Costochondritis: How Chest Pain and Fibromyalgia are Related


By Bill Cravens,

Anyone who suffers from fibromyalgia knows of the various different types of symptoms and pain there are associated with it.  They also know what a large part of the pain associated with fibromyalgia occurs in the chest. One of these is costochondritis.


Many people who have fibromyalgia also have costochondritis, but what they don’t know is that fibromyalgia and costochondritis require separate treatment.  In addition, some of the reasons behind the pain in costochondritis may or may not be the same source of the pain of fibromyalgia.

If fibromyalgia goes untreated, it is only bound to get worse, unfortunately.  But it’s also very important that you treat your costochondritis as well.

Is All Chest Pain Costochondritis?

No, it is definitely not. Many people who have it actually think that the pain is occurring because of cardiac issues.  For some people, the pain from costochondritis is so intense that they think they may be suffering from a heart attack.

Fibromyalgia Chest Pain

What exactly is it?

Costochondritis is inflammation that builds up in the cartilage in your ribs and breast bones. Some people feel the same level of pain as having a heart attack, while others feel no more pain than if it were a simple nuisance.


What are the Causes of Costochondritis?

Just as with fibromyalgia, the real causes behind costochondritis aren’t exactly known yet. Hopefully, with new scientific and medical technological advancements and study, we’ll be able to find the answer soon enough. For right now, doctors and medical professionals believe that costochondritis could be due to trauma in the chest area or a viral infection of some sort, especially in the respiratory area.

Another theory is that fibromyalgia can cause costochondritis, and indeed, patients with both fibromyalgia and costochondritis feel much more pain in their chest area than people with just costochondritis. But then again, there are a minority of people who have costochondritis but also don’t have fibromyalgia, so fibromyalgia most likely is not the root cause.


We don’t yet have official numbers, but doctors and medical professionals seem to come to the same consensus that more than three out of every five fibromyalgia patients also either have costochondritis or symptoms that have a marked resemblance to its symptoms. At the same time, fibromyalgia doesn’t cause inflammation, which is what this chest pain is.


However, the pressure points of fibromyalgia and the inflammation may play a role together, which could also perhaps explain why costochondritis patients who also have fibromyalgia have greater chest pain than those who don’t.  Another interesting difference is that costochondritis can heal up within days.


If you have the symptoms of costochondritis but they don’t heal up in at least a week or two, there is a chance that you might have fibromyalgia.


Common Symptoms of Costochondritis

The most common symptom is feeling pain in the chest wall and/or in the ribcage. This pain will feel much worse the more you move around, as the inflammation of the cartilage will only get worse.  Other common symptoms include pain in the nerves of your chest and a swelling of the painful areas.


Costochondritis is usually officially diagnosed when pressure is applied to the painful places in your ribs and breast bones, and if the pain gets much worse there, then it is very likely that costochondritis is the reason behind the pain. Doctors and medical professionals also have an array of other tests that they can conduct, since cardiac or heart problems could also be a reason for the pain.


Treating costochondritis is largely the same way that you’d treat other forms of inflammation: applying ice to the painful area and taking approved drugs to treat the problem.


Granted, it is very painful to live with both types of pain, and your life can be greatly impacted by having just one of the conditions, not to mention both.  But the good news for you is that costochondritis is much easier to treat and manage than fibromyalgia.

Souce: Fibromyalgia Treating

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