Costochrondritis/ Tietze syndrome

Posted by Fiona @fiona, Jul 12, 2011

Would love to hear from anybody who has any info on this disorder. I get flare ups 5-6 times a year.Costachrondritis has been mentioned but I have yet to get a diagnosis despite MRI and CAT scans and x-rays. Stabbing, sharp pain starts in the left rib cage and within days I have upper stomach and back spasm which is only alleviated by complete bed rest ie. being still. During an attack, just moving my arm in a certain way, or coughing will provoke a spasm. I feel generally unwell , tired and out of sorts. It has been suggested that allergys may set it off.Sometimes when I have an extra strenous exercise session or even cleaning house can start it off. Flare up will last usually 7 -10 days. Cortisone shots into / between ribs on left side have worked pretty well but I dont think that is the answer long term. Anybody know if there is a blood test to look for Tietze? Apparently the difference between that and costachrondritis is actual inflammation in cartiledge...I have also read that the condition is associated with arthritis and auto immune conditions...I am in remission from moderate colitis. Also I noticed during last episode that my hands felt arthritic -sore tender finger joints. I would love to hear from somebody who recognises these symptoms - I am frustrated and bewildered and fed up with this seemingly untreatable and difficult to diagnose condition. Otherwise I am a healthy , engaged and youthful 50 year old! Last question: What kind of doctor does one see to discuss this condition?

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Good morning Peggy- I can't imagine what you have been through. How are you moving forward with all of your problems? Do you have a secret? Let me ask you- do you have a good doctor? I imagine that you have run the gamut of treatments. Does a hot water bottle or electric heating pad help at all? Has PT helped? Has your doctor mentioned corrective surgery?
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Hi Merry! Sorry to be late in responding! I wanted to add to your suggestions for pain relief that yes, heating pads, especially the microwave ones, are great. I have a few of those, microwavable ones called Bed Buddy, that I use constantly. Physical therapy has always been pure torture for me. Just agony, even on my back and not for my chest. Ugh. Corrective surgery, not a chance. I am too old, although I did look into it many many times. Thanks for the reply! Peggy

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