What is 'Costochondritis' ?
Costochondritis symptoms can be similar to the chest pain associated with a heart attack. Unexplained chest pain is considered a medical emergency until cardiac issues can be ruled out.
Severe costochondritis is referred to as Tietze's syndrome. The two conditions were initially described separately, the sole difference being that in Tietze's Syndrome there is swelling of the costal cartilages. It is now recognized that the presence or absence of swelling is only an indicator of the severity of the condition. It was at one time thought to be associated with, or caused by, a viral infection acquired during surgery, but this is now known not to be the case. Most sufferers have not had recent surgery. Costochondritis often results from a physical strain or minor injury, but the true causes are not well understood. A mild form of the disorder is not uncommon in pregnancy. In these circumstances it is thought to be caused by the upward pressure of the abdominal organs and the growing uterus as well as the tendency of the pregnant woman's breathing to involve more use of the chest muscles since the diaphragm's movement is more limited.
Though thought to be the same conditions, Tietze syndrome is not the same as costochondritis.[verification needed]Tietze syndrome is differentiated from costochondritis by swelling of the costal cartilages, which does not appear in costochondritis. It, like costochondritis, was at one time thought to be associated with, or caused by, a viral infection acquired during surgery. This is now known not to be the case, as most sufferers have not had recent surgery.