped me and it may help you too.
        I also thought I had arthritis but I don’t and you might not either. The best thing is to try to think positive and don’t convince yourself that you have more wrong with you. It’s costochondritis, it’s inflammation and it is extremely painful.
        Try upping your Omega 3 supplements, try rubbing tiget balm on the sore areas BEFORE bed, try slight door way stretches, be conscious of your posture (don’t let your chest cave in) that will only aggrevate it more.
        If you need anything, even just to talk or vent feel free to e-mail me fullbodydevelopments@live.ca
        Stay positive James, don’t let this get the best of you 😦

        • Thank you for replying back to me. It’s nice to know that there are others that I can talk to and turn to for support. It’s good to know that other people care about me and that I’m not the only one with this illness. I’m going to try and take your advice and hopefully things will work out.

        • Also, I was wondering if it’s ok to take vitamins and supplements with Aleve. They say Aleve might interact with the vitamins and supplements such omega 3. Just wanted to get your thoughts or opinions.

          • I took Omega 3 with Aleve and it was totally fine. If you do try the Omega 3 route, don’t worry about taking more than what the recommendation is. On mine it says 1-3 capsules (1 for basic health and up to 3 for arthritis) I take 3 capsules, and when I was in a ton of pain I would take 4 capsules. You cannot overdose on Omega 3 🙂 I really hope it helps.
            My theory is that our diet is too high in OMega 6. The ratio of 3:6 is suppose to be 1:1, today’s diet it’s 1:20. So WAY too much Omega 6 which is a pro-inflammatory. Seriously give it a try, hopefully you are one of the many that has found relief by just a supplement 🙂

        • You said it was ok to take Aleve and omega 3. I wanted to try your routine and see if it works. Would it be ok if I took Bromelain, Aleve and Omega 3 in the morning, omega 3 at lunch and then Bromelain, Aleve, and omega 3 at nighttime?

          • Do you find your pain is more on the one side then the other without stretching? For me, I remember my costo inflammation being bad on the right side and not so much on the left side. It will definitely “hurt” but don’t stretch it to the point of excruciating pain, only until you feel a slight stretch, does that make sense?

          • I went to the cardiologist today and he gave me a stress test on the treadmill to check my heart and took pictures of it. I tried more stretching excersises and it hurt on my left side again. I didn’t have pain when I walked and jogged on the treadmill. I was surprised. Maybe I really do have severe Costochondritis that will never go away. I can’t deal with this for life. It’s to much to bear. I wish the pain would just go away.

          • Don’t lose hope James. I swear I thought the exact same thing, I use to feel great and then I remember one night in particular, my husband and I were talking and I did one quick movement while doing the dishes and I fell to the ground crying and screaming in pain. My husband quickly ran to me and he couldn’t believe how much Costochondritis could hurt. Just try to stay positive and try many different methods to see what helps you 🙂

          • Hi James; also Jessica – how are you? Just adding my contribution – a couple of thoughts. I completely agree with Jessica – hit the problem with anything that’ll help: Omega 3, Aleve, Bromelain, etc. If that works to suppress and counter the inflammation, then great – it obviously does with some costo. So, problem solved there.

            However there are others where the med/supplement approach alone hasn’t worked, where clearly what’s driving the inflammation and pain around the rib joints on the breastbone are the jammed hinges at the back ends of the ribs. Your ribs are like bucket handles, with a hinge at both ends. They need to move to let you breathe. If the joints at the back are jammed, then the more delicate ones around the front have to work excessively, so they strain, get irritated, then inflamed – and there’s your costo. (Incidentally this won’t show on X-ray which is a still photo and can’t tell whether the hinges can move or not.) Note that this does explain why you get such specific pain and inflammation just at the rib joints on the breastbone and nowhere else in the body.

            James’ costo does sound like this type. That’s why it hurt him to stretch. A stuck rib joint isn’t like a tight muscle – you can get almost no leverage on it with your own movements. That’s why we use the Backpod – a spinal fulcrum which as far as I can tell is the only device around that can actually get enough leverage onto a stuck posterior rib joint to free it up. (Foam rollers can’t because of their cylindrical shape, though they’re great for other stuff.)

            Cheeringly, freeing up a stuck rib joint isn’t a big deal – it’s not a healing problem, just a tethering one. James, I’d suggest you try Jessica’s suggestions, but if that approach isn’t getting ahead of your problem on its own, then just add in the Backpod and my video suggestions as well. There are two youTube videos giving my New Zealand physio view of costochondritis – links are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvJbQFDeyOk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7ve6nNVdWc

            Jessica, I really ought to send you a Backpod so you can see what i’ve been rabbiting on about. Would you like to email me your address – to bodystance@gmail.com ?

            Cheers, Steve August.

          • Dear Steve, I have heard about the Backpod. I was wondering if you could send me a Backpod as well. I have heard good things about it and was hoping it could help me.

          • Hi James. Sorry – Jessica gets one free because it’s her blog and I appreciate her letting me make cheerful New Zealand comments on it from time to time. You’ll have to buy one yourself. I’m just the physio inventor. However go to our website http://www.backpod.co.nz and onto the BUY page. Click the red BUY NOW ONLINE button and that’ll take you to a New Zealand online pharmacy which sends Backpods around the world from NZ, including to the UK. Cheers, Steve August.

          • I have started taking the omega 3 fish oil pills with Aleve. I don’t see any difference in my condition. I’m very afraid that this illness is permanent. Every day that I survive is a miracle. The inflammation is so severe I don’t think it will ever go away. I’ve done everything medically possible that I can think of. The doctors refuse to give me steroids.

          • Has anybody done a full body cleanse? If so does it work? I’m considering going to an all vegetable and fruit diet to see if that works. I’m also considering doing the full body cleanse to see how it works.

          • I am convinced that I will never get rid of this dreadful illness and that I’m going to die. 😭

      • Hi James
        I’m so sorry you have been dealt this blow. As many of us can concur it is life changing especially if you are someone who is so physically active and then you suddenly cannot do the things you used to do. I have a similar story to yours – very active, worked out at gym all the time and loved it. Came down with a bad cough that wouldn’t go away but kept working out. Finally the cough went away but I was left with this horrible pain – and at the same time I injured myself at the gym. Bad combination and timing? Who knows. I’ve had this for 5 years but I did find tremendous relief from acupuncture and massage therapy. Conventional drugs did not do anything for me. If you read the post from Steve August, you need leverage to break up the collagen and that is tough stuff. I bought and have used the back pod and I know that was the thing that helped me obtain a great deal of relief too. I still continue massage. Some days are fine; other days (especially when it rains and is humid) I’m not as comfortable. But for the most part I have my life back. I started doing yoga (something a gym rat like me used to consider ‘boring’ and too slow) and wow , that also really helps to stretch things out and maintain flexibility and movement. I used to swim competitively for 12 years and competed in the Olympic Trials. I mention this only because for me, a good workout was something i used to relish! If I walked out the gym drenched in sweat and out of breath or climbed out of the pool exhausted I was happy because I knew I had pushed myself to the limits. I can’t do that stuff right now, but I am working my way back to that level. Slowly. If I can come out of a yoga class feeling less pain than when I walked in, that is success and a step in the right direction. I also really consider acupuncture a life saver – it took time and many sessions over a few months but it was the first thing I tried after drugs failed and when I finally noticed relief from it I felt like dancing. So those are things I’ve tried and found helped. Everyone is different but you can find something too that will work and will help give you your life back. Don’t give up – start slow and do what you can. It really really stinks – I agree. It’s super painful. My pain has subsided about 80-85% from it’s worst point 3-4 years ago. If you try acupuncture, find a traditional chinese practitioner and don’t trust just anyone who hangs a shingle claiming to do it. It takes someone who’s really trained in it to know what to do. Diet changes also help a lot! I gave up sugar for 6 months to see if it made a difference and for me it did. I’ve introduced some sugar back into my diet (I’m human) but clean eating also helps! Also wanted to let you know of another site you may find help from – it’s called “Healing from Costochondritis and tietzes syndrome naturally.” It’s a closed FB group but you can send a message to the owner of the group and she will approve it. She is a holistic health coach and is super knowledgeable about this and has helped me a ton! She’s not out to sell you anything but she has collected a lot of information on this and maintains it on the site in the “Files” section. She had this for 8 years and has quite the story to tell too. Reach out to her at that group and check out her files for information. You’ll also be able to find the video conference call she posted with Steve August that we did several months back. Very good stuff. Good luck! Tami

        • Thanks for getting back to me. I need all the support I can get. I’m glad there are others that care about me. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one with this illness. It’s nice to have someone to talk to about this. I will try and take your advice and hopefully things will work out.

          • James- this blog and the fb page Steve recommended were life savers for me.
            I couldn’t be more thankful for them. I got my life back. It took me a long time to recover. About a year to year and a half. I saw best relief & results with no sugar gluten, soy & dairy diet because they were triggers for me. The back pod, stretching, chiropractic care helped immensely. I get massages frequently and try to keep stress levels down. I also had severe hormonal imbalances and gastritis (inflammation of stomach lining) that I’m still dealing with. It takes time.. You aren’t going to see immediate relief. Be patient with yourself. If I stray from diet I feel bad but not as it use to. Every month is better. Hang in there do research on inflammation triggers & diets and vitamin d & magnesium deficiency Get to a good chiropractor. What works for one might not for all. But Jessica is correct about the omega 6:3 ratio. . Western Drs didn’t help me at all. If possible look for a functional medicine dr. Hang in there!

      • I have been dealing with costo for 23 momths, after doing dips. In am now about 95% better. I am on a anti-inflammatory diet, I do light resistance exercise, light weights mainly curles, after which I give myself a castor oil massage of the sternum and ribcage. Every evening I use the backpod for alignment purposes. I am able to sleep on my sides once again. This may not sound like much to those who have never dealt with costo, but to me it is a blessing. My favorite anti-inflammatory smoothy is 1 cup brown rice milk, 3 to 4 tablespoons of barbarian yogurt, 1 tablespoon of manuka honey, 1 teaspoon ground flax seed, and 1/2 avocado. I drink 1 each morning. It has proven successful for me after many months of trail and error. I try to stay away from the pharmaceuticals as much as possible. I am a firm believer in the fact that the body can heal itself if we feed it the correct natural elements it needs. I hope this will help someone.

  14. Lots of Fish oil (omega 3) and chiropractors you guys! It fixed my costo in a week! Pain free in one visit! It’s all in the spine as that NZ guy mentioned.

    • That’s great, Mohammed. I’m the NZ guy. Yes – of course it’s not a mystery and of course it’s fixable. A word of caution though – manipulation can unlock the stuck rib hinges round the back that are the basis of costochondritis pain at the front, and you get fast relief. Obviously this is your case and that’s great. But if they’ve been jammed for months or years, the tough collagen around the hinges will have stiffened down around them. This will freeze them up again quite quickly. That’s why you get that common story of people going back to the chiro again and again to get the same hinges unlocked.

      All you have to do is stretch the collagen around them and they’ll stay free. But you need strong, specific, sustained leverage to do that – collagen is seriously tough stuff. That’s what we use the Backpod for – as far as I know it’s the only thing around that can get enough specific leverage onto those rib hinges to free them up so they’ll stay free. General exercises and foam rollers can’t do that – they haven’t got the specific leverage needed. It’s not difficult – just needs enough sustained oomph, and you can do it yourself at home.

      For anyone who hasn’t come across what I’m talking about with costo, there are two Youtube videos on the New Zealand physio view of it: ‘How to fix most costochondritis and Tietze’s syndrome chest pain’ Parts (1) and (2). The links are https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvJbQFDeyOk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7ve6nNVdWc

      Pleased it’s working! Cheers, Steve August.

    • Yeah, I’ve been doing this for a year with no success. No diet changes, nothing helps. Not the Backpod either – that one only hurts me each time I try. Some people are lucky. Others aren’t.

      • Hi Mimmi. Sorry to hear that. I’m the NZ guy who invented the Backpod. Hmm – there’s no pain if you lie on the Backpod and all the spinal and rib hinges around the back are moving fine. All the Backpod’s doing is requiring them to move fully, and stretching them back towards that if they can’t. So for you to be sore lying on the Backpod, the hinges are still tight or frozen – and that’s what drives the overdue costo pain at the front rib hinges.

        You could simply be doing too much in one go – like trying to force down to the floor if your hamstrings were so tight you couldn’t touch your knees. Of course that’ll hurt. Do read the instructions with the Backpod about just using enough pillows under your head so it’s only initially uncomfortable – which disappears as things stretch.

        If you mean you’re getting more pain around the front after using the Backpod, the commonest reason for that is simply that you’re also tight and scarred on the muscles around the front, mostly the pecs. So with the Backpod freeing up the hinge movement around the back, the tethering scarring around the front gets tugged on more, and gets stirred up. All this needs is a sports massage – for the muscles overlying and between the ribs at the back and sides, plus the pecs around the front.

        Do feel free to send me some more info about your particular problem – I can give more accurate advice from more data. Stuff like how old you are, how the costo came on, where’s the pain when you lie on the Backpod, are you using pillows under your head, any other medical conditions, what you’ve already tried, etc. If you’d sooner, use the email on our website http://www.backpod.co.nz

        I truly don’t think it’s luck – it’s just doing the right things for it, accurately. Cheers, Steve August.

        • Hi Steve!

          I’m 42 and got Costo after too intense workouts ( too much lifting etc.). What happens after I use the Backpod is that some sore spots on the front of my ribs get activated and hurt. Sometimes I feel this like a day after. It’s a hallmark of cc – sore spots along the ribs. Sometimes they sit quiet, but after the Backpod they simply start hurting. My breathing has been bad all this time, but when these spots get activated, this becomes a nightmare. The chest is even heavier, as the muscles seem irritated even more. Yes, on the front – on the back I can be a bit sore, but not really much. I’ve tried massage, but it brings only temporary relief.

          I use a huge pillow with the Backpod and have never managed to lay on the Backpod for more than 30 sec/one area. Things get constantly aggravated, so I get frustrated and stop using the Backpod. Then I get back to it for 10 sec and that usually works. But as soon as I want to increase – no way. But my pecs are tight – the massage helps, but only for a bit. Also, it hurst exacly under my breasts, so the access there is hard even for myself (I need to dig), not to mention any practitioner, many of whom are males. I try to strech the pecs gently or use a tennis ball on them – they get tighter from that in my eyes. I don’t have a clue what I can do more. This is ruining my life – I’m not a wife, mother and career girl any longer. I’m just a miserable mess…
          Mimmi

  15. Icing…interesting. What ever helps. Lyrica for me which I take for neuropathy..doesn’t work. It has been 15 years and to no avail ..nothing. It has altered my life and I guess that I can say I have ran the gamut..now I pray that others find a way to cope and are able to put it behind them. God bless

  16. Hi everyone. I am 28, and had the most horrendous weekend in the hospital trying to figure out what was wrong. After extensive and painful testing, it was concluded that I have costocondritis. Like most people on here, there were some really scary moments when I thought I was having a heart attack or something and I would agree that stress and anxiety make all of the symptoms worse. I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory and took it once an got such terrible pains and diarrhea, as well as no relief, that I decided to just stick with Advil instead.

    I’m excited to see that omega 3 has helped so many. That will be something I will try right away. I’ll update you all on how it goes. I’m hopefull it will work. I’m also going to be contacting a chiropractor this week to try to get in and see if she can offer some solutions as well. Anything is worth a shot.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions and sharing. It’s such a relief to finally hear others talking about it. No one I know seems to know what it is and it makes me feel like a crazy person.

    • Hello Allison,

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you find relief using Omega 3 and can get back to your norm again. Keep us posted on how you are doing and if you find anything that helped you along the way.

      P.S. I know how you feel when no one knows what costochondritis is…they look at you very confused lol

      Take care and definitely keep us posted 🙂

  17. I’ve had costochondritis for 3+ Years now. I finally started taking Lyrica a few months ago and that has taken away the really intense pain. My baseline pain remains, and I’m still icing every 1-2 hours.

