Costochondritis and Tietze's Syndrome - Symptoms

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What are symptoms of costochondritis, and what is Tietze's syndrome?

Costochondritis is distinguished from Tietze's syndrome, a condition also involving the same area of the front of the chest, by the presence of swelling. Costochondritis is not associated with swelling, as opposed to Tietze's syndrome, where swelling is characteristic. Tietze's syndrome is an inflammation of the costochondral cartilages of the upper front of the chest that involves swelling of the joint.

While both costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome feature localized pain and tenderness in the front of the chest, Tietze's syndrome also causes swelling over the ribs and cartilage near the breastbone (sternum). Redness, tenderness, and warmth can also be present, but a localized swelling is the distinguishing finding. The pain is variable, often sharp, can be confused with heart pain, and can last from hours to weeks. It can cause difficulty with sleeping and even rolling over in bed is sometimes painful. Blood testing (sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein test) can show signs of inflammation in patients with Tietze's syndrome, whereas patients with costochondritis alone typically have normal tests for inflammation.

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Comment from: Cheryl RN, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

I am dealing with pain under my armpit and across the right side and under my breast. I had pneumonia exactly 4 weeks ago, supposedly that was on the left side. I coughed with that, but had no pain in my chest. It was only after I picked up a cold and was coughing from that that the pain started. It feels better some days, then it feels like it flares up. Sometimes naproxen at night makes it feel better. I have no shortness of breath, I still have an occasional dry cough which aggravates the pain. The pain is not in the center of my chest, it"s more under my arm on chest wall and alongside underneath breast. I did have some pain in the breast to my back, I felt like I could draw a straight line from that to my back and that"s where the pain was. Palpation made it worse. This definitely started with my coughing about 3 weeks ago. I"m not sure it is costochondritis/Tietze"s syndrome, but it sounds like it.

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Comment from: libra57, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

I was told I have costochondritis, but I think it is Tietze"s syndrome. When an attack starts it is on the right side, it radiates across my chest to the left and into my left arm. It lasts 15 minutes. It is so excruciating I cannot move. I start sweating, my chest swells up to a point I want to take my bra off. I have tried Tums and lots of them, and eating toast bread. I find if I eat a biscuit every morning I cut the rate of having attacks by 75%. I started having these attacks 2 weeks after I had my gallbladder out. That was 2 years ago. I also find if I start bending or twisting too much it will bring on an attack. Once I feel it start there is no stopping it. I just stay still and wait until it passes.

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