Just give me a full body transplant already
December 12, 2011 6:39 AM   Subscribe

Chronic costochondritis... help plz

YANMD blah blah just need some input from anyone with even tangential experience with this.

Fractured my chest cartilage in high school while playing a sport; laid up for a couple days but nothing too bad. Fast forward 5 or 6 years; start a desk job(8 hours+ on a laptop) after college, start having trouble leaning my head forward (ouch), sleeping on my side, breathing deeply, working out, etc. Visit convenient care, diagnosed as costochondritis, am prescribed steroids + naproxen(or w/e it's called) This clears me up good and well within a week, but I continue to take the naproxen for another 3.

3 weeks later: Hit again. Almost definitely triggered by trying to work out again- not even heavily. Visit a different CC(I move around a lot), same diagnosis and medication, clears up once more.

OH HEY it's back again. I'm taking ibuprofen frequently to calm it down. Worried it'll never go away- in retrospect I've probably felt it for years (odd chest-area pain during my frequent 9 hour+ driving sessions) I know chest pain is serious stuff, but this seems a cut-and-dry case of costochondritis.

My question(s) are:
What can I do, myself, to get this to go away for good? I really want to be working out again...
Will going to a doctor (I don't have a GP at the moment) regularly help in some way? What could a regular doctor do for me, other than rack up medical bills(useless x-rays), if the prescribed medicine won't work? The issue here really isn't money, but time, since I work during dr's hours.
posted by MangyCarface to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would visit a physical therapist with a board certification in orthopedics. There are manual therapy techniques that are sometimes effective in treating costochondritis. I would want to look at your thoracic spine, and see if there are issues there that could be affecting this.

To find an OCS, go to www.apta.com, click on "find a PT," and find somebody in your area with OCS after their name.

Good luck!
posted by jennyjenny at 7:36 AM on December 12, 2011

Visit a Doctor of Osteopathy. They specialize in how the bones and cartilage and...um..everything connects up. They can offer advice on how to sit and live so that your problems are less likely to reassert themselves, after they adjust you.

Could be your spine, could be your shoulders, the direction your head points when you look at a screen, or any number of things that are causing you this pain. But without that adjusting, the problem will keep coming back. You will probably need more than one treatment.
posted by bilabial at 7:53 AM on December 12, 2011

See somebody, and prepare to be told to do no lifting for a long time. Costochondritis is pretty binary: it is either healed or not healed. You have to let it heal, really really heal. You're going to need some guidance to get through that process, and you're probably going to have to take some time off work for several doctor visits and PT. Not doing that means you're just going to hurt and re-injure over and over again.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:11 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had it last year, it lasted ages and I had to do NO gym work with that chest (mine was half way down, where the rib joins the middle bit (sternum). After a while I managed to balance away on the cross trainer, bike and stepper but no weight or pressure on my arms. Tried yoga - HA - back to square one. Mind you I went through lots of time when they didn't know what it was in the beginning.

So: what sorted me out: rest, not pushing it with that arm at all (got dispensation at work, too, not pushing trolleys and lifting books) and lots of anti-inflammatories. Took a few months to go. I get it flaring up a little on occasion, but working on my posture has helped that.

Good luck!
posted by LyzzyBee at 6:29 AM on December 19, 2011

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