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  19. After one year I have finally recovered from costochondritis, from a point where I would get immense pain from even taking deep breaths, to now, where I can do a full push-up workout without my chest giving me pain. For those interested, read the following:

    1. Who my recovery plan will help:
    This will only help people who experienced the same onset of costo symptoms as I: a GRADUAL build up of pain, rather than a sudden onset. When my pain first started, I was doing exercise with gymnastic rings and there was a reasonable (6/10) pain in my sternum. I continued to do the same exercise and the pain increased to 8/10, but still not so noticeable whilst not doing exercise. I then avoided chest exercises completely, but the pain remained largely the same and then began to get worse. I made a point to strictly avoid doing activities that could be annoying my chest, but the pain continued to get worse, and all activities became painful, even just deep breathing and twisting my torso. If this type of gradual pain onset sounds familiar, then I am almost entirely sure that you will recover in the same way that I did, as I describe below.

    2. What I did to improve:
    First note that I found all types of antiinflammatory medicine (turmeric etc) to be ineffective, my recovery was purely exercise based.
    It appeared that the pain seemed to get worse as I did less exercise, but this did not seem likely since when I tried exercising and doing more for a few days, the pain would come on worse than ever. I went to a couple of physios, who both told me to rest till the pain had gone (I now see in hindsight that this is completely the wrong approach). So I rested for months and nothing changed. Desperate, I then went to a new physio who gave me the following advice, which is the rule that I have stuck to ever since and is all I needed to know to improve:

    ”Do as much movement/ exercise as you can, but staying below 4/10 on the pain scale”

    When following this, the following are important:
    – ‘exercise’ can be absolutely anything that gives you a small amount of pain (< 4/10) – aim for about a 2/10 pain. For the first two weeks, deep breathing was enough to give me pain and so every hour I would cause myself some discomfort forcing deep breaths. The following couple of weeks, I began doing light pec stretching, and pushing out my chest etc. In the following weeks and months, exercises would gradually become more intense as the pain allowed. Note that my pain only initially got worse when I was doing dips because these were v painful (ie. significantly more than a 4/10 pain), and I was not doing enough light exercise (< 4/10 pain) on the chest otherwise.
    – the pain gets WORSE for a few days before it gets better: this is the tricky part, and the part that had stopped me from doing this kind of thing in the past. Once you do 'exercise' for one day, the chest is a lot more painful for following 2-3 days. During this time, it is fine to ease off with the 'exercise'. But after this flare up, resume with the 'exercise'. There is therefore a cycle of exercising and subsequent flare up. After 2-4 weeks however I found that on the days that I was exercising, I seemed able to do slightly more with my chest without as much pain. 1-2 months after, improvements were definitely apparent (albeit slow). It then took me about 5 months of this to doing my first pushup without more than a 4/10 pain. And a few more months more till I could do a pushup with no pain.

    For those suffering with the same kind of pain as I had, I cannot emphasize how much I recommend following this plan, paying attention to the long time-scales involved. Don't expect immediate improvement.

      • Paulina for me any exercise that put strain on my chest (but < 4/10) was helpful. Literally anything. You can just make it up, depending on the severity of your costo – deep breathing, torso twists, or if it is not so bad some abs exercises may be suitable.

        • Hey Ben,
          So you have fully recovered from costo? Did it ever come back? Did you get some pain in your arms and back at times??? Im so worried. I will stick to your routine. Im not taking any medications. I have good days and bad days. I definately breathe better but i still feel some blockage. I feel like my chest is bruised and it hurts when i touch the chest. It feels even worse the next day when you exercise and thats when i get discouraged. Do you still exercise once you have fully recovered?? Any other tips?? Did you change your diet?? Supplememts??

          • I have fully recovered in the sense that costo doesn’t stop me from doing anything (including lengthy pushup workouts). I do still get chest pain, and I expect that it’ll remain there forever, but like I say it is no problem – the pain is very slight. It doesn’t worry me in the slightest because the recovery was 100% linear (steady improvements every week or two) and was only due to my exercising on it. The pain would come back if I stopped doing all exercise, but this would never happen because I could simply just stretch the chest daily.
            I never did get back and arm pain however – if i put my palm over my sternum, that pretty much covers all the areas in which I was getting pain. But my sternum did hurt when pressed even slightly, yes.
            It is very worrying when pain gets worse after exercise, yes, but give it at very least a month before becoming discouraged – improvements are slow. I think it would be hard/impossible to improve if you don’t push the chest beyond its comfort zone, so yes more pain in the short term (eg. 1-3 days following exercising the chest) is inevitable.
            At the moment, I have a few other injuries, so can’t do much sport/exercise, but I still stretch the chest daily for about 10m/day and this is enough to stop it from getting worse whilst i’m immobile otherwise – really not a hinderance.
            Before deciding to exercise on the chest, I tried various supplements and found nothing to help in the slightest.
            Don’t let your spirits drop! I look forward to hearing your progress.

    • Dear Hope,

      Its really sad to know your condition. But I’m sure you’ll recover soon.

      As you been dealing with this pain for quite sometime I just felt the same last week. I feel sharp pain in the form of waves sometimes below the chest bones & ribs especially on the left side and it lasts for seconds and goes back. When in rest position, lets say using laptop or resting the shoulders I also feel stiffness and pain in shoulders and between the shoulder blade which seems to be the origin. Diagnosed with ECG & all, it’s not the heart disease. Sometimes feels if liver is hurting when I walk or take food.

      What can you say about this condition. My doctor has not yet reached to any conclusion. Kindly advice. Thx

      • Hi Maq and Jessica. Maq – I think you just explained your costochondritis yourself, where you say you “also feel stiffness and pain in .. between the shoulder blade which seems to be the origin.” That’s exactly right. The rib hinges around the back are jammed, so the front rib hinges have to do all the movement needed for you to breathe. (Don’t stop doing that..) So they strain and get irritated and inflamed and that’s what causes the pain on the breastbone. Have a look at some comments I’ve made on Jessica’s blog. Omega 3 will help your body handle the inflammation – it’s good stuff – but freeing up the stuck hinges at the back causing it fixes the core of the problem. There’s a New Zealand approach and explanation I’ve put up in a couple of YouTube videos – links are on a comment by me on Jessica’s blog here. Cheers, Steve August.

    • Hi Ben and Jessica. I’m the physio who’s put a couple of comments on Jessica’s site (on December 10, 2015 and January 31, 2016) giving the New Zealand view of most costochondritis (CC) as caused by frozen rib hinges around the back. If those hinges are stuck, then the more delicate rib joints which hinge onto your breastbone have to work overtime just to let you breathe. So they get irritated, then inflamed – and there’s your CC. Not hard to fix once you see the problem in those terms.

      I do think there’s probably also a version of CC which can be settled by taking Vitamin D, Omega 3, turmeric, anti-inflammatories, etc. – but mostly it’s a mechanical problem so you have to treat it mechanically. I know you find your Omega 3 and other sensible medications helped heaps, Jessica, but you’re also a serious gym type with great posture so you’ve probably also worked through the mechanical freeing up in the way Ben has.

      That’s what you did, Ben. The medication approach didn’t work with your CC, so you worked into the painful movement over a year which means you worked the tight hinges reasonably free. Well done for sucking it up and working into the pain – lots of people wouldn’t do that.

      As a manual (hands-on) physio in NZ we’d aim for the same goal – freeing up the tight rib cage movement. You can get there a lot faster and (I think) more completely with more leverage on the tight rib hinges at the back. (Your own movements have limited leverage on any specific joint.) We use a shaped, cushioned fulcrum which the patient lies back on and which has enough specific leverage to actually stretch the very tough, tightened collagen material which will otherwise hold a frozen joint stuck. It’s just a matter of getting enough specific force where it’s needed – like stretching a really tight hamstring, and the timing is similar.

      I’ve put up a couple of YouTube videos giving the New Zealand view and treatment approach of CC – you might them a good fit with what you’ve been going through. It’s a standard NZ logical manual physio approach, which really doesn’t seem to be in the UK or US. We just don’t find CC difficult to sort out once you see it as essentially a frozen posterior rib hinge problem, instead of a mysterious inflammation which nobody understands.

      Here are the links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvJbQFDeyOk

      Best wishes,

      Steve August.

  20. I just have to say thank you a TON for this post. I’m only 29 and was just diagnosed with costo 2 weeks ago. I was absolutely devastated with this diagnosis as I had to give up my hobbies and had to move back in with my parents because I can only work part time (and I can just barely get through the day). I will do anything to get well again. Even if I could just walk outside without feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack. I’ve lost sleep at night because I’m just so worried that this is my life from now on. This is no way to live. I am going to try the omega-3, but I’m just wondering, so it matter if it is in the oil or supplement pill form? And what dosage should I start at, per day? I really appreciate any advice you could give me. I just want my life back.

    • Hi Ranna, so sorry to hear about the pain causing you to quit your hobbies. 😦 I have tried both oil and pill form for Omega 3, and both work wonderfully. I actually had a slight flare up 2 days ago and realized the pain, took 3 omega 3 supplements (in pill form) and 2 days later the pain is completely gone. I always up my dosage when the pain appears, as you cannot overdose on Omega 3. So for you, if you take the oil form and I believe most is a tsp/day, I would take a tbsp. For pill, most say 1-2/day.. i take 3-4/day.
      Keep me posted if it helps. Give it some time as your pain seems to be pretty bad currently. So within a week you should hopefully feel some sort of a difference 🙂

    • Dear Ranna,

      Its really sad to know your condition. But I’m sure you’ll recover soon.

      As you been dealing with this pain for quite sometime I just felt the same last week. I feel sharp pain in the form of waves sometimes below the chest bones & ribs especially on the left side and it lasts for seconds and goes back. When in rest position, lets say using laptop or resting the shoulders I also feel stiffness and pain in shoulders and between the shoulder blade which seems to be the origin. Diagnosed with ECG & all, it’s not the heart disease. Sometimes feels if liver is hurting when I walk or take food.

      What can you say about this condition. My doctor has not yet reached to any conclusion. Pls answer. Thx

  21. I am 23 years old and have had chronic costochondritis for over 7 years now – I was diagnosed with ptsd at 15 years old, and my body had started to move into a protective state over my organs. When I finally went to physio over a year later, she asked if I had been in a traumatic car accident (I had not been) as all my muscles were in a severe state of trauma. She went over exercises with me to reteach my muscles not to involuntarily contract into a protective state. The year of my body caving into itself due to involuntary muscle contraction ended up bruising my ribs and after tons of testing (for masses, heart problems, etc.) it was concluded that I have costochondritis – at that time I was told it may stick around for a couple of months at most – now I’m over 7 years going strong. I was very active growing up, playing sports – I had to stop all of that and initially was taken off work for 5 months, as even just lifting my arms caused extreme pain. They gave me T3’s and percosets, which I stopped after two weeks as I’m pretty sure all I did was stare at the carpet for that entire duration. After that, I swore off any and all prescribed painkillers from doctors, especially since they only mask the pain – which makes it terrible to go back off them. I was told not to do cardio or heavy lifting as my flare ups can be triggered by physical or emotional stress. When I would have a flare up, I would go to the doctor (I have been to several – more than ten) and have always either had drugs offered or actually had to explain to the doctor what costochondritis is. After a while I stopped going to the doctor for this condition which was discouraging.

    Over time – the only form of exercise I find that I can do on a regular on-going basis is hot yoga. The heat of the room combined with the stretches and exercises of Bikram hot yoga allowed me to get back in shape, building up the muscles around my ribs which gives me more support = less pain from costo. Hot yoga can be quite expensive, and it is worth the money, however being a student in post-secondary and then having to pay off my loans doesn’t really allow for hot yoga on my budget. Hot yoga takes willpower to get through the first couple weeks while your body adjusts to the heat – but if you can get through that – it is a god send.

    I have finally found a doctor who addresses all my concerns and is trying to find solutions for my ribs (the first) rather than push drugs on me. He will be starting me in regulated physio-therapy, massage-therapy, and arthritis anti-inflamitories (once the benefits kick in – 2 more months!). He even did testing for rheumatoid arthritis (negative :-D) and took full x-rays of my rib cage so that we can track if my ribs start getting more wonky – My rib cage is disfigured now (ribs over-lapping), and my front ribs joints crack (like cracking finger knuckles) when I straighten up my posture.

    For pain, I have mostly just taken ibuprofen, used heat rice-bags, and taken baths. I do stretches at home and in the office – however I am mostly looking forward to benefits (as then I can start therapy, which will hopefully help).

    Costo has not subsided for me over the years – I am very interested in reading about the omega 3/6 balances – and the New Zealand doctor had input that I had never heard before (pain in the front coming from immobilization from the back rib joints).

    Many people in my life are unaware that I suffer from this – as I don’t tend to complain, explain or mention it to people. My fiance has said that in between flare ups (where I have to take days off work) it would be difficult for anyone to even tell I suffer from this, as I am stubborn and push myself, and don’t complain. I am thankful for him as he pushed me to keep looking for a doctor who would help (as I have now found) and if he sees me carrying or lifting things such as groceries or things around the house or in public – he just silently comes over and takes them from me without asking and carries/lifts them himself.

    I feel like this will be a forever thing – but I am hopeful with my new doctor, coming benefits, hopefully back to hot yoga soon – and my fiance for knowing when I need help and how to go about it in my comfort zone. These blogs I have been coming to and reading for a long time now for feelings of support when I am extremely sore (this is my 4th day off of work now consecutively) and this is my very first post. It feels nice to have an online community for support & reading about what has helped others.

    • Hi. Don’t give up. I had costochondrits for seven years, fixed it (sensibly and logically) and haven’t had a twinge for the last 20 years. I’m the New Zealand physio explaining that most CC comes from the rib hinges at the back being jammed. I’d bet that’s your problem, because the hinges at the front click and release when you stretch. They’re doing that because the hinges at the back are stuck and the front ones are the only ones that can move.

      Also, you’ve described various treatments, but you haven’t mentioned anything that will specifically free up those back rib hinges – just massage and strengthening alone usually won’t do that: they haven’t got the leverage. I guess you’ve seen my two YouTube videos explaining this – have a look at the comments as we’re getting really good feedback about the approach working. Link to Part 1 is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvJbQFDeyOk Cheers, Steve August.

    • Dear Hope,

      Its really sad to know your condition. But I’m sure you’ll recover soon.

      As you been dealing with this pain for quite sometime I just felt the same last week. I feel sharp pain in the form of waves sometimes below the chest bones & ribs especially on the left side and it lasts for seconds and goes back. When in rest position, lets say using laptop or resting the shoulders I also feel stiffness and pain in shoulders and between the shoulder blade which seems to be the origin. Diagnosed with ECG & all, it’s not the heart disease. Sometimes feels if liver is hurting when I walk or take food.

      What can you say about this condition. My doctor has not yet reached to any conclusion. Pls answer. Thx

  22. Hello!!
    I was so glad to find this blog and all the replies! I am 26 and I first had costo about 2 years ago and have had it several times since then. The thing for me is the flare ups – going through the panic of ‘am I having a heart attack’ etc etc, which makes it worse and I get the sharp pain, but also a dull ache around the chest area. It normally lasts for a few days, but could be longer. I can’t seem to predict what will bring one on, sometimes I can go for months but then I will be in the gym (just doing what I normally do) and something must trigger it as it starts again! I don’t know if it’s exercise or stress or sometimes a mixture of both! I think it affects my breathing too as I often start to panic that something is wrong, which makes my chest feel tighter and heavier, does anyone else have this? I try to remind myself that it is the same feeling as I have had before and not to panic and that it will ease – easier said that done when I am on the cross trainer and feel a sharp pain!! I am trying to control it with anti inflammatory tablets at the moment and hope that that will help!
    Thank-you for all the tips, it is reassuring to read through other peoples stories and that there can be an end in sight for this :)!

  23. Hi Jessica.

    I’m the New Zealand physio who made some comments on your blog back on September 3. I’ve been having an interesting time with costochondritis (CC). In manual physiotherapy in NZ we just don’t see it as a big deal – it’s not mysterious and it responds readily and logically to treatment.

    It IS an inflammation, sure, but it’s inflamed because of mechanical irritation of the rib joints where they hinge onto the breastbone, and this is because the joints at the back ends of the ribs where they hinge onto the spine are frozen. This isn’t hard to sort out.

    It seems to me that some CC will settle down by taking Omega-3, turmeric, anti-inflammatory medications, etc. These essentially suppress the inflammation of the rib joints around the front. If so, great. But there are so many stories of people who’ve suffered from it for years. I’m sure these are the ones where no matter what you take it’s not going to fix the problem – because you have to treat the mechanical cause of the inflammation, not just try and suppress it once it’s there.

