ZocdocAnswersCould this be Costochondritis or something else?

Question

Could this be Costochondritis or something else?

I was diagnosed with costochondritis about 4 months ago. Lately my chest hurts on the left side behind my breast and on my sternum. It hurts worse after I've held my nephew. When I was originally diagnosed my PCP told me to take ibprofin but she haas since prescribed me a Tramadol. Using heat does help but I'm worried it could be something more serious. My PCP didn't do any tests, she just pushed on different areas of my chest.

Answer

Chostochondritis is a condition where inflammation develops between the ribs and sternum. It can cause chest pain that can be very significant and worse when you touch that area. It is important that you speak with your primary care physician. Since chostochondritis is often in the same location as the heart, sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between that and other conditions that cause chest pain such as the heart attack. In this case, your doctor probably performed a physical exam and was able to reproduce your pain by pressing in that area. If that is the case, the chance that this is something to do with your heart is very very low. This is especially true if you are young and otherwise healthy. If this is chostochondritis, the best treatment for it is an anti-inflammatory. There are better anti-inflammatories than ibuprofen, and thus maybe your doctor would consider prescribing one of those. I tend to prescribe the medication indomethacin which can also be very helpful. Tramadol should not be that helpful since this is a narcotic pain medicine and not an anti-inflammatory. If your doctor thinks that something else might be going on, that it might be worthwhile to get an EKG and perhaps a chest x-rays to rule out other causes. I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for this issue.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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