Musculoskeletal Pain in Costochondritis

Q: I’m a 23-year old female. I’m having pressure on my chest and a stabbing pain between my shoulder blades for two weeks now. When I breathe, I have a feeling like something is stuck in my right lung; it’s very painful. Sometimes I have a sore throat and a dry cough. Is this just a chest cold?
-By Ellen

Reply:

The condition you have is medically called costochondritis. This is essentially an inflammation of a cartilage connecting your rib with your sternum.

Why Does Costochondritis Occur?

This pain is basically mechanical in origin, caused by repeated minor traumas to the chest wall.

In your case, it may have happened by repeated coughing. When a person coughs, the elastic band-like cartilage connecting a rib cage with the sternum has to stretch. Repeated stretches of any particular cartilage may irritate and inflame it.

This causes pain, as in a wound. This is nothing but an internal wound.

Features of Pain in Cartilage inflammation

  • It increases on deep breathing.
  • Pain is felt more after physical activities.
  • It is painful to touch on the area.
  • Pain may be felt on arms and shoulders as well, as the nerves supplying them branch away from the chest.

Management

You need to take rest and limit your activities. The part in pain requires rest and minimum movements for a few days.

If you still have cough, take medication to alleviate it.

Pain of costochondritis takes 2 -3 weeks to go. Meanwhile, you may use any over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to suppress it.

If you feel it’s getting worse, it would be better to get examined by a doctor.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.