    I’ve been concerned enough to stick up a YouTube video explaining all this: ‘How To Fix (most) Costochondritis and Tietze’s Syndrome Chest Pain.’ Your CC readers might like to have a look and see if it sounds like them. I’m not at all saying it’s the answer to every case of CC, but I reckon it would be for those that don’t clear up with medications, etc.

    Cheers, Steve August, physio.

    • I go to a carpractor and he always works on front,but I think like you it comes from my back,should I ask him to work on my back next time.This causes me altos of pain ,I’m a custodian at a school and it makes it worse .help kendra

      • Hi Kendra. Yes, definitely ask him to look at your rib hinges around the back. In my experience, they’re usually the cause of the pain around the front. Have a look at the two YouTube videos we’ve put up which explains this really thoroughly: ‘How to fix (most) costochondritis and Tietze’s Syndrome chest pain’.

        We’ve just put up a Part 2 which gives the best type of manipulation for the back rib hinges and other details of how you can treat the problem. It’s perfectly reasonable for you to ask the chiropractor to have a look at them.

        Health practitioners vary, and generally the ones that don’t listen aren’t much good at what they do anyway. If your one refuses to even look at the videos, find someone else (maybe an osteopath). Good luck, Steve August, NZ physio.

        • Hi Steve, I have recently found out that I have Costochondritis after having chest & back x-rays done due to a 2 week constant terrible cough. I’ve never heard of Costo before or ever suffered from it until now. I’ve noticed that in a previous comment you posted, you state you haven’t suffered from this for 20 years now so my question to you is, what did you do to fix it?…did you have your back rib hinges fixed somehow or was it something else you tried & it worked for you? I was going to try Tiger Balm to help ease the pain seeing as I only have the pain when I cough or sneeze. Thanks for any information you can provide me.

          • Hi Elizabeth. Actually coughing is a pretty common cause of costo. It doesn’t sound like much, but every time you cough there’s a strong percussive impact on the rib hinges. I’ve seen cracked ribs just from coughing – and not just in the elderly either – so it can definitely impact significantly on the rib joints. I’m a New Zealand manual physiotherapist. We view costo as essentially caused by jammed rib hinges at the back (called the costovertebral joints) which then means the more delicate hinges at the front of the ribs where they hinge onto your breastbone have to work excessively just to let you breathe. So they get irritated, then inflamed, then they’re called costochondritis.

            I’m starting to think there may be two types of costo: one version which is mild enough to be controlled by omega 3, vitamin D, anti-inflammatories, etc.; and the mechanical version I’ve just described. If it’s the jammed rib joint version, you get breathless as well (because the rib hinges can’t move to let you breathe fully), anything you take only lessens the pain somewhat and doesn’t last, and without treatment of the jammed rib hinges they can just stay stuck indefinitely – certainly for years.

            I’ve put up two YouTube videos describing this type and what to do about it: ‘How to fix (most) costochondritis and Tietze’s Syndrome chest pain’ Parts (1) and (2). You can see all the patient comments on them also.

            Good luck – yours sounds like the jammed rib version, which is readily fixable. Think of it like having the hand brake jammed on in the car. The vehicle’s fine, just have to free up that specific bit of machinery. Hi, Jessica! Cheers, Steve August.

  24. Hi everyone, I just want to confirm that Omega 3 really helps. I have been suffering of costochondritis after a long period of intensive push-ups training and I had an intense pain on the right side of my sternum. It wouldn’t go away unless stopping my training for 3 weeks, with disastrous consequences on my fitness level.
    I have started taking Omega 3 and magically the pain disappeared after 2-3 days. I am now taking them in small daily amounts and I can keep training full power. What also played a big role in my opinion is the quality of my training. I wasn’t warming up properly and doing exercises without paying attention to the form. Thanks a lot for this page, it really helped me big time!

  25. I was so glad to find you page tonight. I have been in so much pain today and wondered if anyone out there had any other ideas which might assist me. I contracted pneumonia then pluricey in May 2015 and was off work for 2.5 months. I then crawled back to work as a Nurse Manager of a blue chip company my team and I were outsourced after ten years loyal service last Sept. I was diagnosed 7 months after onset of pnumonia with CC. The pain has been unbearable at times my concentration and thought processing reduced dramatically. It has affected my second voluntary role which is very important to me. I have gradually pushed on to rebuilding my life and fighting hard against the pain which has been immensely debilitating. The things I have tried that are positive steps to recovery. Deep tissue massage with a private physio who specialises in chronic pain on my back for 40 mins twice a week initially which included acupuncture was a God send. However I often feel the 45 min drive each way does not help. Paracetamol and ibuprofen. Tramadol, codeine and other various drugs made me feel so ill with awful side effects. Voltrol cream twice a day to affected areas and glucosamine gel when pain is reduced which is a more natural gel. Regular paracetamol topped up with Nurofen plus if on a bad day help. I have tried Devils Claw which some people recommended no luck. I have had 8 trigger point injections of anaesthetic and steroids over my back no improvement. Stress makes it worse. I thought like others that my heart was going to jump right out of my chest with severe palpitations elevated b/p and acute anxiety all investigations negative. My life has changed dramatically but I have been working part time on various nursing roles to rebuild my confidence. I will look into omega 3 now and some of the other supplements recommended on here. I also start a new full time job in the next couple of weeks and with some reasonable adjustments to accommodate CC I will succeed. Thank you

    • Hi Sharon – I’m sorry to hear you are dealing with this. I have found a lot of helpful information on this site too, but I wanted to also point you to another site and I think you will find a ton of great information and help there. It’s a Facebook group called “Healing from costochondritis and tietzes syndrome naturally.” It is moderated by a holistic health coach who had costo for over 8 years. She had a host of other issues along with costo and has been pain free for quite some time now – you should connect with her. She is a wealth of information and has posted a lot of information on the site. You just need to request to be added to the group and she’ll approve it. I found a lot of helpful advice there! The site is all about healing naturally without the use of medications. I have had costo for 4 years and have had it under control for the last several months – pain free that is! Like you, I did acupuncture which was the best thing I did that turned things around. I found however that the one thing that worked best for me was giving up processed sugar, which for me was contributing to much of the inflammation I experienced. It was not easy but 100% worth it! Since I gave up processed sugar I have been 95% pain free for the last month and it continues to get better. If I slip and eat something that includes processed sugars I can definitely feel a difference. I pair it with massage therapy which combined has been the thing that has given me my life back. At its worst I had days where I could hardly get out of bed. I am now back to working out and enjoying life as I once did. I take a few supplements such as magnesium, and glucosamine/chondroitin, and a product called Zentho which has a number of natural supplements to ease inflammation. I also regularly take epson salt baths and I use black seed oil that i rub over my sternum/chest every night. This is a terrible condition – but for the first time in 4 years I can function and all without medications. What works for me may not work for others, but after all the reading I’ve been doing about how harmful sugar is to the body and how addictive it is, I wish I had given it up much sooner. I also eat an anti-inflammatory diet (which is also key – so many foods contribute to inflammation!) and I make sure to get enough sleep. That’s what has worked for me. Good luck and connect with that FB group. It’s a great support group!

    • Sharon,
      Your story sounds like my story of the onset of Costochondritis!
      I am currently taking Neurontin, Gabapentinband and Norco to manage this condition.
      I take Omegas in flax seed flour and fish oil did nothing for me.
      I stretch and watch my posture. My faith in the Lord Jesus and the love from my family and friends is all that is helping make it day to day. The pain can be debilitating at times.
      I hope that your new job is something that you can make work!

  26. Hi! So this is a weird question but has anyone experienced extreme belching from Costco? Diagnosed with Costco a few months ago after months of pain and panic attacks. At first I thought the burping was from the fish oil I started taking 3x times a day but I’ve stopped taking the fish oil and have days where I belch uncontrollably…. Without stomach pain. The belching is no stop and comes from my chest. It’s so bizarre. It’s exhausting after a while and feels like I can’t breathe properly. Anyone else experience this? I know it’s a weird one…

    • Hi I experience the belching also. Had costo a year now. The belching lasted two months the first time and returned last month for a week. I take no supplements only IB and eat meat, poultry and veggies. I will start a journal to see when or if the belching returns.

    • Anne, I also experience extreme belching with costochondritis along with shortness of breath and inability to take a full, deep breath. The strange thing is I don’t have sharp shooting pains in my chest like others describe. My pain presents itself as a heavy pressure in my chest which an ER doctor told me pressure and heaviness is also considered pain. I do have pains down my arms and in my shoulders though. I thought the digestive issues were separate until I found a Dutch chiropractor’s website in which he says that indigestion/belching go hand in hand with costochondritis and Tietze. I hope you read this as it’s been many months since you posted, and it puts your mind at ease about the “strange” symptoms. You’re not alone.

  27. Costochondritis – Muscle Pain All Gone
    I started having the pain in my chest and thought like many of you it was a heart attack. After visiting a Cardiologist and many test, it was determine I had Costochondritis. I went on iburproen and steroids will very little luck. Not trying to sell you anything, but my daughter who is an Advocare rep ordered me “Muscle Gain” from her web site https://www.advocare.com/150613100/ and within 5 days all the muscle pain is gone, only took half the daily recommended dosage. Never felt better and still no muscle pain. Might work for you.

    • Hi Greg, thanks for your info, I have been dealing with this God awful disease for several years, started out with just feeling like I couldn’t get enough air, then heart pals after doing nothing or going all out. I found Jigsaw Magnesium helped with those, but the pains in my chest, back and ribs have gotten significantly worse, yesterday I had a chicken sandwich for lunch (protein) and chicken for supper, the paid seems to subside after that, then this morning I woke up again feeling like I had shortness of breath, I stretched out on top of a pillow on the bean bag chair and that seemed to open up my chest for breathing, and the we went out to breakfast, I had eggs (more protein) and that seemed to alleviate some of the pain. So I wonder if the protein drink you speak of which is quite expensive but worth it if it works, is part of the protein connection as well.

      • Hi Holly. Given you’re getting pain in your ribs and back as well as your front, I’d say you almost certainly have the usual locked rib joints at the back driving the costochondritis pain and inflammation around the front. Have a look at two videos on YouTube: ‘How to fix (most) costochondritis and Tietze’s Syndrome chest pain’ and see if what they describe feels like a fit. Cheers, Steve August, NZ physio.

  28. Costochondritis – Muscle Pain All Gone
    I started having the pain in my chest and thought like many of you it was a heart attack. After visiting a Cardiologist and many test, it was determine I had Costochondritis. I went on iburproen and steroids will very little luck. Not trying to sell you anything, but my daughter who is an Advocare rep ordered me “Muscle Gain” from her web site https://www.advocare.com/150613100/ and within 5 days all the muscle pain is gone, only took half the daily recommended dosage. Never felt better and still no muscle pain. Might work for you.

  29. Hello!!
    I am so happy I came across this article! I was diagnosed with costochondritis 6 weeks ago and it has been the most anxiety filled 6 weeks of my life! I never thought I would get to hold my children the same way again ( with out fear of making it the condition worst) every other article I came across were very discouraging this is one of the first that has people sharing what has worked instead of what didn’t work! I started taking omega-3 2x a day for only a few days but feel a world of improvement! After work I plan to also get the bromelian as well! Thank you for finally giving me some hope!!!

      • Hi I was diagnosed last week. Taking vimova and advil in between still very painful. How would the omega 3 interact with the vimova. I think my Costochondritis csme about after moving furniture, not knowing what it was so continued my breathing exercises etc which seemed to make it worse. Any help to relieve this would be great. Cant seem to be able to do anything with suffering badly after. Thanks

  30. SOOO glad I stumbled across this site. Have been dealing with super sharp pain in my chest for 6 months + I decided I needed to see a doctor. Had pain when sneezing, deep breathing, stretching, stretching my chest in general, basically anything that involved my chest was putting me in pain. I’m a very active person and love to workout so this put me in quite a stump with my workout routine. After seeing the doctor and getting x-rays and simple tests done it was concluded that i had CC. Now since its only been a few days since the diagnosis, and I was prescribed some pain meds and the norm of rest, ice, etc. But I’ve been searching the web like a mad man looking for answers or others personal experience with this condition. Looking forward to the Omega 3s solution hopefully the results are as good as yours. It sucks when you have no idea what causes this pain and it just randomly showed up one morning. I’m a 21 year old college kid who just wants this to go away so I can get on with my normal life!! Haha. Thanks!!

    • Hi will – this is a helpful site and there is lots of great information here. i wanted to let you know about another site as well that has some great information. It’s a FB group called “Healing from costochondritis and tietzes syndrome naturally.” It’s a closed group but moderated by a holistic health practitioner who has had this for 9 years and is now pain free. Request to join the group and she’ll invite you to join. She has posted tons of great information on her site in her files, and there are lots of people in the group who offer wonderful suggestions on healing from this. Your story sounds similar to mine – it totally interferes with my workout routine too. One thing I found was there wasn’t any prescription that even began to touch the level of pain i was in, but then I started acupuncture as a ‘last resort” and i went 2x a week for a few months. It completely turned things around for me – didn’t heal me completely but helped tremendously with the pain. It takes a well trained practitioner who truly understands the meridians in the body, not just the local person who hangs a shingle claiming to know acupuncture (as I discovered!). I have since switched to massage therapy, and have also changed my diet. Always have eaten a fairly clean diet but cut out sugar completely – the worse inflammatory contributor out there – and I would say that has helped more than any prescription I was ever on (and believe me, I was on some heavy duty stuff to curb the pain and nothing worked). I know you have to find what works for you and I was a pretty big skeptic about how much changing my diet would help, but I feel like an evangelist now about it. You’re too young to be dealing with this as long as some of us have (I’m 47) so i truly hope you can heal from this and find what works. Check out that FB group though – it’s another source of great information.

  31. Hi everyone,
    Glad I came on the this site. I’m a 31yr old guy and I’ve been diagnosed with costochondritis for over a year now. I was still really worried after visiting a couple of doctors several times as I was lead to believe that it would clear up in a few weeks. So over a year later I came across the site. My symptoms seem slightly different to most other commenters. I usually get a dull pain radiating around my chest and leading to my side. Sleeping on my side can be quite sore and I often wake up at night. I was off work for two weeks on holiday and it wasn’t too bad. However this week it has been worse. I sit in front of a desk all day and I think my posture has a lot to do with making it worse. Anyway I’m gonna try the omega 3 and see how that goes.

    Best of luck everyone

    • Hi Lenny
      That sounds to me like the symptoms I had before my gallbladder was removed.
      Do you still have a gallbladder and have they tested its function?

      • I am a 50 yr. old guys who works out regularly and I was just diagnosed with this 2 weeks ago. i have been dealing with this for 5 months now. Nexium twice a day and zantac at bed time. now Naproxen twice a day and nexium once a day with zantac at night.my symptoms were like that of a heart attack, in which i had multiple EKG’s,blood work and a stress stess, not to mention an Endoscopy. pain in my left shoulder and back area along with chest pain on a daily basis, just crazy. Well anyway, i thought i would google cc and i am going to try the omega-3 and Bromelain. i pray this is successful for me. i am going to try the the omega-3 tablets. my question is how long to you felt normal, or close to it?

        • Hello Chuck, thanks for stopping by and commenting on the page. I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with CC.
          It is really hard to answer your question as everyone is different. For me, to really be pain free it took a while but by taking omega 3 and bromelain I felt my pain go down quite a bit but I had to maintain that and be careful that I didn’t eat foods that were high in Omega 6. Once you can get your body back into balance, that is Omega 3:omega 6 balance you will feel a world of a difference, at least I did, along with many others.

          Inflammation is really dependent on how your body responds, some people will notice that their body responds quickly while others may have other factors preventing there body from fighting inflammation (ie. autoimmune, too high in omega 6 diet, poor posture and muscular imbalances, etc)

          I hope this helps and keep us posted!

    • Welcome Lenny! Keep us posted on how you are feeling. Many people will feel costo pain throughout their rib cage. More often in the front but also can be worse in the back or like you, the side. And just like you, I too was told it would only last a couple of weeks..years later… it is super frustrating but hang in there! We are here to try and help 🙂

    • hi there,
      i have stumbled across this site and i am so grateful i did! i think i am having a huge flare of costo as drs have ruled out everything deadly- two drs did mention costo again. can i ask a question? i have had costo before but this time around in addition to all the “regular” rib cage issues i have this tightness in my diaphragm. thought it was GERD at first. just terrible and never seems to leave, except after the hot shower. is this something that is a known symptom of costo? it seems to grip me- i have been sleeping on my back at an angle for a year but this new symptom is quite yucky. i will be upping my omega 3’s that is sure.
      thank you for all of your help!

