Chest wall pain includes discomfort that originates from the structures of the chest wall.
The chest wall includes the skin, ribs and muscles that surround the ribs. Costochondritis is inflammation of the area where the ribs and breastbone meet and can also cause pain and discomfort in the chest wall. Chest wall tenderness, chronic coughing, and difficulty breathing usually follow Costochondritis.
- Most cases of costochondritis are of unknown origin but there are some known cause such as:
- Trauma to the chest such as a seat belt injury from a car accident.
- Sports Injury that cause pressure, strain or trauma to the chest
- Physical strain from heavy lifting and strenuous exercise.
- Upper respiratory illness that produces sneezing or a coughing.
- Direct Infection in the costosternal joint.
Costochondritis pain can be mistaken for heart attack pain. The pain of a heart attack is often more widespread, while costochondritis pain is focused on a small area. Heart attack pain usually feels as if it’s coming from under your breastbone, while costochondritis pain seems to come from the breastbone itself. Heart attack pain may worsen with physical activity or stress, while the pain of costochondritis remains constant. However, never assume your chest pain is from costochondritis. If you are experiencing unexplained chest pain, seek medical attention immediately.
The most important part of caring for patients with chest pain is an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Magaziner uses his years of clinical experience, using a thorough examination and sophisticated diagnostic tools to arrive at his diagnosis. Some of the diagnostic tools are: X-ray, Fluoroscopy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Bone Scan and Ultrasound and most important a hands on physical exam to feel where the pain is coming from.
Dr. Magaziner’s philosophy is to start with the more conservative treatments (less invasive) first such as rest, medication, bracing, ergonomic changes, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and laser therapy. If the condition does not respond to conservative care some possible treatments include: joint injections, prolotherapy, PRP, and stem cell grafts.