Patient Comments: Costochondritis and Tietze's Syndrome - Treatments

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

Comment from: diskatdreamer, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 28

I have had fibromyalgia for about 5 years and episodes of costochondritis for about 3 years. My first few episodes of costochondritis I was given prednisone, anti-inflammatory medicines and muscle relaxer. The first couple of episodes went away in about a week. Last year's episode lasted about six weeks (it felt like much longer). I'd start to feel a little better when taking prednisone 3 times a day but then would get worse when I cut down to 2 times a day. After a few rounds of prednisone and not feeling any better my doctor had my heart and lungs checked out and they were fine. I just had to keep doing the same old thing till I finally felt better. During this time I missed quite a bit of work (I would think I felt good enough for work, go in one day and be in pain and gasping for breath when I finished my shift as a nurse's aide). I am now three weeks into a new episode. I decided that I would stay home from work and just concentrate on taking my medicines and get plenty of rest and maybe I'd do better than last year. I am having the same problems as last year and now my doctor wants me to have a cardiac consult and won't sign the papers for short term disability so that I can at least get paid for some of my time off. I have gone to pain management and talked about changing the way I take some of my medications and start physical therapy on Monday. I'm also thinking of trying a chiropractor. I'm just so frustrated and would do almost anything to get rid of the dull aching pain and the struggle to take a deep breath. I'm stuck in a vicious circle of not wanting to go to work because I don't want to accidentally harm a resident because I don't feel up to par and having to go to work to keep my job and pay the bills. Thanks for letting me rant! My thoughts are with everyone who is also suffering with costochondritis.

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Comment from: Margaret, 65-74 Male Published: November 12

I am type 2 diabetic. I have itching and stinging when I inject and over the last two weeks have developed hives all over my stomach.

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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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