      • Hello Christine,

        To be honest, I think I do remember feeling like my diaphragm was tight but not to the extreme like you have mentioned. I think that feeling was due to the general inflammation. Has anyone else experienced this?

        Have you asked your dr about it? I know sometimes they do not give us a response we need or take us seriously but if this doesn’t go away, I would really advice to look into it more.

        Hope the Omega 3’s help. Even with my other inflammation issues, Omega 3’s and Bromelain are seriously my life savers! I do not know what I would do without them and I know my husband and thankful for them to, as he see’s how much they help me and relieve me of so much pain.

        Keep your hope up and I wish you all the best!

      • Christine, I too have the tightness in my diaphragm. In fact, the tightness wraps all the way around me from front to back. It’s almost like a tire is being inflated inside me and there’s just not enough room. I was told by an ER doctor that this tightness/pressure is just another form of pain. I hope you are feeling better. I had improved but have had a flare up since beginning some strength training.

    • Hi Lenny and Jessica. I’d like to suggest something that isn’t the usual response.

      I’m a New Zealand physiotherapist with 30 years’ experience. All the UK and US medical sites refer to costochondritis (CC) as of no known cause. It seems to me that it’s the same as what we refer to in NZ as sternocostal (SC) pain, and fix readily.

      Sure CC means pain where the ribs join onto the breastbone, but you have to stand back and ask WHY they’re sore there. What we find is that the joints at the other ends of the ribs, where they join onto the vertebrae of the thoracic spine, are frozen. The ribs are like bucket handles, with hinge movements at both ends. If they’re frozen at the costovertebral (CV) ends, then the SC ends have to overwork just to let you breathe – so they get irritated, then inflamed. The treatments that help a bit are generally anti-inflammatories, because they suppress the inflammation of the irritated rib joints somewhat. However the underlying driver of the problem is the stuck CV joints – once you free those up, the reason for the irritation and hence inflammation is removed.

      That’s why your intercostal muscle stripping helps somewhat, Jessica. It’s often tight and scarred since the CV joints aren’t moving. It’s also why there’s often posterior rib pain, and pain on breathing in fully, and often pain after an impact, with the condition. If the pain is on one side of the sternum, sitting the patient and passively turning them towards that painful side will be much more limited than turning them away from the painful side. Also the ‘bounce’ of the ribs at the back when you push on them will be clearly gone – when the joints are frozen, it feels like pushing down on bars of concrete – it’s not subtle.

      Let me know if this sounds like a fit with what you’re experiencing. It does look like to me that what I know is a logical understood musculoskeletal problem in NZ (‘SC pain’) is probably mostly or completely what’s diagnosed as a mysterious intractable inflammatory condition ‘CC’) in the US and UK. I’m not sure I’m right, but I think I am. I’m a little diffident about presenting it as a potential solution because I got chewed up and spat out by the convenors of the ‘Costochondritis Sucks’ blog, who appear to me to be mad, when I suggested it to them. Cheers, Steve August (B.A.,Dip.Physio.).

      • Hi Steve,

        Thanks so much for you professional opinion. There is no need to be worried about us getting upset on this blog. We just want to find possible answers and solutions, as I know everyone’s case will be different. As for me, I do somewhat agree with you. As I had stated before, that by supporting bad posture the cosotchondritis pain would in fact get worse. By supporting bad posture you are causing muscles to become tight and inflexible by ‘teaching’ your body a unnatural way of being. So I do think this makes perfect sense. However, not going to lie, I cringed at the idea of having anyone push down on my rib cage or making me twist when I was inflamed… I would be in so much pain and I did definitely try to turn my body and see if any direction was better, but to be honest, both ways I twisted I was in a crazy amount of pain.

        But I do think you are on to something.

        What do the rest of you think? I am curious to see if anyone has visited a physio and what their diagnostic was.

        Thanks for the post Steve!

        P.S. As an update on my situation, I have now been costo pain free for a few years. However, now I am battling other inflammation issues (especially in the eyes and joints). I do suspect, along with other health professionals, that I do have an underlying autoimmune, as the type and amount of inflammation I have been getting is raising quite a few red flags. And now being pregnant, they are arising frequently. I will keep you posted once a for sure diagnosis has been revealed. Please note, having costochondritis does NOT mean you have an underlying problem.. so please do not suspect you do until you and your doctors are concerned because other issues are arising.

        Thanks and I appreciate all of you and the support you have given to each other. Seriously love this little community 🙂

        • Hi Jessica. I’m pleased the costochondritis has settled down. Good luck with the other inflammatory problems.

          If the costochondritis (CC) returns, and for anyone else with CC reading this, you could try the following. Lie on your front on the floor (not a bed – too springy). Have someone push down on each rib at your back. That’s pushing on one rib at a time – you can feel each one like a little bar of bone under the skin. Push vertically on the curve of the rib – this is about 50mm out to the side from the centre line of the spine.

          Just keep bouncing vertically on any tight rib for a minute or so. This isn’t hard to do and it’s also easy to find a the problem ones. A stuck rib (costovertebral) joint feels like you’re pushing on concrete – there’s no give at all. If the CV joint is free and moving properly, it’ll feel like you’re pushing on something mounted on rubber – there’s an obvious give and rebound. What your pushing person is trying to do is bounce the stuck hinge free again – a bit like trying to work a garden stake free of the soil. It shouldn’t even be particularly sore – it’s not like trying to twist your whole torso, which will hurt already inflamed sternocostal joints.

          I’m saying that in a whole lot of cases, the reason the rib hinges around the front are sore and inflamed (called CC) is because the ones around the back (the CV joints) are frozen. Work these ones loose, and the load comes off the front ones, and they stop being sore.

          You can easily test if this is working. Take a big breathe in before starting – it’ll probably hurt. Then try it again after someone’s loosened the CV joints. If it’s no longer painful, then the CV hints are definitely the root cause of the CC pain.

          There’s more to it that that, but I can go on to other stuff if I get some feedback that this is useful.

          Cheers, Steve August (B.A.,Dip.Physio.).

          • I have been thinking a lot about this advice – sounds like the best counsel I’ve heard so far! I have considered to see a chiro for figuring out what is out of line and causing these ‘pops’ out of place and ensuing CC…just a bit scared! I have seen a physio but this treatment suggested didn’t come up. Thank you Steve – keep it coming!

          • Hi Steve,
            I am currently having a flare up, I’ve had Costo for almost 2yrs but very manageable. I have been able to workout and sleep without issue but i have always had thoracic back pain. I recently have a good 3 day workout 90mins each and it flared up big time. I got it is both sides of my sternum and also back, so my wife was massaging my back but focused on the ribs on the left side and she was massaging in a pushing out direction. The next day, the left side thoracic back pain was gone so was the left side sternum pain, just the right side remains with corresponding back pain. I will let her do the same thing on the right side and see if it works.

          • I’ve had this 6 most. # since I got sick, I go to a carpractor. and he works on front ribs,I think like u said the back ribs are making the front sore.Should I ask him to work on my back ribs next time I go.This causes me altos of pain and its worse at work because I’m a custodian. at a school.help.kendra

        • How did you overcome your CC? How much time did you take off of physical activity like lifting before it went away. When you did have it was there any noticeable swelling and if so which ribs?

          • Hi Clint,

            It took almost 5 years and a bit to overcome Costochondritis. After that I would have little flare ups here and there but then took a lot more Omega 3’s and bromelain to stop it (it worked for me).

            Too be honest, I didn’t really take time off physical activity, only when it was really bad. Days that I could actually get out of bed and move slightly more, I would do more lower body exercises and slow stretches, all exercises were bodyweight or super light dumbbells. But I am also super stubborn.. But I didn’t “lift” until years later when I had minimal to no pain. And even now, when I am doing a bench press, if I feel the slightest pressure or pain I stop and don’t push it that day, I’ll just move on to another body part. But for the most part I can do anything without any consequences, it took time though and lots of back strengthening and chest opening.

            There was noticeable swelling and my husband could actually feel the adhesions on my costal cartilage. It was the rib on my right side, right underneath my bra line so rib 5-6. I actually had to stop wearing underwire bras because it would push against the inflamed cartilages so for years I just wore sport bras. I would also feel pressure and pain if someone or myself pressed against my back in the same area but opposite side.

            I hope that answers your questions.

    • Costochondritis – Muscle Pain All Gone
      I started having the pain in my chest and thought like many of you it was a heart attack ( I had a stint put in 3 years ago). After visiting my Cardiologist and many test, it was determine I had Costochondritis. I went on iburproen and steroids will very little luck. Not trying to sell you anything, but my daughter who is an Advocare rep ordered me “Muscle Gain” from her web site https://www.advocare.com/150613100/ and within 5 days all the muscle pain is gone, only took half the daily recommended dosage. Never felt better and still no muscle pain. Might work for you.

  32. I am a 57 year old female who went back to working out (weights, cardio, jogging, swimming) in April after a dozen years off. I was diagnosed with costochondritis that month after I separated a costochondral joint by leaning over a piece of equipment. The costo pain was excruciating, and I had to stop any exercises that involved my upper body. I lived on Naproxen and Ibuprofen, but stopped when I realized they were causing me to retain water. Gradually over the following month I started swimming, and when the pain subsided I return to light lifting.
    The first time I tried to bench press, I ended up “popping” something on another rib while straining on my last rep. That flared the costo up again. I didn’t want to wait another month or longer to get back to working out, so I started taking glucosamine sulfate 1000 mg. 2X a day and upped my omega 3 fish oil to 3000 mg. per day. I slept with a heating pad on my chest and did lots of pectoral stretching. The results were amazing. Within a couple weeks I felt good enough to try some flyes on the pec machine, and rather than increase my pain, it seems to have helped it. I’m going to gradually work my way back up.
    So don’t despair thinking it’s going to take a long recovery time before you can work out again- not necessarily. Fish oil is an anti-inflammatory, and it really helps.
    Good luck!
    (PS: Check out anti-inflammatory diets, also. Apparently, some foods can increase inflammation while others can decrease it.)

    • Hi Rebekah
      What brand of supplements do you use? I take a variety of supplements like those too but not that much – i have been thinking of increasing how much I take but wonder if the brand will matter?
      Thanks
      Tami

      • (Sorry for the delay, tamig- I did not get a notification of your comment.) I take Puritans Pride Omega-3 1000 mg softgels. I have great results with that brand- it doesn’t taste fishy, and it has no mercury. I buy them when the sale is “buy 1 get 2 free.” It has made such a tremendous difference in my pain level (all my joints) that I literally recommend it to someone every day. I re-injured my rib again yesterday doing a chin-up, and so far the fish oil seems to be warding off a full-blown costo flare up. 🙂

    • UPDATE: I am so glad I found this information on Jessica’s experience with omega 3 vs omega 6 ratios. My pain level increased a lot over the past several days- which is unusual for me while taking fish oil. I wondered what could be causing it, and I remembered she mentioned sunflower seeds and omega 6. I bought some pumpkin seeds a few days ago and have been eating a lot of them. My research showed that they are also high in omega 6 fatty acids and tend to promote inflammation. They can also play a role in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Bingo! You were right on! No more pumpkin seeds for me, and I feel better already. Thank you for posting your experience- it was a big help.

    • I have been diagnosed with Costocronditis. Have been suffering for over a year. Was told by two doctors I had asthma. Went to see a cardiologist who said it was Costocronditis. He told me to take 2 ibuprofen 3 times a day for 5 days. Six weeks later I am still suffering. Can’t exercise without a pinching heavy feeling in my chest. Started on the omega 3, Bromelain, and glucosamine. No results yet. Any ideas how soon I should see results?

  33. I’ve had costochondritis for 3+ years now and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The injury occurred doing P90x. I originally started out with tremendous pain in my sternum and ribs. About 1.5 years into the injury I also started having pain just above and around my belly button. Does anyone else have have pain in the belly button area?

    I’ve had steroid & trigger point injections, numbers medication, and omega 3 oil. Can anyone recommend anything else to make my life more normal? It hurts to do almost anything, although I do try to do mild stretching.

    • Hi Nick, sorry to hear that you too are suffering from costochondritis. I have never had pain in or around my belly button, I think I would get that checked as that isn’t a normal symptom of costo. Are you still taking anti inflammatories? Have you tried changing your diet?

      • I’m still taking anti-inflammatories and changed my diet. I’ve going to a pain management doctor for about 3 years now and have had over 20 injections.

  34. Hi, I am grateful to have found your blog. I was diagnosed a year ago but I am not completely convinced this is what I have. My symptoms started 3 years ago. When I get the pain in my chest it feels like I am being stabbed with a knife but subsides in a matter of seconds. Usually I will have 2 or 3 of these pains and then they go away, sometimes it will happen for a few days or sometimes it will be a few months before I get it again. This morning I had two and about a half an hour another stabbing pain. I did lift some heavy boxes earlier in the day and think that is probably why. It used to give me panic attacks because I thought for sure I was having a heart attack. Now, I can make my self calm down but for the initial split second it happens I think, oh wait, not a heart attack. In reading everyone’s comments it sounds like your pain is constant where mine is quick and then gone but the area can be tender and sore. It is always in the same spot and I could put my fingertip right where it happens. I do get dull aching between my shoulder blade and backbone directly where the pain is on my chest. Does anyone else have these kind of symptoms? Thank you so much for your help!

  35. Hi Keke
    I can’t even imagine having to care for children when it seems impossible to breath and hurt so much. I totally agree with Tami. Try her recommendations. I too changed my diet slightly. I’ve been gluten free for over a year now. I try not to eat dairy often or soy. I have been seeing a chiropractor who uses acupuncture and also practices functional medicine. I’ve taken supplements that have helped me with different things including inflammation in different areas. The prescription drugs I was given did nothing for me. Now I can say that I am so much better some days I’m pain free.
    This blog has been a life saver as well. I can’t thank Jessica enough for keeping up with it.
    Hang in there! There is hope. Seek help in Chinese medicine & acupuncture or functional medicine. Read up on Paleo diet!
    Pam

  36. Hello….
    noT sure if this blog is still active but I would love some feed bck. I am 25 weeks pregnant and 1 week ago diagnosed with costo. It is so debilitating considering iam a stay at home mom of a 14 month old, 2 yr old and 4 yr old. I am going to try omega 3 starting tomorrow.
    Did you find it immposible to lay down? I have to sleep in the recliner and still wake up from pain. ?…is this consistant with costo?
    When I am real bad and feel as if I a having a heart attack I have to take a piping hot shower and that calms me enough to take shallow breaths….normal?

    • Hi Keke,

      Oh my.. poor you :(. Yes it is 100% normal to find it difficult to lay down, and get up for that matter. So yes, what you are feeling is quite normal. Costo often gets mistaken for a heart problem (i.e heart attack) as you find it difficult to breath, you get tightness in your chest, etc.

      Try tiger balm, if that is allowed while pregnant. I found using this before bed helped relieve some pain and was able to get up a bit easier in the AM.

      Keep us posted or if you have any questions, feel free to reach out. This blog is still active and will always be active. The point of this is to bring awareness to this debilitating condition and hopefully one day we get answers as to why this happens.

