Anyone have any info on this? Trying to get some basic info, causes, s/s, prognosis, but doesn't seem to be much.

suzanne4, RN

26,410 Posts

It is inflammation of the muscles between the ribs, to make the explanation quite simple. It is usually treated with anti-inflammatory meds for a few days.

Prognosis for this is not any different then if you were to sprain your ankle. It is not an infection, or anything like that. The patient is usually just quite sore in that area.

Specializes in ACNP-BC. Has 12 years experience.

Oh My Gosh! Im a new RN, but I have had chronic costochondritis for the past 8 years now. I know there isn't much info out there on it. It is inflammation of the cartilage tissue in between the ribs, and let me tell you how PAINFUL it is! It is absolutely excruciating when I have the pain & it basically hurts whenever I breathe cuz of the close proximity to the resp. muscles. I take 800 mg ibuprofen (which is an anti inflammatory dose) for the pain, up to four times a day. To try to minimize getting the pain in the first place, I have to totally abstain from certain physical activities such as running (very sad for me since I ran all through middle school, high school and part of college), I also cannot lift any weights, I cannot do sit ups or push ups, and I cannot shovel snow. I am very careful when I have to boost up patients in bed, & make sure I lift up the bed to my waist level & use really good body mechanics-so far I've been fine with lifting and boosting pts. Anyhow, that is the basics of it.


stn2003, RN

132 Posts

i have this! i take naprosyn for it prn. my doc said mine was probably r/t all the physical work i do moving patients, boosting, positioning etc : P. finding out what it was was a huge relief, i knew i was too young to be having a heart attack! lol.

augigi, CNS

1,366 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Cardiothoracics, VADs. Has 10 years experience.

Seen it in one of our LVAD patients, when the inflow cannula bumped against the ribs and left him tender. As already said, treated with antiinflammatories, although you can get lidocaine skin patches for acute exacerbations too.


817 Posts

It is when the cartilage between the ribs and the breast bone gets inflammed.

I have it right now, it is the most painful thing that you can imagine. I actually think that broken ribs would hurt less. Doc said I got it because of the upper resp. infection that I have been sick with.

I just about cry whenever I sneeze. Its awful. Hope that you never get it!


13 Posts

My husband had this, though he wasn't sure if it was chest pain. Went to a cardio M.D. and he dx'ed, and then treated it by drawing a tiny circle on hubbie's chest right over the inflammation, and GIVING HIM A CORTISONE SHOT directly into the area. Took a couple nurses and the doctor sitting on him to get the job done, but it worked. Was caused by strain of cough from acute bronchitis. He still shudders about it, and berates me for hanging over him and yelling "COOL" when shot given.

allnurses Guide

wtbcrna, MSN, DNP, CRNA

5,125 Posts

Specializes in Anesthesia.

I have gotten costochondritis on & off for years it is a constant dull ache for me w/ sudden sharp pains on certain movements. I finally had one of my Family Practice Docs give me steroid shot.....12 mg of Decadron IM... and had gradual relief over a few days and then it totally subsided. I haven't been bothered w/ it for months now.....knock on wood...

The only problem w/ steroids is that most docs tend to be very reluctant in prescribing steroids for costochondritis...

This topic is now closed to further replies.