Costochondritis is a condition in which the cartilage that holds the upper ribs to the sternum becomes inflamed. An individual normally suffers localised chest pain, as the area in front of the ribcage between the breastbone and upper abdomen is tender. A sharp pain at the front of the chest is a common symptom. Although the pain may radiate to the back or abdomen, it is often located over the fourth, fifth and sixth ribs. More often than not the pain occurs on the left side of the body and may spread to the arm, shoulder and leg. In some cases, the pain increases if you breathe deeply or twist your upper trunk. Applying pressure to the affected area can reproduce the pain.
Causes of Pain
The condition may be caused by exercise, excess activity, overuse, playing contact sports, a recent injury or minor trauma to the anterior chest wall. Pain can come on suddenly or may happen gradually over time. Costochondritis can also occur following an upper respiratory viral infection, particularly from the strain of coughing. Bacterial infection that occurs following chest surgery may be responsible as well. Although in many cases, the cause of pain and tenderness remains unknown, costochondritis usually goes away on its own. While the pain typically lasts from several days to weeks, health information published in Johns Hopkins Symptoms and Remedies Reference points out that the condition has been known to last for up to several years. Some people report recurrent episodes. If you suffer this kind of pain you should make an appointment to see your doctor. It may be necessary to rule out other causes for the pain including heart disease. Symptoms usually include mild to severe pain. Coughing, sneezing and movement can make the pain worse.
Symptom of Dizziness
Anxiety due to experiencing intense, persistent pain can cause shortness of breath, which in turn may be responsible for dizziness related to oxygen deficiency to the brain. While many people who live in chronic pain frequently experience anxiety because of the pain, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders often have an accompanying chronic pain condition. However, researchers speculate that such an anxiety response may be more than simply a reaction to chronic pain as the two might in some way be inherently connected. Shortness of breath and dizziness can also come from exercising too hard, a possible cause of the pain associated with costochondritis. Pain stresses the body; therefore, an increase in blood pressure may occur. Because dizziness can be a symptom of high blood pressure, spikes in blood pressure related to pain from costochondritis could possibly cause episodes of dizziness. In addition, dizziness may be related to the standard treatment for the condition, which generally includes taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as over-the-counter ibuprofen to help relieve pain. Common side effects of NASAIDs include headaches, nausea, dizziness and sometimes difficulty hearing. Always ask your doctor which OTC medications to take. Follow instructions for taking any medications as you can experience side effects.