    • Hi Keke – Oh what a horrible thing to deal with while pregnant – so sorry you are having pain. This is a great forum for information, but wanted to also make you aware of another forum, on a FB page called “Healing from Costochondritis and Tietze’s Syndrome Naturally” and also has a wealth of information. It is a closed group but you can request to join and the moderator is a naturalist health coach and has provided some wonderful suggestions about healing from it naturally. She posts files on the site and it’s filled with very good suggestions. I have benefitted from both that site and this one as well. Have had costo for two years and like you was in constant pain. I’ve found great success from acupuncture (with a traditional chinese medicine acupuncturist) as well as diet modifications and chinese herbs. I never had luck with any OTC RX’s and they all did a number on my stomach or had other terrible side effects. When I first started taking the chinese herbs I was 100% completely skeptical – thinking how could THESE work if a real drug didn’t. Well they did work, and they worked like no other thing I had tried. For the first time in two years i was finally pain free. I attribute it to the acupuncture, the herbs and a slight diet modification. I restricted how much sugar I ate, rarely eat dairy, and tried an anti inflammatory diet. Combined all have worked wonders. It’s not perfect, but I no longer have the intense pain I’d had for two years. I know acupuncture is not for everyone and hasn’t worked for everyone, but I am a big advocate for it. I think you will find support here as well as the other site – but most important, healing naturally without OTC drugs can work. Good luck! Hope you are feeling better soon. Tami

  37. Hi everyone, I’ve stumbled on this page after suffering with costochondritis for 5 months now. It started when I had sinusitis for a long while and didn’t realize it – I should have been on antibiotics, anyways after being medicated for that a few weeks later I had a massive blow up of costochondritis and it was extremely painful. I also swim/run/do light weights about 5 days a week but once I got costochondritis I could barely move my left arm it was so painful! I’ve reduced all the exercise to barely anything and when I try running again the arm motion makes my costo act up. When I stopped all exercise for a few months I thought I was totally healed. Then I started doing a bit of swimming again and there was a bit of tightness not too much but it was noticeable. I started doing a very long walk, then a light jog and it was surprisingly okay! But one day because I was in a rush I didn’t do a long warm up and just jumped straight into the run my costo came back full force! Having started to read all the costochondritis boards and feeling very sad over all the people who suffer with it – decided first to pray for everyone! Gotta have faith! 🙂 Then as I stupidly remembered had fish oil omega 3 hanging around the house (it’s for my husband), and reading that it helps – have started taking 5 pills of that (it says to take 5 for joint health), and have a noticeable relief from pain and soreness within a day!!
    So I will be ordering Glucosamine as well (they don’t sell it in the country I live in) – but absolutely recommend taking Omega 3 daily! Also for us fitness freaks I would recommend a thorough warm up especially if you’re going to go for a run, etc. I haven’t tried getting back with the free weights just yet. Also sleep as much as possible, and exactly like Full Body Developments has been saying stretch stretch stretch!!! I know when I get a flare up of costo I barely move my arm – but when I’m good at stretching daily – it is much better!

    Anyways love going out to all of you suffering from costochondritis – and praying that God will mightily heal us all – thoroughly without any flare ups – that we can enjoy life again without worry! Cuz God doesn’t want us to worry!! Big love

    • G, Thanks so much for writing! I am so unbelievably happy to hear that Omega 3’s are working for you, as they have for me. I promise you guys, if you can focus on lowering the amount of Omega 6 in your diet and upping the Omega 3 in your diet, you WILL find relief. Also, consume healthy fats, they are great for joint health!

      Keep on keeping on G! 🙂 And keep in touch with us!

  38. I have been living with costochondritis for nearly 3 years and I still haven’t got the hang of how to deal with it. My doctor has had me on different anti-inflammatory pills and they don’t help very much. I’m a competitive swimmer so it affects it a lot and I drink a lot of caffeine. I can’t stop swimming and it irritates me when I’m doing anything. What are your thoughts? 😕

    • Hi Sophie,

      So sorry to hear that you are not finding relief :(. Anti-inflammatories that the Dr gave me, also didn’t help. I would definitely decrease the amount of caffeine you are consuming, to 1-2cups/day, or if you can withstand it, try to eliminate it all together for a bit and see if you notice a difference. I think I would still stay active, but as G mentioned above, be sure to really warm up prior. Try focus on strengthening your back so that you have a stronger posture. You can still work legs too, if you really need to be active 🙂

    • Hi Sophie,

      I definitely hear you as I too am a swimmer. I had to take it extremely easy after my costo, stopping all exercise for a time, for my body to heal and rest. After a month I started swimming again but I took baby steps, just a few laps, every other day, and a ridiculous amount of stretching and warming up. Which I think makes a huge difference. As Jessica mentioned omega 3 does wonders for me and some other boards talk about glucosamine which helps with joint health too, which I will be trying shortly as well. Also maybe try to be aware if certain strokes affect your costo more than others, depending where your costo is exactly. Breaststroke is less stressful on me.

      I suggest rest where possible and work slowly to get your body to a good fitness level. I’ve started using the bike at my gym which helps keep me active but less stress to my chest.

      Good luck!
      G

  39. Linda,
    March 21,2015
    I,’ve just learned I have Costochondritis after many months of suffering and many puzzled looks from my Dr. Seems not enough is known about this illness.The suggested treatment ,with SAIDS,will be a problem since I also have to manage gastritis.My chest feels like I am wearing a VERY tight bra and my back aches straight through the chest.I have quit wearing a bra.My pain is worse about 2 hours
    after eating,even after tiny meals.After reading this blog,I know it could be worse.I will keep you all in my prayers.

      • Hi Linda,

        I wrote a long reply but it got deleted! So will make this short. I have acid reflux and because husband and I needed to lose weight have gone in a low carb high protein diet which helped wth my acid reflux. But that’s different to my costo.
        When my costo last acted up, partially because I was crazy stressed out with stomach it hurt to breathe. Have you tried deep breathing exercises – they work wonders!!! Give it a try and learn especially to breathe down to your stomach and trust me you will feel a difference also as Jessica said good posture helps as I started to notice I was protecting my chest – that actually didn’t help.
        Also I don’t wear a bra when my costo flares up it helps! And I just wear one when going out when in in pain.
        Good luck to you!
        G

  40. Guys I am so happy I can share this with you… In my previous post I wrote about my costo that I had since July last year (you red it right “HAD”) Totally desperate and motivated to continue working out at the gym I tried almost everything except one thing… the magical GELATINE 🙂 I start to look for the most affordable supplement and finally found it! The price in EU is around 8euros, manufactured by Biotech USA, named: Chondroitin Glucosamine. I felt relief after only few days of taking It now it passed almost 2 months and guess what? No more pain in my chest 😀 I am working out 4 times a week, all the exercises except dips for the chest (still afraid of it… I believe this was the trigger for my costo)… I recommend this to everybody, even If it doesn’t help to all of you, trust me it’s worth of trying. I wish you all the best and off course quick recovery from this terrible thing 🙂 Greetings from Slovakia

    • HI Ivan – Greetings from Minnesota (USA). Just wanted to say thanks for writing in and recommending the Chondroitin Glucosamine. I will give that a try too! Hoping it works! Take care!

  41. I am the elderly lady that has had this CC for about 17 years. I had mentioned previously the tactics that were used after most MDS thought I wanted attention and obviously thought it was something i conjured up. Needless to say THEY have a word to address it by today however NOTHING to relieve it with TODAY. I can’t walk very far or talk to fast because it feels my rib cage is collapsing. I have had many falls starting from 15 and since than but nothing obviously with those X-rays but there wasn’t anthing. Have bad back, wasn’t able to participate in PE in school but epadurals for back however that is all. I wish everyone on here the best of luck and I pray for you that can’t help at this point, right? , ,

  42. Thank you for this post! I am starting the omega 3 oil, so far today I have felt good. I have noticed that stress really flares mine up. My Dr. failed to mention that this could last for a long time so I was devastated after it came back after a week of feeling good. Going to try all you have suggested and see how it goes. Thanks, I’m feeling more encouraged after stumbling on your page!

    • I really think the weat grass is what is helping me, that and the ginger and turmeric tea. I have been vary lucky I dont have the severe pain that most everyone is talking about. I just went back to the Dr for my follow up and she told me to keep doing what i’m doing. I went to the gym to work out and could not do anything as far as using my arms. Im just grateful to be pain free..

      • So glad to hear that you are doing better Robyn! Thanks so much for checking in with this blog and letting us know how you are doing. Ginger and tumeric tea is a great combination and definitely helps with inflammation. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Hope you are able to hit the gym and get some arm exercises in soon! 🙂

  43. HI John
    i do doorway stretch 3 times a day.i hold it about 20 seconds…but if you feel a pain then just hold it for 10 seconds gradually increase the time….in my case i think i have to keep doing these streches everyday rest of my life.it does work for me and keep my costo away.other thing i do is sleep flat night time try to avoid any strain on chest during a sleep.i hope you will get better soon.

    HI tami i m so happy for you that acupuncture is wroking for you.
    HI Jessica thanks for reassuring me .i had all test done but everything was normal.i m keep thinking i have an autoimmune condition. but after reading your post i m very positive now and have decided not to think about it.Thank you so much..

    shilpa…

  44. HI Jessica – Have just finished my 8th visit to acupuncture and am so so happy to say that it has totally helped with my costo. I have been 99% pain free for a week and each week continues to get better and better. I am now down to one visit to the acupuncturist a week for a few more weeks and we’ll see where we are at then. I sneezed today and for the first time in over a year it didn’t hurt and tear me apart inside. I have not returned to working out yet per my acupuncturist’s recommendation to wait a few more weeks, so I’ll keep my walking routine up (boring at first but have found some awesome podcasts about health and wellbeing to listen to so I now look forward to my walks!). Anyway – just wanted to check in and let you know it’s still working and hopefully if there are others out there who’ve yet to try it, perhaps this is something others can consider. I am now a total evangelist for it along with good, pure Chinese herbs. Thanks again for your awesome site! Tami

  45. Hello. Thank you for this blog. Like you as well as the others who have posted, I have suffered from costochondritis from a long time, nearly 3 years this May. It’s been a difficult and terrible experience to say the least. However, in the last year and a half, I’ve reduced my pain through simple bed rest and posture changes. After reading this blog, I’ve decided to start taking Omega-3 as well.

    My question is stretching. As the costochondritis has become better, I’ve tried to implement some stretching. Mostly, I’ve been doing the doorway stretch, with both hands on the doorway frame and me stepping through. My question is how long do you hold it for, and how many times do you do the stretch. Right now, I hold the stretch for 10 seconds and do 3 sets of them. Additionally, how often a week should you do this stretch?

    And ultimately, should I even be stretching? I don’t want to aggravate the injury more. Perhaps I should do more resting, wait for it to heal up some more, and then go with the stretch?

    Finally, have you heard of prolotherapy? This is something I’ve considered for a long time now for costochondritis.

    I apologize for the random nature of the post. Just hope that all of us are able to get through this condition.

    • Hi John,

      So glad to hear your pain is reduced with simple stretching and posture changes :).

      For stretching, ensure to get multiple angles. With the one you are currently doing. forearms resting on doorway and you stepping through but also try these ones:
      – Y doorway stretch: Hand ups higher on doorway and you stepping through (carefully step through, if the stretch is too much relax out of it)
      – hands lower on doorway and stepping through

      Try to hold the stretches for 10-30seconds, or until you can withstand it. I wouldn’t overstretch as you do not want to aggravate it but I would definitely do it daily, as long as the pain isn’t intense. Once the pain subsides quite a bit you can try to do your stretches morning and night.

      I definitely think stretching is super important with costo. As the inflammation gets worse our posture gets worse and therefore, the muscles in the pectoral region are going to get tight.. this can eventually cause more issues as your entire posture can be at jeopardy. (rolled shoulders occur, back eventually starts to stretch and elongate, abs get tight.. its a domino effect)

      However, you also don’t want to stretch to aggravate it. That is why I would only add stretching once you can handle it or the pain/inflammation has gone down. 🙂

      I do not know much about prolotherapy but I have heard of it. I was tempted to try it as well, but I have heard mixed reviews. Definitely do your research in it and see what you think is best.

      Thank you so much for your comment, no need to apologize for anything 🙂 we love hearing from people and questions are great to have. Let us know what you decide to do with prolotherapy, if this is something you decide to do be sure to let us know your experience with it.

      Take care John and I hope your pain goes away! 🙂

  46. Hi Jessica
    i m feeling better now not totally pain free yet.i am taking 4 spoons of turmeric powder in half a cup of warm water,omega 3 fish oil,i usually cut fresh ginger in a small pieces and eat trough out the day, it tastes very strong but i dont mind.when i had last flare up about 7.5 years ago lots of pectroal muscle streching helped me to recover from it.i guess chest opening streching kept my costo away for a long time.what happened recently i had a stressfull time ,family members sudden death ,diet was very poor , not streching chest muacles etc..during this time one day i was carrying freinds daughter five years old about an hour which i ended up with massive flare up of costo.. my kind advice to costo sufferes please be careful what you can lift what you cant lift..otherwise you will end up with massive flare up…
    i have read about reoccurring of costo could be sign of fibromyalgia or an auto immune condition.what your thoughts are Jessica about this?My gp said no its not an auto immune condition, he told me to wrok on with phisiyo therapy, strengthen up musscles to stop reoccurring it.

    kind regards to all…
    shilpa

    • Hi Shilpa,

      Yes pectoral stretching is so so important when the flare ups happen AND even when it is not flaring up. I constantly stretch my chest and make sure to constantly keep good posture. That is key as well. 🙂 And good advice Shilpa about being careful what you can or can’t lift. Even to this day, being pain free for a looong time, when I do any chest exercises (i.e chest presses) I lift light, even though I know I can lift much heavier, I don’t attempt it. And unfortunately we all have to be careful now that we have had costochondritis.

      In regards to fibromyalgia and auto immune conditions, I wouldn’t put a pass to it but I wouldn’t necessarily say that thats the cause unless you show other symptoms. For me, I do believe I may have an autoimmune disorder as I get inflammation issues all the time, I have recently had iritis and scleritis. Usually when the eyes get involved with inflammation, more than one spurt of it, they worry about an autoimmune. However, again, I have no tests to prove such so I don’t live my life thinking that. You can always get tested though if you worry and be persistent with your doctor to have those tests done. The more you know the better you can help prevent :). And also just to note, a doctor should never just say ‘no its not an autoimmnue’ unless they ran tests. Have you gone to a physio? Make sure you go to one that has dealt with costo or at least really understands it.

      I am glad to hear you are feeling better though, that makes me so happy to hear :). Please keep us posted on how things go.

  47. Hi Ms. Jessica,

    I want you to know how much you have helped me. Those brands were not available here, so I look for alternatives having the same indications and contents. But still you help me feel better and able to come back to work. Thank you so much.

    P.s. i have shared your blog to others looking for costo cure.

    ♿🚶🏃👍👍👍God bless us all.

    • Aaaww wow, this was a great post to read. I am so so happy I was able to help you find some relief and get back to work. Thank you so much for sharing this blog with others, I think we have a great community of people here wanting to help and find a way to beat this.

      Thanks again!! 🙂

  48. Hi Jessica, thank you so much! I will send you an email straight away. I have a new trainer (my husband purchased private session for me for my birthday back in October). I haven’t worked with her yet as I was having so many intense flare ups that I just didn’t have a long enough break where I could even imagine working with a trainer. She would love to learn more about costo and how to work with me so I would love to talk with you initially and maybe develop a safe plan that will get my body into top peak condition in the next 4-6 months (this is my big lofty goal but I have seen it done with my nutrition program so many times, now it’s my turn!). I think if I can have her spotting me and watching my posture, it will help. I have also started a Facebook group. As a Holistic Nutrtionist with a sub-specialty in anti-inflammatory diets, this is something I am very passionate about. The group is growing and I am able to offer my advice and coaching support to everyone in the group who is on a healing journey and looking for natural solutions. I agree with the Omega 3’s and also want people to know that this can take some time for some people. I take Omega 3’s, bromelain, serrapeptase and curcumin every day, along with a few other goodies to boost the bodies natural glutathione – our Mother Anti-Oxidant! Would love to support anyone who is interested in finding a healing path from this condition in the group. (ps…my flare ups have really started to settle in the last 2 months with 3 flare ups – each 4 and 5 weeks apart and only lasting a couple of days – used to last 1-2 weeks – since adding in nutritional cleansing – everything has changed! Woot, woot!!!) thank you for all you do! Candice https://www.facebook.com/groups/Costcochondritis/

    • Hi Candice,

      Thank you so much for sharing your facebook page, I will be sure to like it. I think it is great that you are helping people through holistic nutrition and its great you have such a passion for it. Isn’t it crazy how just taking a few supplements can make such a huge difference in the pain and flare ups? That’s why I love this blog, I love hearing what others have done to naturally (whether through supplements or massage, acupuncture, diet etc) help relieve pain.

      I will definitely help you out. We can keep trying different things to see what works and what doesn’t, because if something worked for me, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. But definitely make sure your trainer does her research on costochondritis. The more she can understand it, the more she can envision what is really going on and what muscles need to be worked on and left alone.

      If you have e-mailed me and I haven’t replied back, let me know as it may have gone in my junk folder and sometimes I overlook things.

