A condition called costochondritis, which causes pain around the chest bone and rib cage, is thought to be common in people with fibromyalgia (FMS). It is also called non-cardiac chest pain or musculoskeletal chest pain.

Many people do not realize this pain can be caused by a separate condition causing them to require their own treatment.Because any other source of pain can make your FMS symptoms worse, it is important for you to treat costochondritis.


Costochondritis can make you think you are having heart problems, which is a scary thing. This pain is actually what marked the beginning of my fibromyalgia pain after the non-painful symptoms had hinted for months. I was sitting quietly at work when I suddenly thought I was having a heart attack. I ended up in the emergency room, and that’s when I started the long series of negative tests that finally led to my FMS diagnosis.

Although costochondritis is common, you should see a doctor if you have unexplained chest pain. You do not want to assume that it is FMS related and end up with permanent heart damage or worse.

What is costochondritis?

It is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum. Depending on how much inflammation there is, it can range from mild discomfort to extremely painful. People sometimes describe the pain as stabbing, pain or burning.

The causes are unclear, but may include:

  • Chest trauma, for example, from a car accident
  • Repetitive trauma or excessive use
  • Viral infections, upper respiratory infections, especially

Some experts believe FMS can cause costochondritis as well. In any case, FMS can make costochondritis much more painful.

Why do they go together?

It is estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of people with fibromyalgia have symptoms very similar to costochondritis.

In one study, non-specific chest pain appeared as the most common reason people with FMS were hospitalized. Another of the FMS lists as a frequent cause of musculoskeletal chest pain.

It is not certain whether it is true or costochondritis why it occurs with SFM. If the hypothesis of fascia inflammation is accurate, we can explain it. In addition, the supply fibromyalgia points just below the clavicle may play a role. Myofascial pain syndrome, which is common in FMS, could also be a cause.

Costochondritis is typically a minor lesion that heals in a few days. If the symptoms do not go away, they could be a sign that something else, like FMS, is going on.

Costochondritis Symptoms

Pain in the cage of the chest wall and nerve is the main symptom of costochondritis. It will usually get worse with activity or exercise. Taking a deep breath can also cause more pain because it stretches the inflamed cartilage. Sneezing and coughing can increase pain as well.

The pain can radiate towards the shoulder and arms as well (This is another way the condition mimics a heart attack.).

Sometimes, the pain is accompanied by redness and / or inflammation in the most painful areas. When that is the case, it is called the Tietze Syndrome.

The diagnosis of costochondritis

Your doctor can diagnose costochondritis by pressing on the area where the ribs and sternum meet. If it is sensitivity and pain there, costochondritis is the most likely cause of pain.

Generally, doctors will perform other tests to rule out heart problems and other causes of pain before making a diagnosis.

Treatment Treatment Fibromyalgia Costochondritis Vs.

You can treat costochondritis, how you treat any inflammation of ice and anti-inflammatory medicines, including Aleve (naproxen) and ibuprofen-based medicines like Advil and Motrin.

This treatment sometimes goes against FMS treatments, which may include other types of painkillers and heat. If you have both, you may find yourself with an ice pack on your chest and a thermal pad on your back at the same time.

The doctor may recommend other types of treatment as well, including physical therapy or acupuncture.

Be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions between anti-inflammatories and your other medications.

Living with both conditions

It is bad enough to live with a source of chronic pain. The more you pile on, the more pain you are going to have and the more your life can be affected.

Fortunately, costochondritis is fairly easy and inexpensive for treatment and management that will save you from exacerbating your FMS symptoms.

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