Patient Comments: Costochondritis and Tietze's Syndrome - Treatments

What was the treatment for your costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome?

Comment from: Barbara, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 26

I'm a 35 year old woman. I've had Tietze's syndrome for over 11 years, with no improvement. When it first started in 2004 the doctors misdiagnosed with costochondritis, but I've always had a large lumps on top of my left rib cage. It wasn't until 2013 when they finally gave me the actual diagnosis of Tietze's syndrome. I've been getting cortisone injection along with nerve blockers every 3 or 4 months since 2013. Unfortunately the lump and swelling are still progressing. My lump is now as large as my hand and starts just left of my sternum and ends under my left arm pit. Also I now have a new lump on top of the right side of my rib cage. My attacks make it hard to get a full breath. The only way I have been able to stop the attacks, is to find the biggest person I can find and have them push very hard on top of my lump and forcefully hold it until the attack subsides. I am hoping to get a referral to a rheumatologist soon. Naproxen, hydromorphone, and perks don't do much when it feels like I'm having a heart attack.

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Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

In 1983 I had a spontaneous pneumothorax, which required leaving a chest tube in for 10 days. After release from the hospital, I began to have pain in my chest around the breastbone. My surgeon put me through ultrasound treatments which made the pain worse. He then determined that I had Tietze's syndrome. For the next 4 years, I suffered periodic debilitating attacks. I remember that at times, I just sat in a chair with tears running down my cheeks due to the severity of the pain. The only thing that gave me any relief was steroid injections into the swollen joints around my breastbone. Interestingly, we moved from Denver to Houston, Texas and the frequency of the attacks diminished and eventually stopped altogether. I always thought that the changes in barometric pressure contributed to the attacks. So, the condition may be benign, but the pain was horrible.

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Comment from: Avvie, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I'm 25 and got diagnosed with costochondritis about 2 months back when I experienced a very sharp pain on my chest in the middle of the night, thinking it was a heart attack. I felt fine after a while, the pain subsided slightly but throbbed the rest of the night. I went to the doctor's the very next day and during the consultation the doctor asked me to do a series of arm/chest stretches and lifts just to ascertain the painful spot and did an ECG. She finally diagnosed it with costochondritis and it was a relief to me as I thought I had a heart issue. She said perhaps it was due to stress, as my job in sales tends to be long hours at work and sales targets to meet. I was prescribed with an analgesic and Anarex (painkillers). However, 2 months later, the pain came back for 2 nights in a row before I decided to go back to the doctor's. Doctor said that it would recur (I couldn't believe this, to suffer the rest of my life with this!) and there's no known cause but it occurs mostly in women than men. He (a different doctor) prescribed me with analgesic and Anarex as well, and sent me on my way. I guess this is a condition we have to live with.

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Comment from: ActiveOne, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 26

I am and always have been very active. When I was 17 to 18, I started having chest pain intermittently during soccer games. Sometimes I worked through the pain and sometimes I have to lie down on the sidelines until the pain receded. My doctors thought the linings of my heart and lungs were irritated from activity and no course of treatment was pursued. Five or six years later, still very active, I suddenly developed severe chest pain that would last all day. My doctor diagnosed me with costochondritis. I was prescribed anti-inflammatory pain relievers, which helped with pain but had horrible side-effects. I tried the steroid patches, but I they did not help. In the end, I discontinued all exercise (yoga, spinning, lifting weights, running) for 9 months and took naproxen when needed. Rest seemed to help the most. Overall, costochondritis is very frustrating because I felt there was no control over the pain. I literally had to wait it out for months.

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Comment from: zappa123, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I have an autoimmune disorder which causes soft tissue swelling. I have been on mild immunosuppressants for over fifteen years. I get flare ups which often present with costochondritis, actually Tietze"s. I am surprised by how other patients here find that it is annoying but they are functioning. When I get this it is bilateral and severe. I"ve had to go to emergency many times as I am not breathing sufficiently. Cortisone shots directly to the area of the swelling work best but it"s hard to get appointments. I take anti-inflammatory drugs daily (huge stomach ulcer but no choice.) I am just wondering if anyone else has this Tietze's this severely. I can barely move my arms, head, neck or upper body at all due to extreme pain. In the past this has gone on for months (I had to be hospitalized).

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