      Talk soon:)

      • Hi Steve, I host a private Facebook group called Healing from Costochondritis and Tiezte’s Syndrome Naturally. I am a holistic health practitioner and lived with this for 8.5 years but I’ve finally been free from pain and flare ups for just over 1 year. I have pinned your videos on our main page for everyone to see and many of our members have already ordered it. I would love so much to invite you to join me as a guest speaker on a live call with this group (we are approaching 900 members in just over 1 year!) Would you be open to joining us? You can reach me on FB through my main page Candice Csaky or on Facebook through Healthy Wife Happy Life or Healing from Chostochondritis. I would love so much to connect with you. Warmest regards, Candice Csaky candice@healthywifehappylife.com

        • Hi Candice. Sure – I’d be happy to. I was reading your amino acid comment with interest – you’ve obviously got a really good handle on that aspect of the problem (cheered to note you’re recommending whey protein from New Zealand cows!).

          Thanks for bringing my CC videos to the attention of your Facebook group. It makes sense to hit the problem from both ends. I think the underlying driver of most CC is probably jammed costovertebral rib joints, but that’s not necessarily so in all cases, and anyway it’s completely logical to cover the anti-inflammatory and healing aspects also. You’ve got a better understanding of those than I have.

          It’s the combination that works! Depressingly often in formal and non-formal medicine you get arguments because a proponent of one approach sees someone with another approach as an opponent because they’re different, instead of recognising they’re both usefully dealing to different aspects of the same problem.

          So, happy to talk. I’m currently on holiday – training the trout in the lake not to fear the rod – and painstakingly tapping this out on a mini-iPad. I’ll get in touch when I’m back home in a week or so and we can sort details.

          Best wishes, Steve August.

          • Hi Steve. I’ve had cc for around two years now. I have watched your YouTube videos which have given me new hope. How do I order a back pod? Kind regards, Leoni.

          • Hi Leonie. Not sure if I’ve done this right so hope you get this reply. For info on the Backpod including ordering just Google ‘Backpod’ or go to the website http://www.bodystance.co.nz It’s definitely worth a go. You’ll have been told that the costochondritis will settle down in a few weeks and you’ve had it now for two years. So they may also be wrong about how best to treat it. Good luck with the work. Cheers, Steve August.

      • Thank you for the great advice Jessica! Unfortunately the trainer wouldn’t take me on with chostochondritis and this has now been a bit of a theme – 6 trainers and all a no go! Great news is I have been free from all flare ups since I last wrote this post and I have a team that I am working with – back and the gym and weight training and loving it after 9 years! I’ve done a lot of research on this over the years and one thing I recently learned and have now just dove deep into is the study of Amino Acid Therapy, which I know has had a huge effect on my healing. We know that chronic pain and amino acid deficiencies tend to go hand in hand. I personally use a very high quality organic, undenatured whey protein from New Zealand grass fed cows that has the best amino acid profile that I have ever seen with long chain, unbroken branch chain amino acids. My costo clients that are using this are also seeing dramatic results and improvements in a very short period of time. This type of whey protein is known to boost the body’s glutathione (our mother antioxidant) by up to 500%. Adding this in along with the bromelain, omegas, serrapeptase, curcumin (tumeric) has been life changing. Again, what’s right for one person may not work for everyone, but I think this is an extremely important piece of the puzzle here that should be addressed. We know that adding in amino acid therapy along with hands on therapy such as physio and chiropractic adjustments to unlock the ribs can make a significant impact on the healing capabilities of the body. Every single one of our 100 trillion cells is made up of the building blocks of the food that we feed it. I’ve always believed that you can do physio and chiropractor for this condition (I did for 8.5 years with no improvements) until I changed what was going into my mouth. With that change, so came the relief. It’s possible for everyone to heal from this. They just require the right tools. There’s a great article about chronic pain and amino acid deficiencies on Julia Ross’ page, http://www.moodcure.com/pdfs/pain_mgmt_with_amino_acids_april_09.pdf

  49. Thank you ever so much with your acupuncture suggestion and I will look into that. Sincere thanks and when I get started I will get back with a comment of a positive move for all to embark upon.

  50. Hi there it is Bettye. I don’t think I have asked but does anyone have trouble breathing when the rig cage right to left and lower part just pushes down like a vice and causes that issue. It caused a panic attack one night when taking a shower and I find daytime is shower time now.

    • Hi Bettye – I can completely relate to what you are saying. Breathing was very difficult and I learned to take shallow breaths. Taking a deep breath was just not an option at all. It was scary and frustrating and painful!!

      That has completely changed. I am now a total advocate for acupuncture for dealing with costo. I have been doing acupuncture for two weeks (3x a week) and it has turned my life around completely. After two sessions I was able to take a regular and deep breath again – first time in months. I also experienced severe pain under my arm and in the back of my arm, all related to the costo. I did one session of “Cupping” after a session of acupuncture and have not had a single day of arm pain since that session. Neither the acupuncture nor the cupping hurt. People averse to needles need not fear – I was one of those people, but sick and tired of prescriptions being thrown at me that didn’t work – and caused a host of other issues.

      If you have not tried acupuncture I urge you to try it. I had tried everything else and it was my last hope and I wish I had done it a year ago. The pain has reduced by about 90% and my breathing is back to normal. Still have a ways to go for 100%, but to say I’m ecstatic with results so far would be an understatement. I can completely relate to your comment about breathing and that feeling of panic – been there many times. I know medical doctors are not always open to alternative ways to heal, but my “healing” has become a second job for me and if there is one thing I would share with fellow costo sufferers is to try acupuncture. Find a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. The more I learn about acupuncture (I’m on my third book now reading about it) the more it makes me mad that my medical doctor discouraged me from trying it. Good luck!

      • Acupuncture reduced a lot of my pain but it all came back for no reason. There really is no hope/cure, it only helps temporarily it seems. I’ve been unable to walk for more than 5 minutes without being out of breath for 6 months now.

        • Hi Vorth,

          There is hope and there is a way to ease the pain. Keep trying different things to help ease it. Acupuncture may not have worked for you but it has helped a lot of other people. Usually what helps someone out doesn’t mean it will help everyone out. Don’t loose hope… think positive.

    • I hope that you have discussed all of this with your doctor and had a caridac workup at least to rule that out. This is very, very important, if you have chest pains (which costo will cause, the symptoms mimic heart attack to the uninitiated) you need to talk to your doctor who can run specific tests that will tell them whether you have anything scary going on.

      I have been working through costo and have been out of any exercise other than very specific cardio exercises for a year and a quarter. For me the costo also brought on panic attacks, so it was a two-fer. As the costo subsided (the cartilage slowly calmed down generally) the panic attacks subsided.

      The way the panic attacks were explained to me by my doctor (and my experience confirmed this for me) was that panic attacks happen because your nervous system (not your conscious thoughts, but deeper than that in your sympathetic nervous system) basically gets ‘trained’ to move into a massive adrenaline response at the drop of a hat, and does so in response to stimulus that are inappropriate. The ‘training’ of the nervous system is because the inflammation presses internally on organs in the chest for some people, which the body does not like. So when you have it badly, your body is keyed up for a very, very long time into this hyper vigilient state because there is something pressing where it shouldn’t be, and your body becomes accustomed to that.

      The fix for me was done without SSRI’s like Paxil (although my doc suggested these, I’m very uncomfortable with them and wanted to only use them as a last resort). I did the cardio that I could (which was just the stair stepper, everything else aggravated the costo because of the jarring of the ribcage) to relieve stress, and then had benzos available as needed for the true and heavy attacks. Basically, as the panic attack is just setting in, you take the benzo (I had a prescription for Atavan) and it heads it off at the pass. Most importantly, you have stopped your body from going all the way into an attack one more time, which slowly but surely makes it harder and harder for your body and nervous system to get that worked up from normal daily stimulus.

      Benzos are very addictive, so you need to be in constant touch and very honest with your doctor about how much of them you use. I actually used six 5mg pills in a year. I carried a small quantity of pills (3 generally) with me everywhere. The effect of having the pills onhand (which I carried everywhere) was very effective on its own for me, basically it was a Dumbo feather that removed the fear that the small attack would become so large it was overwhelming.

      I hope this makes sense, the panic attacks were really hard for me to deal with.

      From the costo perspective, I stopped strenuous exercise (no strength training) and was very careful how I moved to avoid re-aggravating it. I have slowly recovered from this over the course of the year or so, but still am not back up to any level of strength work, even very light stuff like push ups and pull ups.

      The only thing that has actually and steadily helped with symptoms were Naproxen (aleve), and glucosomine (no idea why, but this helped with the pain), avoiding caffeine and being careful when I moved to avoid hurting it. The only thing that I can point to that helped it go away was ensuring that I did nothing to re-aggravate it, and it went away very slowly. Basically, inflammation sets in fairly slowly since it’s cartilage, and goes away very slowly as well since there is almost no bloodflow to the tissue. Once the chemicals are in place to inflame the tissue, it basically takes forever to go back down because there is very little bloodflow to remove those chemicals from the tissue. It’s a nightmare.

      • Wow so glad I stumbled upon your post, I can relate to this so much. For the past three months I’ve been suffering panic attacks from chest pains that felt like I was having a heart attack, usually coming on at night. I kept going to the clinic and even went to the ER twice. They kept dismissing my symptoms saying it was a panic attack/ anxiety and prescribed benzos which calmed me down but never took away the physical pain ( Doctors and myself never put together the fact that the panic attacks where coming from my chest pain attacks). All this affected my sleeping, job performance and overall quality of life. I finally had enough when the chest pains became chronic while I was on a stress free vacation proving to me it was solely anxiety I was dealing with. I went to the clinic when I got back and the Doctor right away diagnosed it as costco (I had been to clinic/ER before and all EKGs, blood work were normal). I’ve been on naproxen now for almost a week but still get panic attacks every now and then (especially at night) but feel more confident now that I know what is going on. I guess it’s something I just have to work through but it’s very frustrating since I know my heart is OK and it becomes all I can think about. Anyways thought I’d share my experience.

        • correction: *hen the chest pains became chronic while I was on a stress free vacation proving to me it WASN’T solely anxiety I was dealing with

  51. Hi,
    I’m so glad I found this site! I have suffered from costochondritis for 3 years now. It started after a long summer of excercising my arms and back, throwing a ball and running daily. I can’t do any of this no longer, which is heartbreaking!
    I’m 40 year old, otherwise healthy, woman. I had really painful chest, heart palpitations and suffered from severe indigestion and sore throat for about a year. After seeing numerous doctors and been through many tests(x-Rays, endoscopy, etc) everything came up normaI, so I diagnosed myself with costochondritis. I never had any help from the painkillers or depressants I was given. The Only help has been: a complete rest, avoiding any upper body excercise.
    After another 6 months taking things slowly I felt almost normal again and decided to have a go at running again. A Big mistake! It took me several months to recover from that.
    I no longer suffer from severe chest pain, the pain has moved from my chest to my lower ribs and causes a feeling of bloatiness and constant dull ache. Does anybody else experience this? The long car trips are a nightmare.
    I have tried to remain active otherwise, doing long daily dog walks and cycling, which dosen’t seem to flare my costo. So I really do recommend walking and cycling to keep active and positive. I have some periods of feeling back to normal again, and then after vigorous vacuuming or lifting heavy objects could bring the costochondritis back again and the recovery could take weeks.
    I will definitely double up my omega 3 intake and do some research to bromelain.
    Thank you!

    • So sorry to hear about your suffering Henna. Long walks and cycling is such a great idea, thank you for sharing! I personally haven’t experienced the lower rib cage soreness/bloatiness but that doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t. For me costochondritis was pretty consistent on where it would hurt. It would either be in one particular spot on my sternum/rib or my back, right in line with where it would hurt in the front. Definitely give omega 3 and bromelain a try and also try tiger balm at night to help you feel better the next day. Keep in touch with us. 🙂

    • Hi Henna
      I suffered pretty much from all the symptoms you’ve had. Most of my symptoms are better after a year of chiropractic care, a ton of supplements (for hormones, intestinal issues, inflammation, immune system) a gluten free diet and biofeedback. I still have monthly flare ups but not like originally sometimes its just a slight dull ache now. Before I wanted to die from the constant intense pain. I had the costo through out all my ribs down my sides and back. I felt as if I was being crushed. I had a lot of jaw pain. I notice that when the costo is more intense my jaw and left arm pain also returns. I also have a lot of neck pain and headaches. I was in 2 car accidents that I believe have caused this and maybe triggered the rest. Also a lot of stress through out several years. I am really wanting to try acupuncture! I was getting a weekly foot massage because my Dr. recommended a weekly massage but couldn’t take a full body massage (it seemed to aggravate the inflammation) and I noticed relief then as well. I’ve been slacking with me diet as far as no sugar and dairy. I need to get back on track because it makes a big difference. Has anyone noticed diet and its affect on the costo?
      This Blog has helped me so much!! I am so thankful Jessica has taken her time to keep up with it.

    • Hi Shilpa
      I think sleeping on an elevated bed for GERD has caused me the costochondritis or at least keeps it going.Now ,half way through the night, I lower the bed.Kind of wish I did not buy that expensive bed.Linda

  52. hi Jessica – Love your blog! I have been a lurker (in a good way!) of this site for the last year, mainly to see what others have tried and read up on successes of others who deal with costochondritis. As an athlete who competed at the highest levels of my sport in the Olympic Trials, being severely sidelined by this debilitating condition for the last 18 months has lead me to treat my “cure” as a second job. My career is as a researcher, so treating this as a second job is second nature. What I have experienced mimics what so many of your readers here have experienced – that doctors are mystified, most don’t know what this is, and when they can’t find a way to help you they try throwing even more pills at you. I have had the usual chest X-rays, EKG’s, several MRI’s, a Pet Scan, and a biopsy to rule out really bad life threatening things, and have tried more prescriptions to “manage” the pain than I can even keep track of – and none have worked.

    Against the recommendation of my rheumatologist, I finally decided to try Acupuncture as advised by a friend with costo who was able to get rid of hers through acupuncture. I found a certified Traditional Chinese medicine doctor who has done acupuncture for over 18 years. While this won’t change things overnight and will likely take a few months and yes, cost me even more money, it is working! It is the first thing that has worked in 18 months. The Chinese herbs she has given me are also working to manage the pain better than the prescriptions I took (any of them!). After three sessions I can now take a deep breath, I can stretch my arms above my head, I can sleep on my side, and I can get out of bed without tears of pain and go to work. I can’t work out yet, but currently am focusing on the things I “can” do again and it is giving me hope that there is light on the horizon. I have replaced my prescriptions with the Chinese herbs, as well as magnesium glycinate, turmeric, krill oil, omega 3, and Noni juice (which admittedly is quite vile but is amazing!) I feel better now than I have in months. For those who read this who have not tried acupuncture, I encourage you to be open to it. Find a certified Traditional Chinese medicine doctor (TCM) who has several years of acupuncture under his/her belt and is schooled in Chinese herbs. If you are a member of Angie’s list, check there for recommendations on a TCM doctor. Read up on Chinese medicine – it is fascinating and it works. Traditional western doctors who don’t support integrated medicine (like my former rheumatologist) may turn their nose up it. But, when you are in as much pain as we have been, you are willing to try anything.

    Just wanted to share what I have learned and hope it helps someone else. As I progress with my acupuncture sessions I will write in updates.
    Tami

    • Hi Tami,

      Aww I am glad you found this blog and decided to post :). Its amazing having so many people on here trying to help out and share what has helped them. It was something I hope I could achieve and I am completely speechless how amazing this has been. I LOVE hearing other methods to bring a somewhat normal life style back.

      I agree about the doctors. It’s absolutely appalling to me how many doctors do not see the severity of this issue and how they have absolutely no idea how to fix it! More research HAS to be done because their are way too many people suffering from this. 😦

      Thank you for sharing your experience with acupuncture, I 100% believe that this would work. Please keep us in the loop about your progress. Isn’t it unreal when you can finally stretch or put your arms above your head without any pain?!? It makes you realize how much we take for granted. I hope everyone that has written a response or has stopped by this site find their “cure” and share it.

      Talk soon and I cannot wait to hear back from you:)

    • Alyse,

      Its hard to explain but essentially you need lotion and you dig your thumb (or someone else digs their thumb or fingers) in between your ribs (your intercostal muscles). It is super painful but depending on how bad your costo is, it can really help.

