Costochondritis

Apparently this is what was causing me to feel weird when taking a deep breath. The doctor I saw last week correctly noted that it was not a broken rib — which was my first suspicion — but he said he thought it was a muscular issue, especially with the muscles connecting the pelvis to the ribcage.  Last night, I finally had had enough and went to the hospital, and the patient, friendly doctor checked me carefully (even offering to do an electrocardiogram, though I’ve had a few of those in the last few months and they’ve always been okay) and came to the conclusion that it was probably costochondritis that was bothering me.

Costochondritis is basically just an inflammation of the cartilage in the ribcage, and something not uncommon after a cold or other infection. That would also explain the (much milder) discomfort I was having on my left side, since that was also in the area of the ribcage that is cartilagenous, rather than bone.

It was when a nurse gave me a shot that I was struck by the wonder that is modern medicine. A single shot, and in a few minutes my breathing was all but back to normal. The oral medication I have now is less effective, or else I’m feeling secondary effects — tension in my abdominal muscles, probably from tensing up for the last week or so, out of a weird feeling that my guts would burst if I breathed too deeply, and a heightened sensitivity to what’s going on inside my guts — but in general I feel okay again.

There were other indicators, though, that reminded me that I need to get my health under control. Happily, I should be able to get on with that soon.

3 thoughts on “Costochondritis

  1. So that’s what that is. I had a problem with this a month or so ago, and it lasted for well over a week. I had had much shorter bouts before, but never had it lasted so long. It would seem to go away, and then get worse again. Eventually it went away entirely.

    I can’t be sure it’s the same thing that you had, but it sure sounds like it. Although this was more in the area above my abdomen than the abdomen itself, do who knows.

  2. Charles,

    Could well be. If it got better, that sounds likely. Sometimes people mistake it for a heart attack, so that suggests it can occur higher in the chest.

    I think something else unsavory is going on in my abdomen, but nothing so serious I cannot wait till Friday — my day off — to go to get that checked. (Somethine digestive, though I’m thinking it might be heightened sensitivity in my abdominal muscles that makes me feel these weird, possible normal things going on inside me.) I’m trying not to freak out about everything at once, and bearing in mind that normal things sometimes just become much more noticeable when you’re nervous about a more apparent condition… and that sometimes unpleasant sensations in other areas are really just “radiating pain” — the sensation seems to come from several places but the cause is just the really affected area.

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