Costochondritis and physical therapy

Our skeletal system is made up of different components which support the body such as bone, ligament, tendon, and cartilages. Cartilages are an essential part of our skeletal system and provide flexibility and sport to various organs. Similarly, there is cartilage present in the sternum or rib bone known as costal cartilage. These are hyaline cartilages and the function is to prolong the Sternum and provide flexibility to the sternum.

If due to any factor there is inflammation of costal cartilages then we call this condition costochondritis
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  Causes of costochondritis

Some of the most common causes of costochondritis are

  • Physical trauma to the sternum such as during a car accident can lead to costochondritis
  • Arthritis can also be one of the causes of costochondritis
  • Physical strain such as during bodybuilding lifting very heavy objects can lead to costochondritis
  • Different viral and bacterial infections can also be one of the causes of osteochondritis
  • Noncancerous tumors or cancer tumors may also alter the structure of joints in such a way that it can lead to osteochondritis
  • Excessive use of arms
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Symptoms of costochondritis

Symptoms of costochondritis are easy to identify by an expert doctor but in most cases, a patient confuses the symptom of costochondritis with the heart attack because it is the pain in the same region. Some of the symptoms of costochondritis are

  • Sharp stabbing pain in front of your chest which may radiate to back and lower portions
  • Pain on the left side of your breast bone
  • The pain becomes extreme when you take a deep breath or cough repeatedly it is due to excessive movement of the sternum
  • You can feel visible tenderness when you press your chest this is because of swelling in cartilages

How can physical therapy help?

Physical therapy in costochondritis helps to maintain the symptoms and to reduce the inflammation of costal cartilages as a result of which proper functioning of the body is achieved without any surgical treatment. The physical therapist used several exercises such as mobilization, joint mobilization, increasing range of motion and stretching exercises, respiratory exercises, and postural strength exercises to maintain the appropriate position of ribs and cartilage. Many other physical therapy treatments such as heat and cold therapy, ultrasonic and electrical stimulation are also used for treating costochondritis. It is a condition that can’t be treated by just medications and extensive physical therapy is a must for treating patients with costochondritis. If regular and effective physical therapy treatment is not given to the patients it can lead to a worsening of the condition and then the only cure left will be a surgery

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