  53. Bettye back here and at this time nothing else positive to share however I was asked if I had used a tens unit. I haven’t yet but if you have seen Shaquille advertising the icy nlue it is the same as a tens and less expensive. Just thought I would suggest it no harm in trying and put them at your worst trigger points and good luck.😄

  54. Hello to all. I am suffering from costo since middle of July this year… I believe I’ve got it from the dips at the gym… I was not wormed up very well and the next day there was a terrible pain first in my chest muscles and then continues in my chest bone… I stopped working out till now because of that… Sometimes when I am not doing any physical exercises for a few weeks i goes away… From time to time i go to play basketball with my friends and after that it hurts for approx 2 weeks and again goes away until the next game… This is really pissing me off and I’ve decided to go back at the gym in 2015… I will start with the light weights first avoiding any chest exercises and will let you know about the status… Anyway I’m taking omega 3 every day, and haven’t noticed any relief… Doctor gave me some muscle relax pills and something else, but it helped only when I was taking it… In my case pain is only related to physical activity, not with the food I’m eating… but definitely the worst injury I have ever had…

    • Wow Ivan 😦 that totally sucks. But it makes sense that the dips could have caused it. I really think that if are back and chest (front) aren’t equally strong and there are any muscle imbalances, it will cause us to injure or cause some sort of inflammation. So maybe when you get back to the gym really focus on strengthening your back and focusing on keeping good posture in the gym and out. Keep us posted!!

  55. Hi Jessica
    I also have costo.I m currently recovering from flare up it usually takes me five months to completely recover from it.I have had it for 17years now last flare was seven years ago.I thought I was done with it but it has come back in September painful as ever..

  56. Thanks for this post. I have now had costochondritis for 4 years, and it’s completely changed my life. I used to work out at the gym 5 times a week, for 2 hours, and swim in the morning too, and I had to stop everything. I will try omega 3s too, and hope that the problem gets better. The pain has definitely lessened over time. I have to stay calm all the time now, otherwise it flares up again. Pilates helped too, as a good posture is important. I was told that gluten-free was a good idea too, as gluten can make you bloat and put pressure on your ribs, so I stopped eating gluten. It probably helped a little, but I’m a foodie and love my bread and biscuits etc, so I didn’t keep this up very long. It helps to stretch out a lot, and go the physio. After 4 years, it doesn’t feel bad anymore, but I can’t run or do any other strenuous cardio. It’s very depressing! It is so frustrating, and I can understand how you feel if it has affected you as much as me. It feels awful not to be in control of your own pain.

  57. Hi Jessica, I am a Holistic Health Coach and Integrative Nutritionist. I have been living with this condition for over 8 years now and unfortunately my condition seems to be getting worse over time rather than better. My exercise is so limited as some days, just breathing is excruciating. I have found one PT who specializing in this condition but unfortunately I have moved to a different country now and I feel like I am starting at the beginning again with a new health care team. I eat a very anti-inflammatory diet and I do consume a higher amount of Omega 3s daily – which have definitely made a difference. That all being said, I have 2 personal trainers I have recently hired, neither of which know anything about this condition but understand my limitations with upper body exercises. I am wondering what exercises you find helpful for this condition? I used to practice Bikram’s Yoga and found this to be the only yoga class my ribs/sternum could tolerate. I would love to connect with you and find out what your suggestions are. Kindest regards, Candice

    • Hi Candice,

      So sorry for the late reply. I can definitely see how Bikram would make you feel better. I believe it would be the intense heat that would help ease the inflammation, but that is my personal opinion. If you would like any exercise ideas or see if we can get an exercise regime that would work for you, feel free to e-mail me: fullbodydevelopments@live.ca I would love to help. Everyone has a different pain tolerance and they may feel pain from different types of exercises, but because I have been through it I think I would have some what of an idea of what can and cannot work.

  58. hi I’ve had costo on and of for around 5 years ago though 18 months ago a really bad chest infection has left me with the problem pretty full time. Stabbing pains, fatigue, palpitations, sore throats and poor sleep are my symptoms. I find alcohol and poor posture are the main causes of the worst flares. Anti-inflams never made a difference to me. I have flirted with paleo and juicing but havent found anything that really makes a huge difference. I’ve recently started a new gym programme of exercises to open up my chest muscles as I am getting really down about my lack of fitness and depleted energy levels. I don’t know anyone else who suffers from this problem so forums like these are really significant. I am going to try the omega 3 supplements from today. Does anyone know if you can get bromeliad in the uk?

    • Hi Gillian, don’t get down about your lack of fitness. I too, went from being able to do regular push ups, abs non stop, planks, etc and then with the costo I was back to square one BUT it comes back, and quickly too! Your muscle memory will get you back into your fitness that you were prior to the inflammation. Don’t lose hope :).

      I wouldn’t see why you couldn’t get it in the UK. The health food stores should have it. Keep us posted!

  59. Hi Jessica
    Thank you for the update! There is so much truth to your statements. Omega 3 is very important. It will be 1 year for me since I was hit with this debilitating syndrome or disease. I am happy to say that I am better. Not completely cured but better. I began a gluten & wheat free, dairy free, soy free diet in March. That has helped tremendously. I began treatments with a chiropractor. He does adjustments and therapy on my back. I had so much intestinal issues (and still do) but the supplements he has prescribed have helped a lot. I notice that when the gastritis acts up it also flares the costo. I am also doing biofeedback which has helped me mentally because I had some depression & anxiety. I have read up on so much. The brain & intestines are so much more in sync than I knew. I have hope that eventually will be completely better.

    • Hi Pam, thanks so much for your comment. It is so true how the brain and intestines are sync’d up! How have you been doing? Also, I agree with you about soy. Soy for me, has been my enemy with the flare ups. I haven’t touch soy in over a year and haven’t had a flare up. I did feel a little bit of pain 2 days ago but I took my Omega 3 (a lot of it haha) and it is gone.

      Keep us posted!!

  60. Hey guys, having read the post and all the comments its great to hear the opinions of people suffering from the same condition as me. i was diagnosed with costo about 2 months ago in an a & e visit after i was having acute pain in my sternum that was made worse by leaning forward of taking deep breaths. i was also having some pain in between my shoulder blades which i was informed is consistent with costo. This condition has really affected me over the last 8 weeks as i am usually working out at least 4 days a week in my home gym which i have spent the last number of years equipping with an array of top line equipment from rouge and elitefts. i have seen 3 doctors with this who have all informed me that taking prescribed antinflammatories and resting is the best line of action and that i should be better within 2-8 weeks. I have read on countless forums about people suffering with this condition for years at a time so i am really hoping i can be “cured” in time. Currently i am trying to control this pain with ibuprofen which seems to work. i am also taking omega 3 fish oil in the form of carlsons liquid fish oil which i find good as its quite concentrated and strong. i have read on other forums that a heart burn type pain in also quite common with this, i have suffered moreso from this type of pain in recent weeks with a feeling of a frog in my throat at times. this makes me think that i have developed an acid problem maybe as a result of anti inflammatories which can be quiet hard on the stomach. i am going back to my doctor soon for further investigation and i am trying to do some exercise, cardio stationary bike rides, and any lower body work i can. i am going to try the advice from your post as i will try anything to get rid of this pain and get back to training and normal life. Thanks everyone for talking about your condition and your experiences i hope you all get better soon.

  61. Yes, thank you for positive suggestions. It seems costo affects many fit and active individuals. I’d never heard of it! Going to try the above suggestions. Hate being inactive sooo much but determined to get back to fitness.

  62. Hello, I really enjoyed the post. For the last 6-months I have had symptoms similar to what you out outlined above. I am a 28-year old male. I think part of my problem was lifting too often and not taking any rest days (I would lift 6-7 days a week; sometimes doing chest twice a week).

    I went to a number of specialists to get a diagnoses. I have seen my PCP; a cardiologist; and a GI doctor. It seems they have settled on costochondriitis or acid reflux. I personally don’t think it is acid reflux because antacids only have a marginal effect on it. My symptoms improved slightly with ibuprofen, and I have stopped working out for a week as of this writing (very difficult for me as well!) but I think I am going to try the Omega-3 supplementation and see if it improves. I will write again after I start on the Omega-3s and give you the update.

    Thanks again for the post!

    Nick

  63. Hey! Thanks so much for this uplifting post. I have had tendinitis and a pinched nerve in my neck for two years and have had to quit playing fiddle because of the pain. Now I’ve had costochondritus for almost 4 months and I’ve been feeling like my pain will be endless and I’m only 25. :-/ I’ve now ended all my hobbies: soccer, fiddling and ballet due to chronic inflammatory problems. But I feel so much more at ease and hopeful reading your post. I will definitely try both omega 3’s and bromelain and see if they possibly cure both ailments. Another person posted about trying a liver cleanse.. Do you have any thoughts on that? Do you think a gluten free diet could help? Feeling clueless and in the dark…😳

  64. This is really helpful and motivating to see that you have recovered and have shared your details about what did you do to fix it. I have costo for 5 years now and for me, the trigger is chest workout or any kind of heavy weight lifting. It is depressing to think that i had to stop weight lifting because of costo. Now i am doing more of cardio to stay healthy.

    Have seen three different doctors and had been to emergency once (because my wife thought that i may be heart attack 😉 but no help. No one can tell how i got it and what can i do to fix it. Simple response is, it will cure itself with time.

    I am surely gonna try omega 3 advice and see if it helps me.

    • Hello, I really enjoyed the post. For the last 6-months I have had symptoms similar to what you out outlined above. I am a 28-year old male. I think part of my problem was lifting too often and not taking any rest days (I would lift 6-7 days a week; sometimes doing chest twice a week).

      I went to a number of specialists to get a diagnoses. I have seen my PCP; a cardiologist; and a GI doctor. It seems they have settled on costochondriitis or acid reflux. I personally don’t think it is acid reflux because antacids only have a marginal effect on it. My symptoms improved slightly with ibuprofen, and I have stopped working out for a week as of this writing (very difficult for me as well!) but I think I am going to try the Omega-3 supplementation and see if it improves. I will write again after I start on the Omega-3s and give you the update.

      Thanks again for the post!

      Nick

  65. Hi Jessica, thanks for a really informative site on dealing with costo. I’ve had it for a couple of months now, as a result of laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery. I get either clenching, stabbing or pressure pain under my lower right ribs and tenderness in the lower part of my sternum. I’m an an anti-depressant to cope with the depression and anxiety this has brought on in me. Unfortunately, I was also prescribed an anti-anxiety/muscle relaxant which helps with the pain and tension for a few hours but then the dose wears off. I’m currently weaning myself off this drug after five weeks of use and I’m experiencing withdrawal symptoms.. unpleasant when one of them is anxiety which tightens up my chest! Ibuprofen helps a bit but I don’t want to rely on NSAIDS alone. I’m not sure if I can take Bromelain with the other things I’m on, I’ll have to research that, but will try ginger supplements (tea or capsules best or not important?) and tiger balm. Heat definitely makes it feel worse, like inflaming the inflammation, but better for blood flow than cold packs that I used before.

    Any ideas for sleep aids? I’ve been relying on the anti-anxiety/muscle relaxants (Oxazepam, brand name Serepax) but will taper off it in the next few weeks. I don’t think I can use valerian because of interaction with the anti-depressant.

    Best wishes to everyone here coping with this awful condition.

    Rachel

    • I should add I’m on a dairy and gluten free diet at the moment for IBS symptoms (trapped gas) after gallbladder removal.. actually it’s called a low FODMAP diet.. would that help with costo at all? I was also wondering whether fish oil Omega 3 capsules would do for Omega 3 supplementation or do you recommend something else?

      I’m finding exercise really difficult with the costo, other than some quiet walks. A lot of the time I just want to rest and sleep.

      • Hello Rachel,

        Sorry to hear about your situation, I feel for you and I wish you a speedy recovery. As far as the best method to take ginger, I personally believe teas to be quicker at entering our system rather than waiting for a pill to breakdown. However, thats me and I am by no means a professional in that area. So what I would recommend is to try both and see which one seems to help give you relief the fastest. I personally haven’t tried ginger but I read it everywhere about the benefits of it. If you do try it, let me know how you feel and if it makes a difference.
        I should mention, though, that I have tried ginger in my juices that I make but I didn’t have costo at the time so really I can’t tell you if it did any benefits, other than making me feel good in general.
        As far as sleep aids, I have no advice in this area, anyone else on this blog have any pointers? For me the Tiger Balm helped me sleep with the pain because it was a comforting warm sensation on the very painful inflamed areas I had.
        Its hard to say if a low dairy or a low gluten diet will help. I still have gluten and dairy and it doesn’t seem to trigger my costo. But since you seem to have sensitivities to these 2 things it may help for sure.
        For me costo gets triggered by letting my chest muscles get too tight (lack of stretching), stress, sleeping on the same side night after night, bad diet (ie. deep fried foods, not enough fruits/vegetables/omega 3’s/protein) & a major one is if my Omega 6 is too high. I really have to watch the amount of Omega 6 to Omega 3 I eat.
        When it comes to Omega 3, I find the liquid to work best & I take the Omega 3 fish oil from NutraSea. But again, try things out for yourself & see what works best for you. All of our bodies work differently and react to different things. So just because one thing works for me doesn’t necessarily mean its a fixer for you. Thats why I made this blog so people can share what works for them because I know when I had it really bad NSAID didn’t work for me, even the highest dose and a lot of the other things mentioned didn’t help.

        When it comes to exercise, give it time. I am super stubborn so I would work through some pain until it got really bad. But i definitely avoided any push ups, planks, or chest exercises. I worked on my quads, hamstrings, biceps. Back & triceps were hard and even some hamstring exercises were rough. I just found things that were OK and stuck with them until I felt better to try new things out. So start with walking and when you have a good day try a few exercises and always stretch afterwards. And keep good posture throughout your day and stretch your chest slightly by doing the typical door way stretch.

        I hope this helps and thanks so much for posting on the blog. Its so nice that people are commenting and sharing their stories and opinions/remedies that worked for them 🙂

    • Try Buspar to help you sleep, it’s not really classified but sort of in the anti-anxiety family and it’s worked for me. It also is a safer alternative and non-addictive. I believe I’m battling this awful condition although not fully diagnosed and I sympathize with everyone here. Going to try the Omega 3….fingers crossed…once I’m done with a 7 day prednisone cycle.

  66. Jessica- you are right. I have been reading blogs again and out of all the people with it you’re one of 3 that had it longer than a few weeks and have recovered fully after diet. Wheat & gluten elimination has helped the other 2. I’m gonna try it. I can’t imagine living this way for long. I was doing better just a dull ache most days but it’s back with a vengeance. Thank you for posting this and continuing to share it. It does give me some hope.

  67. Angie-
    Why aren’t they working anymore? I’m having horrible flare ups right now. The only thing that I’ve changed is I ran out of ginger and haven’t taken it.
    How is everyone else? Jessica -how are you?

    • Oh no Pam, has the weather changed? Sometimes I found that the weather change made my inflammation flare up bad.

      It does sound like it affects more women than men. I personally haven’t ran into a man suffering from it and from what I have been told and what I have read is that it is most common in women.

      I have been 100% pain free for a while now though. Still taking my Omega’s 3 & Bromelain every other day and eating way more fruit and vegetables daily. I definitely cleaned up my diet big time and I think thats what has really helped it.

      My opinion on Costochondritis is that it can be “cured” with diet and just living a healthy lifestyle. Just like diseases and injuries, diet can really help improve the symptoms.

      I like having these threads on here though, I hope we can all help each other out and maybe find something that works for everyone. As I know that improved diet may have worked well for me, it may not work for everyone else.

  68. I’ve had costochrodrotis for over 4 years. It comes on and off for no particular reason. I’ve been taking a high dose of steroids, which clears it up for a few months, but not this time. Unbearable pain in left side of chest, arm and back.
    Please can somebody suggest a painkiller that will work. G.P?, says, ‘ just get on with it’.
    I can’t even drive atm

  69. Danielle -When it’s flared up like yesterday it is very hard to find a comfortable position whether standing, sitting or lying down. 😦
    Is this condition only affecting women? I’ve not seen one post by a male.
    Ancia- how is the physiotherapy coming along. Is the ultra sound the only thing being done? I began physical therapy 1 month ago. The ultra sound is used once a week only. Other times they do chiropractic & trigger points.which on those days it flares it.

  70. Hey,

    I have just been told I have costochondritis about one month ago. I am a healthy 25 year old female and this condition has been so debilitating the past few weeks it is awful. Some days it feels like I am having a heart attack. And doctors have said it is just the chest wall inflammation and to take NSAIDS and of course, like most of you, they have failed me. I just started to try a supplement for inflammation but have not noticed much of a different with that either. So I am open to hear what other people have been using. I see the bromelain and omega 3 oils coming up a lot. Is this something you would recommend trying?

