The stabbing pain is often caused by fibromyalgia but could be caused by something else
Pain around the breastbone and the rib cage is common in people with fibromyalgia, this condition is called costochondritis.
It is important to note that people do not realize that this is a separate condition causing this particular pain and that it requires its own treatment.
Like any other pains that could make your fibromyalgia symptoms worse, it is also very important to treat costochondritis.
Sometimes this pain in the chest and rib cage can make a person think that he or she is having a cardiac problem.
It is common for some people to think that they are having a heart attack and end up in the emergency room. This is when they are diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Costochondritis is a painful condition of the chest wall. It causes chest pain. Fortunately, it is not a serious condition.
In costochondritis, there is inflammation in the costochondral, costosternal, or sternoclavicular joints (or a combination). This causes pain and tenderness that tends to be worse with movement and pressure.
A Pain in the chest wall and rib cage is the main symptom of fibromyalgia chest pain or costochondritis. This will get worse with a lot of activity or exercise.
Even taking a deep breath can also cause more pain because it stretches the inflamed cartilage. Sneezing and coughing can increase chest pain as well.
These pains can also radiate to your shoulder and arms as well and when this happens it mimics a heart attack.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects the muscles and soft tissues. It causes chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and painful tender points or trigger points, which can be relieved through medications, lifestyle changes, and stress management.
A cure for fibromyalgia is not yet known. But there are various options that can make a difference in your quality of life, including lifestyle changes and medication.
What is Costochondritis?
According to Debilitating Diseases, Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects your ribs to your breastbone. Costochondritis range from mild pain to extremely painful depending on how much inflammation is there.
The cause of Costochondritis is not clear but it is believed to be a result of chest trauma (such as a car accident), repetitive trauma or overuse, viral infections especially upper respiratory infections. Fibromyalgia can make costochondritis much more painful.
Costochondritis is often idiopathic. This is a medical term, meaning ‘of unknown cause’. So, in many cases, no cause is found.
People with fibromyalgia tend to develop costochondritis more often than others. Fibromyalgia is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes widespread body pains and fatigue.
Fibromyalgia and costochondritis
According to various studies, 60 to 70 percent of people with fibromyalgia have symptoms very similar to costochondritis.
It is suspected that the fibromyalgia tender points just below the collar bones may play a role in it. Another cause could be Myofascial pain syndrome that is common in Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia chest pain Treatment
If the inflammation can be eliminated, the pain can usually be eliminated. Fibromyalgia has been called arthritis of the muscles. As to fibromyalgia chest pain, it is also arthritis of the cartilage.
Water is believed to cure fibromyalgia chest pain since there is no direct circulation in the cartilage, it may take longer for your hydration efforts to correct the deficit.
Treating this chest pain of costochondritis can be done like any other way you treat an inflammation. These include ice and anti-inflammatory drugs. However, it is important to check with your doctor about any possible interactions between anti-inflammatories and your other medications.
How do you know that you have costochondritis?
Your doctor can diagnose costochondritis by pressing on the area where the ribs and breastbone come together. If it is tender and sore there, costochondritis is the most likely cause of pain.
Your doctors will also perform various other tests to rule out heart problems and other causes of pain before making a diagnosis.
Fortunately, costochondritis is fairly easy and an inexpensive condition to treat, and managing it will keep it from exacerbating your fibromyalgia symptoms.
There is still no known causes of fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together.
Some of the causes attributed to fibromyalgia may include: Genetics since fibromyalgia tends to run in families and there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder. It can also be caused by infections and also physical and emotional trauma.
Due to the severe pain and lack of sleep associated with fibromyalgia, it can interfere with your daily life. It will restrict your ability to function at home or on the job. This can lead to depression and health-related anxiety.
How is the cartilage inflamed?
Researchers still have not found any specific probable cause of the cartilage inflammation. However, it could be a result of chest trauma, viral infections especially upper respiratory infections.
The rib cage is a bony structure that protects the lungs. Bones are hard and solid, and they don’t tend to bend or move. However, our lungs need to move, so we can breathe.
When we take a deep breath in, the diaphragm acts like a bellows. The diaphragm moves down and this sucks air through our mouth and nose, and into our lungs. Our rib cage expands too. In order for the ribs to expand, the ribs need something to allow movement.
Cartilage allows this. Cartilage is a softer, flexible (but very strong) material found in joints around the body.
Cartilage attaches the ribs to the breastbone (sternum) and the sternum to the collar bones (clavicles). The joint between the ribs and the cartilages are called the costochondral joints.
The cause of inflammation in your sternum can cause inflammation in other places in your body. This needs to be treated for reasons beyond the discomfort you are feeling.
Related: How to Control Inflamed Rib Cartilage With Fibromyalgia Treatment