What Is Costochondritis?
Costochondritis is the inflammation of the cartilage that connects the sternum or breastbone to a rib. This condition is characterized by sharp pain in the costosternal joint, which is the part where the inflamed cartilage is found. It may also be referred to as costosternal syndrome or costosternal chondrodynia, and the pain can be mistaken for a heart attack.
If the pain is accompanied by swelling, the condition is called Tietze syndrome. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, costochondritis may also be a continuum of Tietze syndrome.
The root cause of costochondritis is unknown, but many physicians associate it with intense coughing or laughing, chest trauma, radiation, or viral infection. All these can lead to the inflammation of the costal cartilages but the problem can be considered benign.
The problem is that most folks suffering from this condition are complaining about the debilitating pain that they experience. Hence, the main focus of the usual treatment plan is pain management.
Conventional Treatment Options
The conventional treatment options for costochondritis are varied, but the main focus is the proper management of pain. Doctors prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen and muscle relaxants. Tricyclic antidepressants may also be prescribed for pains that can interrupt sleep at night. Just like most conventional forms of treatment, there are side effects to these medications. Hence, costochondritis natural treatment options may be well worth exploring to minimize the dependence on these drugs and to optimize the efficacy of treatment.
The natural treatment options for this painful condition may be categorized as self-care measures or the elimination of inflammation.
Self-Care Measures to Manage the Pain Without Drugs
As self-care measures to provide comfort during the painful attacks, try the following natural treatment options: gentle exercises, enough rest, and the use of heating pads.
Gentle exercises can boost the mood and allow the proper circulation of blood to the affected area. Stop the exercise if it intensifies the pain. Try to avoid rough exercise because it can enable the further development of costochondritis or worsen the pain and symptoms.
After doing gentle exercises, it is strongly recommended to rest and avoid stress. Eight hours of sleep is strongly advised every day. Lastly, the application of heating pads on a low setting to the affected area a few times a day can also help alleviate the pain.
Eliminating Inflammation: Costochondritis Natural Treatment
While conventional options for treatment and self-care measures focus on pain management, there are costochondritis natural treatment options that attempt to get rid of the origin of the inflammation. Because the sharp chest pain from costochondritis may mistakenly be identified with a heart attack, it is essential that you consult a doctor before trying any natural treatment to reduce inflammation. This allows for a proper diagnosis of your condition, and the effectiveness of the treatment in eliminating the inflammation can be carefully monitored.
The usual causes of inflammation are viral and bacterial infections, uncontrollable stress, and exposure to allergens. Reducing inflammation by controlling these triggers is a major priority in treatment.
Fermented foods, healthy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil, oregano, sage, and garlic are effective natural remedies to reduce inflammation from infections because of their anti-microbial properties. Anti-inflammatory foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, fatty fish and omega-3 rich foods, flax seed, and hemp should be included in one’s diet to reduce inflammation.
Aside from utilizing the proper nutrition to combat infections, other forms of alternative medicine such as acupuncture, massage and aromatherapy can reduce inflammation by eliminating stress among costochondritis sufferers.
For chronic inflammation, this may be a sign of a more serious problem or a repeated contact with causes like allergens. In fact, avoiding allergens is one of the preventive measures that can dramatically improve costochondritis.
Natural treatments for costochondritis are options that can be explored to help reduce the pain during attacks and eliminate the root cause of the problem, which is inflammation. Ensure proper guidance from your doctor to balance conventional options and natural remedies.