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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Costochondritis

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Frequently Asked Questions About Costochondritis

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  • Costochondritis affects the cartilage that connects your ribs to the breastbone or sternum
  • Inflammation is the main cause of costochondritis, although the specific trigger for it is unknown
  • Hot or cold therapy works on easing the pain brought on by costochondritis. You can also resort to herbal treatments with analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects

Q: What part of the body does costochondritis affect?

A: Costochondritis affects the cartilage that connects your ribs to the breastbone or sternum. If there is inflammation on this body part, known as the sternocostal joint or costosternal articulation,1 then you will experience pain.

Q: What causes costochondritis?

A: Inflammation is the main cause of costochondritis, although the specific trigger for it is unknown. Other potential causes include:2

Physical strain brought on by strenuous activities

Chest trauma, like an injury or blunt impact

Viral, bacterial and fungal infections

Tumors in the costosternal articulation or surrounding regions

Diseases like arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Q: What does costochondritis pain feel like?

A: The pain is said to feel as if there’s pressure on the cartilage.3 The severity can vary from one patient to another — it can be very mild or severely debilitating. People who have mild costochondritis only feel a tender pressure on their chest, but those with severe cases may have pain shooting down their limbs.

Q: How long does costochondritis last?

A: Costochondritis is not a persistent condition, and it usually goes away on its own in many cases. Mild costochondritis can go away after a few days, while chronic cases may last for weeks or more. Nevertheless, most patients do not have to deal with this condition for longer than a year.4

Q: How long does costochondritis usually take to heal?

A: As mentioned above, costochondritis usually heals on its own in a few days or weeks. The best thing you can do is to reduce your chances of turning it into a chronic and persistent condition. You can do this by avoiding carrying or lifting heavy loads, or making sure you’re doing it properly, as well as by reducing the high impact exercises and manual labor that you do.

Q: How do you treat costochondritis?

A: Most conventional physicians would recommend pharmaceutical interventions like NSAIDs, antidepressants and narcotics to ease costochondritis,5 but the good news is that there are safer and holistic options available to encourage healing.

The first thing you should do is get enough rest. You can also avoid strenuous physical activities to prevent the condition from worsening. Hot or cold therapy also works on easing the pain brought on by costochondritis.6 Finally, you can resort to herbal treatments like ginger,7 arnica8 and boswellia,9 which all have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Q: What are the best and worst foods for costochondritis?

A: Ideally, the best diet for costochondritis patients is an anti-inflammatory diet. It should be composed of foods that are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. When taken in proper balance, they can significantly transform your health while helping minimize pain. Bone broth, green leafy vegetables and nuts and seeds are some examples of anti-inflammatory foods.10

Make sure to cut back on foods that can exacerbate inflammation. Avoid refined grains and sugar, as well as processed foods that contain chemical additives like MSG. Sodas, high-sugar fruit juices, alcoholic drinks and caffeinated beverages should be eliminated from your diet as well. Dairy may also trigger inflammation, so you may need to cut back on it.


Costochondritis: Introduction

What Is Costochondritis?

Costochondritis Symptoms

Costochondritis Causes

Costochondritis Treatment

Costochondritis Prevention

Costochondritis Diet

Costochondritis FAQ

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