Costochondritis is an inflammation of the costochondral or costosternal joint i.e. junction where upper ribs join with the cartilage which holds them to the sternum (breastbone), resulting in pushing cartilage in the front of the ribcage.


This inflammation of costochondral junction causes pain, tenderness, and discomfort in the chest. The most common site of pain is close to the sternum, at the level of 4th, 5th, and 6th ribs.

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Who Are At Risk?

Women are more prone to develop costochondritis. Elderly people are more affected.

Individuals of any race can be affected by costochondritis.

What Are The Causing Factors?

In most cases, there is no apparent cause, but in few cases, causes reported are as following:

• Stress.
• Strenuous exercises
• Sudden trauma to the chest
• Viral respiratory infection
• Bacterial infection in few cases
• Surgery of upper chest.
 Ankylosing spondylitis
• Arthritis
• Overuse injury in athletes.
• Joints infection ( tuberculosis, syphilis)

Costochondritis Signs and Symptoms

• Sharp pain located on the front of chest, may radiate back or abdomen.
• Pain over the fourth to sixth ribs.
• Pain from coughing
• Tenderness
• Anxiety due to chest pain
• Difficulty moving trunk or breathing.
• High fever
• Nausea, vomiting
• Sweating
• Inflammation accompanied by redness, swelling or pus discharge.

How To Diagnose Costochondritis?

• Complete case history
• Physical examination
• Chest X-Ray

Treatment of Costochondritis

• Analgesics
• Antibiotics
• Anti-depressant
• Anticoagulant
• Narcotics

Prognosis of Costochondritis

Prognosis of Costochondritis is generally very good. Most of the cases recover within 6-8 weeks after proper treatment. By 6 months complete recovery is reported, in very rare cases condition may return.

Complications of Costochondritis

• Infection may spread to the blood.
• Fever or abscess formation may be possible.

Differential diagnosis of Costochondritis

• Myocardial ischemia
• Fibrositis
• Tietze syndrome.
• Bornholm disease.

What To Be Done To Minimize Pain?

• Rest
• Mild exercise
• Heat or icing may also relieve symptoms
• Proper medication
• Nerve stimulation therapy
• Gentle shrug and rotating shoulders help in healing.
• Avoid tight clothing
• Avoid smoking and alcohol
• Avoid fatty and spicy food.

Homeopathic treatment for Costochondritis

Ranunculus bulbosus:
• Pain and soreness, as if the sternum, ribs, intercostals spaces and both hypochondria are bruised.
• Intercostals rheumatism.
• Chilliness in the chest when walking in open air.
• Stitches in the chest, between shoulder blades.
• Rheumatic pains in chest.
• Tenderness of the abdomen on pressure.
• Worse in open air, inspiring, moving

Bryonia alba:
• Broken ribs.
• Pains stitching, burning and stabbing.
• Pain worse with the slightest motion.
• Heals sprains that are excruciating.

Arnica Montana:
• Sports or traumatic injuries.
• Limbs and body ache as if beaten
• Bed feels too hard to lie on.
• Sore lame, bruised feeling.
• Rheumatism of muscular and tendinous tissues, especially the back and shoulders.

Oleander-Nerium odorum:
• Oppression as if from a weight.
• Asthmatic when lying down.
• Palpitations, with weakness and empty feeling in the chest.
• Obtuse stitches in the chest.

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