Costochondritis or Chest Pain and its Treatment

Costochondritis or Chest Pain and its Treatment

What is Costochondritis?

Costochondritis is a painful chronic inflammation of the costochondral junctions of the ribs or the anterior chest wall’s chondrosternal joints. Tenderness is elicited by palpation of the damaged chondrosternal joints of the chest wall, and pain is recreated by palpation of the affected cartilage segments, which may radiate out into the chest wall. Costochondritis is an inflammatory condition. Inflammation of the costal cartilages and associated sternal articulations, also known as costochondral junctions, causes it.

Clinical presentation of costochondritis:
  • Sharp or dull pain that gets worse with movement and in specific postures When the patient takes a deep breath, the discomfort usually becomes worse.
  • Swelling of the costochondral junction’s upper costal cartilage can occur gradually or suddenly.
  • Tenderness.
Physiotherapy Treatments:
  • Minimizing activities that provoke the symptoms (e.g. reducing the frequency or intensity of exercise or work activities).
  • Pain relief using trigger point release therapy.
  • Use heat/ cold pads.
  • Soft tissue mobilization prevents muscle overload and alleviates pain.
  • Postural exercises are used to retrain good posture in functioning roles (Neuro-muscular control).
  • Functional training to maintain proper posture during daily activities.
  • Thoracic manual therapies aim to increase rib and thoracic spine mobility by targeting the lateral and posterior rib tissues.
  • Range of motion exercises. The patient should not feel any pain while performing the exercises, such as rotation exercises for the thoracic spine.
  • Stretching: They can start with easy mobility exercises as tolerated, such as stretching the pectoralis major (stretch pectoralis major, stand in a corner for 10 seconds with both hands against the wall (as if doing a push-up) and repeat it a few times a day for 1 or 2 minutes).
  • Spine and rib mobilization to improve thorax mobility and symptoms.
  • Electrotherapy such as TENS, Ultrasound, etc.
  • Dry needling.
  • Advanced physiotherapy treatment involves Super inductive system therapy, TECAR therapy, and Laser therapy.

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