Can Physiotherapy Help Costochondritis

Can Physiotherapy Help Costochondritis

Physiotherapy is a popular treatment for many medical conditions, but can physiotherapy help costochondritis? If you’re having chest pains, then hopefully you’ve already ruled out a heart attack!

The symptoms of costochondritis can be a little scary, but thankfully it’s not a serious condition. Physiotherapy can offer relief by reducing tension in your ribcage while helping restore function and improve mobility.

Here we will explore how physiotherapists can help your costochondritis and what other treatments may be available. Let’s get started.

What is Costochondritis?

Costochondritis is a painful condition that results in swelling and tenderness of the chest wall. This medical condition commonly affects the cartilage that connects each rib to the breastbone, also known as the costal cartilage.

Costochondritis pain is usually localized to the affected areas around the chest wall but can radiate across the shoulder and abdomen. These pains can be frightening at first, especially if you fear that the pain is internal. 

There are many potential causes of costochondritis, but thankfully the pain doesn’t last long for most people. Seeing a physiotherapist as soon as possible can quickly put you on the road to recovery but it’s always wise to consult with a doctor first to rule out other conditions.

Symptoms of Costochondritis

Though it does not typically require medical attention, there are several key symptoms to look out for that could be indicative of costochondritis.

It is common for those suffering from costochondritis to experience deep pain when lifting their arms or taking a deep breath, and sharp pains between the ribs. Pain may range from severe or dull to aching when pressing on affected areas.

Other activities such as sneezing, coughing, or physical activity can also bring discomfort. However, it is important to note that while chest pain may indicate serious conditions requiring emergency care, costochondritis isn’t a life-threatening issue. 

Causes of Costochondritis

Its causes are difficult to pinpoint. It can occur after a traumatic event, such as a direct blow to the chest, muscle strain from intense exercise, excessive coughing, or surgery involving the ribs or breastbone.

Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia can also contribute to costochondritis by causing swelling of the joints around the ribs.

Finally, infections such as recurring a sore throat may cause costochondritis due to irritation of the joints where the ribs attach to the breastbone. You may have noticed the condition straight away but sometimes it develops a little more slowly. 

Can Physiotherapy Help Costochondritis?

Physiotherapy can be a highly effective treatment for costochondritis. Physiotherapists are trained in assessing and diagnosing costochondritis and developing individualized treatment plans to reduce symptoms such as pain, tenderness, stiffness and restricted range of motion.

Common treatment strategies include hands-on techniques such as joint mobilization, therapeutic exercises to improve strength and stiffness, postural re-training, and breathing techniques to help manage pain.

With physiotherapy interventions, most cases of costochondritis achieve satisfactory levels of symptom relief within just a few weeks. Physiotherapy is the best treatment for quickly recovering from costochondritis.

Other Treatments for Costochondritis

Patients who suffer from costochondritis may find relief outside of professional physiotherapy as well. Natural remedies such as ginger root, chamomile tea, and vitamin B complex can be used to soothe the pain associated with costochondritis. Herbal teas can also be useful to reduce inflammation in the affected area and for relaxation purposes.

Additionally, specific exercises can be done at home that focus on chest stretching and proper posture, which can effectively relieve or decrease future pains related to costochondritis.

Beyond these natural treatments, imaging such as ultrasound or X-rays may be recommended by a doctor to properly diagnose and treat the condition. All treatment options should ultimately be discussed with your doctor before exercising any form of self-care.

How Many Physio Sessions Will I Need For Costochondritis

The number of physiotherapy sessions you will need for costochondritis largely varies on a case-by-case basis. It is important to speak with your doctor before beginning any physio regime to ensure you receive the optimal treatment for your particular condition.

Depending on the severity and duration of your symptoms, you may need more or fewer physiotherapy sessions than another person with a similar condition.

Physiotherapy can usually consist of exercises aimed at strengthening the muscles in the rib cage area, massage therapy to reduce muscle tension, electrotherapy to reduce pain and short bursts of breathing exercises designed to promote better posture.

Ultimately, it is important to follow the advice of your physio when considering treatment options so that you can maximize the positive effects of your sessions.

Should You Exercise With Costochondritis?

Exercise is an important part of maintaining health and wellness, but for those with costochondritis, it can be difficult to know how to exercise safely. An important rule to keep in mind when exercising with costochondritis is never to force your body beyond its limits.

While the right amount of exercise can help reduce pain and stiffness in the joints, pushing yourself too hard can have damaging results that may last long-term. It is best to consult your doctor or physio before starting any exercise.

You don’t want to aggravate your symptoms and lengthen your recovery time. As you can often recover from costochondritis quite quickly, full rest is often recommended. 

How Long Can You Suffer From Costochondritis?

As with many other similar conditions, it can be a chronic or short-term condition depending on its cause and severity. Typically, people suffer from costochondritis for anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.

In severe cases, costochondritis may last up to two years. To manage the condition most effectively, your doctor will likely recommend an appropriate treatment plan, including rest, medication, and physiotherapy to reduce inflammation and relieve associated pain symptoms.

Final Thoughts

If you suffer from costochondritis, you may wonder if physiotherapy can help. The good news is that physiotherapy is an effective treatment for costochondritis. 

Physiotherapy can help reduce pain and inflammation in the area and improve range of motion and flexibility. So if you are interested in trying physiotherapy for your costochondritis, book in to see a physio right away. 



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