I have had a pain in my chest for some time- off and on, but pretty steady for the past several weeks. Ummmm....what is going on? It is the kind of thing where you want to pass it off, but in more lucid moments you realize you would really like to know (and probably really should find out) what is going on! I found myself worrying about it, so I made an appointment for yesterday.
I hadn't intentionally kept it from my mom- I just didn't want to make a big deal about it. My mom found out through my sister and called, concerned. My mom knows all about having odd symptoms. In her life, it has meant one of two things- pregnancy or cancer. Each have occurred several times for her- and this was obviously not pregnancy. So- she was understandably shook up.
So, I went to the appointment, not sure what to expect. The doctor checked me out, then told me I have costochondritis. This is the Mayo clinic definition:
Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum). It causes sharp pain in the costosternal joint — where your ribs and breastbone are joined by rubbery cartilage. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.
Your doctor might refer to costochondritis by other names, including chest wall pain, costosternal syndrome and costosternal chondrodynia. When the pain of costochondritis is accompanied by swelling, it's referred to as Tietze syndrome.
Most cases of costochondritis have no apparent cause. In these cases, treatment focuses on easing your pain while you wait for costochondritis to resolve on its own.
Basically, it is nothing to worry about- just some discomfort that, since I know it is harmless, doesn't really affect my daily routine. The doctor recommended Aleve twice a day, and laying down with ice on my chest several times a day until the discomfort goes away...and again when it returns- in a week, a month, or several years.
So- I'm okay, I'm relieved to know, and I'm going to go put ice on my chest! :-)