Costochondritis: What You Should Know

Do you experience pain, limited mobility and general discomfort originating from your lower torso? If so, you could be suffering from a condition known as costochondritis. This condition is characterized by inflammation/swelling of the costal cartilage that connects the rib bones to the sternum, bringing them together as the costosternal joint.

The average person has 24 ribs, all of which are protected by thick, supportive cartilage to preventing any unnecessary movement. When this cartilage becomes inflamed, costochondritis occurs, at which point the individual may experience pain, discomfort, and limited mobility in the affected region. The good news is that most cases of costochondritis heal on its own without the need for immediate medial attention. The bad news, however, is that some of the more severe cases can last for weeks or even months, making it difficult for the individual to perform normal everyday tasks.

Costochondritis is most commonly diagnosed based on symptoms. Regardless of the severity, most people who suffer from this condition report pain, tenderness and swelling in chest area. In the most extreme cases, however, individuals may have trouble breathing due to the pain and pressure placed against their chest.

While anyone can develop this condition, at any age, costochondritis is far more common in adults ages 20-40. Children and the elderly have a lower risk risk of developing costochondritis, although the reasoning for this remains unknown. Some doctors and medical practitioners believe this trend is due to the fact that adults between the ages of 20-40 are more physically active, which subsequently places them at a higher risk for developing this condition. Other studies have shown that women have a higher risk for developing costochondritis than men.

So, what’s the best approach to treating costochondritis? Most doctors advise their patients to refrain from extensive physical activity until the symptoms have subsided. This doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up inside your home until the condition has cleared, but you should avoid exercises, running or doing any heavy lifting. Extensive physical activities such as this will only worsen your condition by further stressing the supportive rib cartilage.

A professional chiropractor may also offer some relief of costochondritis. He or she can pinpoint the exact location of the inflammation, making recommendations on the best way to treat it.

If you suffer from costochondritis, give us a call. Sign up for an appointment at or give us a call at 205-424-8400.