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Women's Health

Costochondritis

11/18/2009

Question:

I had a realy bad cough to the point were I would throw up while coughing. I developed stabing chest pains and I knew it was from coughing. So I did my regular home treatments of Tylenol, rest heat and ice. But the pain was still getting worse even though I was not coughing any more. I went to my doctor and he told me that I had costochondritis. Since I was already on NSAID and Prednisone he gave me Tramacet. I have been having the pain for 2 weeks now. I also have RA. How long does this normaly last?

Answer:

The problem with costochondritis is that it takes a while to heal, up to 6 weeks or more. Unlike an inflammed wrist or other joint, it would be difficult to splint the ribs. This, combined with the fact that we take 12-16 breaths per minute, delays the healing process. Continued use of NSAIDs and heat are recommended.

If it does last longer than 4-6 weeks, going to a physical therapist for ultrasound treatments, or to a rheumatologist for a local steroid injection, may help.

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University