How Long Does Costochondritis Last (And Why)?

Exact answer: 3 Weeks to Months

Costochondritis connecting the rib to the breastbone is an inflammation in the cartilage. This can be caused by circumstances like trauma or muscle strain. The pain in costochondritis can be similar to that of a heart attack or any other heart disease. Costochondritis is also known as chest wall costosternal syndrome or costosternal chondrogenic. These can also cause swelling.

The symptoms of costochondritis include pain in the left side of the breastbone, sharp and aching pressure-like pain in the muscles. This pain can affect more than one rib. This pain also deepens with a deep breath or cough creating a heavy heart attack-like pain in the chest. The doctor should be seen immediately in case of any emergency pain in the chest region.

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How Long Does Costochondritis Last?

SeverityDuration of Pain
Severe pain in the chest2-3 Months
Slight pain in the targeted areas2-3 Weeks

The duration for which costochondritis can last depends on the severity of the problem and its symptoms. With mild symptoms, the pain can be cured within a few weeks easily. If costochondritis comes with heavy symptoms the pain can take time to cure up to a few months. The symptoms seem to majorly trigger the chest and breastbones in the body.

The pain of costochondritis is similar to that of heart, lung diseases or gastrointestinal problems and osteoarthritis. Certain tests like electrocardiographs, X-rays, CT scans or MRI can help in checking whether a person is suffering from costochondritis or not. Costochondritis fades away on itself with time but with severe symptoms, the treatment can go longer than a few weeks.

Some other causes of costochondritis can be trauma to the chest wall, overuse of arms, tumours, respiratory infections from viruses, fungal infections, bacterial infections or more. Different types of arthritis are also responsible for causing arthritis. Continuos cough, sharp pain near the chest, tenderness on pressing the rib joints, redness, swelling, pus discharge are some of the common symptoms of costochondritis.

Some not so noticeable symptoms like trouble breathing, high fever, redness, pus, nausea, sweating, dizziness. Costochondritis is a cause of chest pain in many children and adolescents. Carrying heavy books on one shoulder can be a cause of costochondritis in children. Adult women are seen to be more affected by costochondritis as compared to adult men. Many doctors also check tenderness in joints after the recommended tests for costochondritis.

Why Does Costochondritis Last This Long?

Costochondritis is closely related to the heart and hence takes a lot of time to cure properly. Costochondritis can be due to multiple reasons and hence, taking a full look into the problem and then looking for possible options why costochondritis has been caused is necessary for the cure of costochondritis. Costochondritis can be due to multiple reasons and hence can last longer for some months.

The treatments of costochondritis include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Some narcotics with codeine like hydrocodone or acetaminophen or oxycodone can also help in curing severe pain due to costochondritis. During chronic pain, antidepressants like tricyclic antidepressants can help in curing the problem. Neurontin is another medication that can help with chronic pain.

Some physical therapy can also help in curing costochondritis as regular exercises can help with the physical stiffness in the body. Gentle stretching exercises for the chest muscle can prove to be helpful for costochondritis. Transcutaneous electrical nerve(TENS) is a device that sends electrical current on the skin near the area of pain can also help with nerve stimulation. The current interrupt the pain signals from reaching the brain.


Costochondritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain near the heart and in the chest area. Costochondritis can be caused due to several reasons varying from operations, viruses, arthritis and more. The main cause of costochondritis is muscle strain or trauma. Costochondritis can be cured with treatments like physical exercises, antidepressants, or medicines like oxycodone or hydrocodone and many more. The main symptoms of costochondritis include dizziness, pain in the left side of the breast, fever, sneezing and more.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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