Can the swelling related to costochondritis extend into the neck and back area? I have had these symptoms at least 5 times and have feel that there is a direct connection. Also can lifting and straining worsen costochronditis?
Yes and no. Inflammation of costochondritis, which typically is around the breastbone (sternum) in the front of the chest, would not extend to the neck and back. Nevertheless, you are absolutely correct that costochondritis can be related to symptoms involving the neck and back. There are a number of conditions that lead to neck and back pain and stiffness which also can be associated with costochondritis. These include fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter's disease, psoriatic arthritis, and injury.
Lifting or straining can certainly aggravate the inflamed areas of costochondritis. Resting and avoiding excessive activities are recommended until the inflammation subsides.