    I am relieved to see that other people are experiencing exactly what I am. It is awful and hard to accept the fact that there really is not much that can be done.

    Also, I find that getting comfortable in bed is very difficult. Anyone have any suggestions on what to use. pillows, etc to help?

    Thanks,
    Danielle.

  71. I bought solar ray bromelain because health food store didn’t carry the brand you recommended. I had a visit with an internist. She put me on relafen. She also did blood work and X-rays. My vitamin D level was a lil low. No arthritis showed up. But I am having muscle spasms all over. Which is causing a lot of my pain. She ordered chiropractic care and a weekly massage. The relafen has already helped. My pain level is a lot lower. I don’t want to be in this long term so I’m going to continue supplements.Ancia- What are night shade vegetables? You’re story breaks my heart as well. I suspect I’ve had this for several years but this year it was first time it spread all over and caused me to be able to hardly get out of bed.

  72. Glad I found this post, I am 25 suffering with costochondritus for 17 years, no reason as to why :s At the moment I am suffering from the worst bout of costochondritus, I have just had to take a month off work and was bed bound for the majority of that time. I will try and up my omega 3, just purchased some tiger balm and will give that a go. So far I am taking 750-1000mg of an anti inflammatory, 6 pain killers and a low dose of amitriptyline everyday. 😦 I have started acupuncture and massage, slowly running out of ideas but really hoping the omega 3 will help as I am now watching my diet by cutting out nightshade vegetables, red meat etc.

    • Ancia,

      This breaks my heart reading this. I hope your costo gets better!! THis is the reason why I think more research needs to be done on this.. its affecting so many people and they have no answer for us but “here take an anti inflammatory”. Thats not good enough, there has to be a reason this is happening to so many people.

      Yes definitely try to up your omega 3’s, try to sustain good posture even though it may be so painful but its worse to protect it (as it will lead to other problems). Also a lot of the comments here mention ginger, maybe give that a go…seemed to have helped a lot of people. Keep us posted and keep reading new comments on here because maybe something I didn’t try worked for someone else, and you could try it.

      Good luck and I hope you get better soon :(.

      • Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 yes I also think they should research this more as I keep reading more and more posts about this condition! Yeah I also read about ginger helping too! So every night now I have a mug of fresh finger with boiling water, actually white tasty lol I will keep checking back to see any more suggestions and hopefully one day this problem will be investigated

        🙂

    • Hey I just did a search for costochondritis & exercise as I want to try to get some fitness back – I’ve had costo for a long time (been off work for 3 months despite being a workaholic) but was only properly diagnosed 3 weeks ago with it – I’ve had some intensive physiotherapy on my chest (ultrasound treatment twice a week for 3 weeks) and it has worked wonders. I’d highly recommend it – I went from feeling like I was having a heart attack 10 times a day 3 weeks ago to having no severe pain episodes at all now. I didn’t believe it’d work but it’s like a miracle. I can’t take anti-inflammatory meds so have been taking 3 cups of ginger tea a day also. Hope you can get some relief too!

    • I am 80 and I have had CC for over 20 yrs. I had a breast reduction, injections into the ribs on the side of sternum, injections into the front of chest. The last md said ok I can give you 3 inj under microscope and after 6 injections he said the inflammation is to great and there is no help for me. My pain is only relieved when turning on my side to sleep. The entire sternum radiates with pain. At night I take Xanax for fear I can’t breath. I am unable to walk my dog during the week due to pressure clamping down and reducing any deep breathing. No, vacuuming, raising arms to do anything, grocery shopping causes severe pain due to lifting and reaching. Try to put it away when you get home. Pain pills don’t help so I absolutely declined those. Try and explain this to family……no one comprehends this not ouch but debillatating, excruciating pain. God bless everyone of you and I hope help is out there for you obviously with what I have already had done I said that I would be a Guinean pig and be careful because I have had experience with doctors that took advantage of that

      • Bettye,

        I have a clone of your life. I am 53 and had costo for 7 years. It sure changes life. My husband is my arms now. I feel so bad for him and his a blessing at the same time. I am waiting for SSDi and then I hope to get a breast reduction. Best of everything to you dear.

  73. Well hearing that makes me hopeful! 🙂 I started my omegas 3. I will probably double as you did. I’m also taking ginger. I haven’t made it to health food store to get bromelain but it’s on my to do list. How drastically have you reduced your omega 6 intake. I read an article that suggest a balance is good. What type of diet do you suggest?

    • Yes don’t lose hope even when it gets pretty bad. I found I got pretty down but was so stubborn that I kept pushing through and now I am thankful I did because I didn’t let it stop me from living and doing what I love. I know some people can’t do a lot with the pain but when its bearable use that to your advantage :).

      If you do go to the health food store try to get the Natural Factors extra strength bromelain, the other brands I found didn’t really help. However, I do believe there was one that had ginger and bromelain together.. may be something to try?

      I wouldn’t say I drastically reduced my Omega 6 so much as made a conscious awareness to up my Omega 3’s. So I make sure to take my oil and add foods like Hemp hearts, Chia seeds and flax seeds into my diet. For instance, if I make a protein shake I add chia seeds to it, I will add flax seed to a breaded chicken recipe, or add hemp hearts and chia seeds to a healthier cookie recipe, etc.

      I would never go on a crazy intense diet because restricting yourself to much isn’t good either. But I do stay away from white sugar and replace it with a coconut sugar, which even then I barely ever use. I reduced the amount of bread and pasta but didn’t cut them out completely. I also make sure I am consuming enough protein because I find women are especially bad for not eating enough protein in their diets and thats your body’s building block so its really important to have a protein source with every meal, whether its coming from chicken, fish, hemp seeds, quinoa, protein powder, nuts, etc. Also the big one, is cut out deep fried foods! If we go out to a restaurant I will try to avoid ordering fries because deep fried foods can cause an inflammatory response.

      So i guess what I am trying to say is just really work on having that balanced diet, make sure you eat a variety of vegetables, you limit the amount of sugar, carbs from breads/pasta, cut out deep fried foods and ensure you are eating protein with every meal and not just dinner.

  74. This is my first bout with it. I started with the pain in my back a couple months ago. Then recently it radiated all over chest, sides and back. I have noticed on days before rain it seems to flare. Jessica, are you pain free now? And how long have you been pain free?

    • I honestly can’t remember the last time I had intense pain (knock on wood) but usually at this time I would be in a lot of pain. I did have a very mini flare up a few months ago but it didn’t last long. I really find my change in diet and increasing my Omega 3 is helping.

      So at this time, yes I am 100% pain free and have actually lifted heavier than I have ever done with no flare ups. But the big test will be the weather change from winter to spring.

  75. Have any of you tried DMSO? I discovered it online. Then spoke to a relative who swears by it. I’ve started using it. It has helped a lot. It minimizes pain immedietly. I diluted it with aloe and only started with a 10% solution. I’m using a 20% now. Do your research on it before using it!! I was desperate. Because I have gastritis so ibuprofen which is what Dr. prescribed I can’t use too much of. Does the bromelain hurt your stomach?

    • Hey Pam,

      No I have not heard of DMSO, but I will definitely research it! Thanks for sharing.

      Bromelain doesn’t hurt the stomach at all, at least not for me, as its used for people who have digestive issues as well.

      Do you find you costochondritis gets worse with weather change?

  76. Hi Jessica,

    I am so glad to have found this post! I have been dealing with Costo for 4 years 😐 mine was caused by trauma to the area. It is the most annoying thing ever…and extremely painful. I want to be able to run and workout like I used to. Whenever I try, I regret it; the next day I suffer the consequences. It’s horrible. I am going to try your regimen. I really, reallyyyyyyy HOPE it helps. I am desperate!!! I want this gone.

    Which brands did you use?

    Hope to hear from you soon!
    Cindy

    • Oh no Cindy, I am so sorry to hear that :(. It is so sad to hear how many people suffer from this debilitating condition.

      The brands I use are:

      Bromelain- Natural Factors Extra Strength (dark green label)

      Omega 3 Oil- NutraSea (it comes in different flavours which makes it a bit more easier to down)

      Have you tried rubbing tiger balm on the area before bed? I would not use it during the day as it amplifies the pain because it has a warming effect.

      Let me know how you do or if you found anything else that helped you, that may help others. 🙂

  77. Thank you for just putting this info out here. It really helps to know you’re not alone and there is hope! I will begin taking supplements.

    • Everybody,
      I just stumbled on your site. I had minimally invasive, robotic heart bypass surgery last December and was making a very fast recovery. Did a 5k in March, was playing a lot of basketball in the spring. Joined a softball team around April and that might have been my downfall. (Also was playing a little golf and tennis.) Around May, started feeling chest irritation with occasional flaring into the back. Doc said I had costrochindritis. Went to physical therapist and he gave me some light stretching exercises. I would say it got somewhat better in late spring/summer. But it has really gotten strong past few weeks. Big knot in my chest, and big back pain. I continue to try to walk daily and do occasional light running. Perhaps my big mistake has been overstretching? I’ve gone back and forth between a lot of rest with no stretch to extreme stretching. Do you think it’s the extreme stretching that has made everything worse? I can feel things almost separating inside my chest wall during the stretches. I’m planning to see a sports medicine doc this week. Motrin, etc. doesn’t seem to work at all. But I’m trying to avoid stronger pain relief. What is bromelain?

      • Hi Tom,

        So sorry to hear that costochondritis is taking its toll on you. For me and I am assuming it is probably the same case for you, when the weather seasons start to change the costo starts to kick in. However this year so far I have been lucky.

        You can irritate it more with doing too many light stretches for your chest and back. It is something you should do once a day and not more, if doing it once a day irritates you then do every second day but make sure you work on keeping good posture. The worse thing you want to do is protect it because it will cause more tightness and irritation if you try to sit up right.

        I completely understand what you mean by the separating inside your chest. When the inflammation is intense, it feels like your chest is ripping and if you feel your ribs connecting to sternum it feels really different. And it will feel worse when you stretch but that doesn’t mean its a bad thing, as long as the stretches aren’t irritating you more you should be ok.

        Bromelain is a natural derivative of pineapple. It is known most commonly for helping with digestion but is also a natural anti-inflammatory. I take the Natural Factors extra strength one and I swear by it. As long as your not allergic to pineapples or are on any blood thinners (as it does thin your blood) then its okay to take, a health food store clerk can help you understand it better as well. But like i always say, something may work for some people and others it may not do a thing, but give it a shot and if it works great, if not then maybe try upping your Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s are something we lack with our diet and we are overloading ourselves with Omega 6’s. Omega 6’s cause a pro-inflammatory response and Omega 3’s cause an anti-inflammatory response to the body. So maybe try that as well and see how you feel. 🙂

        Hope this helps and I hope you feel better soon!

        • Thanks for the suggestions. I will see how the next few weeks go. One more question relating to doctors: if the pain continues, not sure which doctor to see or who will know more about: sports medicine/orthopedic doc or possibly a doctor who treats arthritis? It was also suggested that I try acupuncture. I’m open to different forms of treatment if I feel better, but don’t just want to take stronger meds that will end up masking the pain. At its worst, my costrochondritis results in a big knot-like feeling in the front and radiating back pain. I continue to walk daily but can’t wait to play basketball again! Thanks, Tom

  78. Im surprised you said bromelain works better on a full stomach as apparently bromelain works best with a pH range of 5-10… Bromelain on its own 800mg/d didn’t work for me. But ibuprofen worked in a couple of days, but it comes back when I stop. I’ll look into herbals, I really miss the gym.

    Anyhow I am really worried about exercising through the pain, worried about possible long term damage like some sort of arthritis later in life.

    • Hi Dan,

      Thanks for the comment. Bromelain for me has been an absolute life saver and I have never heard or read about the PH range info but again, it may work for some and not for others. I know I do tell people suffering from any type of inflammation to try it out and it also works for them. I take the Natural Factors extra strength Bromelain 500mg, I can take anywhere from 1-2 capsules a day so I take anywhere from 500-1000mg. I personally found this Bromelain to be the best, as others haven’t done anything for me.

      I did try Ibuprofen and for me that didn’t work, but again everyone is different.

      I haven’t had pain now for over 2 months and I haven’t been taking anything for it either, I stopped Bromelain and take my Omega’s once every 3rd day (because I forget most of the time haha), the weather has changed here and still nothing. So I have been doing a lot of chest and back exercises to strengthen it and now my push ups are better than they have ever been and I can now do unassisted pull ups, which I could never do before because I could feel the pain.

      I don’t think exercising with costochondritis will cause arthritis unless you do chest and back exercises that cause pain and you keep pushing through them.. When I am in severe pain those areas are completely off limits but if the pain is easy to handle I do take full advantage of it and it helps the pain go away. Personally, exercise has been a huge help and I think that we are all capable of knowing what we can and can’t do. So you do what feels best for you 🙂

  79. Thanks for sharing your story and telling a positive story, showing you can still somehow exercise with this brutal condition. I’ve had it on and off for over 10 years and I know it can be very frustrating.
    Some things work to relieve the pain but as far as healing I feel these few things have worked for me:

    1- Posture exercises and VERY light stretching to the area, nothing that hurts.
    2. Sleep as much as possible.
    3. Get some Ginger powder and mix it with a little water, so it becomes pasty, not too liquid. Rub that in your trouble area, let it dry and sleep with it. It itches slightly and it feels hot but I think it helps more than other ointments that only give very temporary releif.
    4. I also try to stay away from chemicals but Ddiphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl and other OTC medicines seems to work real well for me and allows me to sleep well. As with all chemicals don’t abuse it but if other pain killers or anti-inflammatories don’t work give this a try on the bad days.

  80. Update: Pain is gone! I was able to do a push up with no pain! (Thats my test to see if its still there… somewhere). There was a bit of an “aftershock” pain that went away instantly. I really think taking the Omega’s, Bromelain and rubbing Tiger Balm at night all helped in the speedy recovery. I will probably avoid working out my chest for another 2-3 days but then I will slowly incorporate back in my routine to help strengthen it again.

    On a side note, if you are training with costochondritis pain don’t be afraid or worry if certain exercises hurt during. Once your done working out just rub some Tiger Balm on it and take some Omega 3’s. I found that doing triceps pulldown the other day on the cable machine would really aggravate my chest (as I was keeping my chest up, shoulders back) but because I am stubborn, I did not get rid of the exercise.. I just lowered my weight and kept going.

    Don’t let this stop you from reaching your goal. You will always have bumps in the road or injuries to let heal. But if you can continue on without making things worse then take that chance. You choose whether to let it control you or you control it.

  81. Hey,

    For any of those who do fall on this page, I thought I would update my situation with you.

    So currently, every spring it seems to act up and as mentioned previously, some years its not too bad, others its pretty painful. This year is worse than last year. But I did find something that helps me throughout the day. I still take my bromelain, sometimes taking two tablets instead of one (seriously, bromelain is my life saver!) and I will take it about 2-3 times a day, I take my Omega 3 Oil (again, doubling the dose. This REALLY helps too) AND my new thing I have been doing is rubbing Tiger Balm on the inflamed painful area at night before bed. Now I say at night because this stuff will at first, make you feel the inflammation even more, as it goes on cold but heats up making you feel exactly where all the inflammation is. But if you do this before bed, you will be sleeping through the uncomfortableness and wake up feeling barely any pain, if any. I have been doing this for 4 days now and every morning I wake up thinking my costo is gone. So it really helps sooth it.

    Anyways, I would love to hear what others have done to help! Whatever you do, don’t let it get you down and don’t stop exercising because of it. There are still tons of exercises you can do that won’t aggravate it. 🙂

    Jessica

    • Hey! Thanks so much for this uplifting post. I have had tendinitis and a pinched nerve in my neck for two years and have had to quit playing fiddle because of the pain. Now I’ve had costochondritus for almost 4 months and I’ve been feeling like my pain will be endless and I’m only 25. :-/ I’ve now ended all my hobbies: soccer, fiddling and ballet due to chronic inflammatory problems. But I feel so much more at ease and hopeful reading your post. I will definitely try both omega 3’s and bromelain and see if they possibly cure both ailments. Another person posted about trying a liver cleanse.. Do you have any thoughts on that? Do you think a gluten free diet could help? Feeling clueless and in the dark…😳

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