Costochondritis Anxiety (A 3 point guide)

What is costochondritis? In this article, we will uncover and understand the link between anxiety and costochondritis, before that we first need to understand what is costochondritis? What are the causes for it, and also what are its symptoms? Can costochondritis be affected by anxiety and stress? We will also explain what is meant by anxiety and what are its symptoms? Finally, we will look at a few FAQs to get a better understanding of the given topic.

Costochondritis Anxiety  

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the breastbone to the sternum. When we talk about costochondritis anxiety, we want to understand whether costochondritis can cause anxiety symptoms or if there is an increase in the symptoms due to costochondritis. 

What is costochondritis?

Costochondritis is caused due to an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs with the breastbone. The pain caused due to this mimics a heart attack or other heart condition. It is sometimes called costosternal syndrome or costosternal chondrodynia.

According to many researches there isn’t an apparent cause for costochondritis, 

But in some circumstances it may develop after trauma or muscle strain. 

Costochondritis causes tenderness on the breastbone, the pain felt is sharp, achy, and pressure-like. It usually gets worse if you breathe deeply or move your upper body. When you press on your chest, it feels tender and painful

The treatment for costochondritis focuses on easing your pain while you wait for the condition to improve on its own, which can take several weeks or longer. Costochondritis usually goes away on its own, although it might last for several weeks or longer. The main focus is pain relief. Treatments include injections to relieve pain, medication and even therapy.

Symptoms of costochondritis 

The pain symptoms associated with costochondritis:

  • Person may experience pain in the chest or ribs 
  • Affects more than one rib
  • Pain can occur while coughing or breathing heavily 
  • Person will experience tenderness in the chest area
  • Pain will occur on the left side of the breastbone 
  • The sensation of pain will be  sharp, aching or pressure-like 

Causes and treatment for costochondritis 

Costochondritis causes chest pain, especially upon palpation of the area. It is a condition that often resolves on its own without much treatment. Most of the time the underlying cause is unknown, but few factors can contribute to cause costochondritis.

The causes are: 

  •  Due to inflammation of the cartilage 
  • Viral or bacterial infection may trigger costochondritis
  • May occur due to chest trauma, overuse injury, fibromyalgia, reactive arthritis
  • Presence of tumour
  • Costochondritis can develop after surgery 
  •   Pregnancy stretches a woman’s rib cage and may trigger costochondritis 

Treatments for costochondritis: 

Costochondritis usually goes away on its own, although it might last for several weeks or longer. Treatment focuses mainly on pain relief

  • Analgesic; relieves pain
  • Steroids; tissue growth or repair, reduces inflammation and stimulates or modifies hormones
  • Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs; relieves pain, decreases inflammation and reduces fever
  • Physical therapy; restores muscle strength and function through exercise  

Anxiety in relation to costochondritis 

There isn’t any direct link between anxiety and costochondritis, but the emotional states a person is in may be to blame for the cause of chest pain, and usually chest pain are associated with panic attacks. People who suffer from panic disorders often report shortness of breath and pain in the chest area as symptoms 

Usually when there isn’t anything else that can explain the pain, and it looks like anxiety then it could be anxiety. It’s generally a diagnosis of exclusion.

People suffering from costochondritis with anxiety as a comorbid can reduce their symptoms but using relaxation techniques including progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, yoga, acupuncture and even regular physical exercise can be effective ways to reduce anxiety and chronic pain. 

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What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to stress, in fact it is a healthy response, when a person faces potential harmful or worrying triggers, these feelings of anxiety are not only normal but necessary for survival. But if a person feels disproportionate almost everyday for slight inconveniences then it could become a medical disorder.

According to APP (American Psychological Association) anxiety is an emotion characterized by the feelings of tension, worried thoughts and even physical changes like increase in blood pressure and heart palpitation.

It is very important to know the difference between normal feelings of anxiety and an anxiety disorder, because that might require immediate medical attention, and can help the person identify and treat the condition. 

Symptoms of anxiety

There are a number of anxiety symptoms a person might experience, the most common ones include: 

  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Feeling restless or the feelings of being “On-edge
  • Feeling uncontrollably worried 
  • Increased irritability
  • Difficulty in concentration 
  • Difficulty in staying and falling asleep  

Though these symptoms might be experienced in daily life, people with an anxiety disorder will experience them on an extreme level. These symptoms might present as vague, unsettling worries or more severe anxiety that disrupts day to day life.

FAQs: Costochondritis Anxiety 

Is costochondritis very serious?

We know costochondritis doesn’t always have a specific, but it’s most often a result of a chest injury, strain from physical activity, or joint conditions like osteoarthritis. Costochondritis isn’t a serious condition but with the right treatment and condition it shouldn’t cause you too much concern.

What helps relieve costochondritis pain?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug pain relievers, like using Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) or naproxen sodium helps relieve costochondritis pain.
Sometimes even placing heat or ice, compression on the painful area for several times a day might help reduce the pain. Most importantly a person suffering with this should take rest and not put too much stress on the affected area. 

What triggers costochondritis?

Costochondritis can be triggered by lifting heavy things, strenuous exercise and even severe coughing  has been linked with it. Stress and anxiety can also contribute to a role in costochondritis pain.

Can costochondritis be felt on the right side?

Although the pain is typically felt on the left side of your chest, it may also occur on the right side. Other symptoms include pain in your back and abdomen and pain that worsens when you cough or take a deep breath.

Bad posture causes costochondritis?

Costochondritis is referred to as Tietze’s syndrome. Most of the time, those who have costochondritis don’t have an attributed cause to their condition, although research tells us that poor posture is often to blame. The chest consists of the portion of the trunk located between the abdomen and the neck.

Can we see costochondritis on ultrasound?

An area of chest wall with costochondritis would be hypoechoic, under ultrasound, whereas in Tietze syndrome, the area being inspected would have a dishomogeneous increase of the echogenicity in pathological cartilage and an increased thickness.


In this article we covered and understood what costochondritis was and what the link between anxiety and costochondritis is, and we even learnt what were the causes for it, and also what the symptoms were. We shined light on whether costochondritis can be affected by anxiety and stress. And also explain what anxiety is and what its symptoms are.