Costochondritis is an inflammation of the costochondral or Costo sternal joint i.e., junction where upper ribs join with the cartilage which holds them to sternum (breastbone), resulting in pushing cartilage in the front of ribcage. This inflammation of costochondral junction causes pain, tenderness and discomfort in the chest. The most common site of pain is close to the sternum, at the level of 4th, 5th and 6th ribs. Women are more prone to develop Costochondritis. Elderly people are more affected. However, even the young are inflicted. My daughter’s symptoms started around the age of 14.

In most cases there is no apparent cause, but in few cases causes reported are: • Stress. • Strenuous exercises • Sudden trauma to the chest • Viral respiratory infection • Bacterial infection in few cases • Fibromyalgia • Surgery of upper chest. • Ankylosing spondylitis • Arthritis • Overuse injury in athletes. • Joints infection (tuberculosis, syphilis)

Not knowing what is generating such intense pain is scary. I’m I having a heart attack or panic attack? Let’s look at the signs and symptoms:

• Sharp pain located on front of chest, may radiate to back or abdomen. • Pain over the fourth to sixth ribs. • Pain on coughing • Tenderness • Anxiety due to chest pain • Difficulty moving trunk or breathing. • High fever • Signs of infection • Nausea, vomiting • Sweating • More than one rib is involved. • Inflammation accompanied with redness, swelling or pus discharge.

Some complications that can occur are

• Infection may spread to blood.

• Fever or abscess formation may be possible