The symptoms of costochondritis in children aren’t different from the symptoms that appear in adults. The following HealthHearty write-up provides information on the causes and symptoms of this condition.
Costochondritis is characterized by the inflammation of the costal cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum. Also referred to as the chest wall pain or costosternal syndrome, it is believed that this condition might occur in the event of trauma to the chest, severe coughing, costochondral strain, infection of the rib joint, etc. If the inflammation of the costochondral cartilages of the upper region of the chest is accompanied by swelling of the rib joint, the affected person is diagnosed with Tietze syndrome.
The inflammation of the cartilage gives rise to a sharp pain in the costosternal joint, which is the spot where the ribs and the breastbone meet. Pain might also be accompanied by tenderness. Affected children or adults might experience a sharp pain on the left side of the breastbone. However, pain could sometimes be dull and gnawing by nature. The affected person might experience pain while breathing, especially while taking deep breaths. The intensity of pain might increase while coughing.
Due to some of the similarities in the symptoms of costochondritis and a heart attack, this condition could easily be mistaken for a heart attack. However, there are a few differences between the two. The pain that is felt in a heart attack is widespread, while the pain is localized in case of this condition. A person who is affected by a heart attack may feel that the pain is originating from under the breastbone, while people affected by costochondritis often feel that the pain is coming from the breastbone itself.
Treating the Condition
The treatment usually involves the use of painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or steroid injections. Even antibiotics might be prescribed to lower the risk of an infection. Application of heating pads or cold compresses might prove beneficial in alleviating the pain and inflammation.
Parents must keep on eye to note if any physical activity causes the symptoms to worsen, and discourage the kids from performing such activities. It would be best to take ample rest and refrain from strenuous physical activities to speed up the recovery, and prevent the symptoms from worsening. Parents must take the child to the doctor for regular follow-ups.
Though this condition may sometimes resolve on its own, there are times when the symptoms might last for several months. Thus, it’s always better to seek medical help at the earliest. With timely treatment, the intensity of pain is likely to reduce. However, the recovery may get delayed if the condition is accompanied by injuries like bruised muscles, muscle strains, etc. The recuperation time might increase if medical help is not sought on time, or the guidelines suggested by the doctor have not been adhered to.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.