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Costochondritis treatment primarily consists of anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers, many of which can be purchased without a prescription. Often, pain from this condition goes away without additional treatment and, therefore, rest is sometimes all that is prescribed. Some doctors may also prescribe a muscle relaxer for costochondritis treatment or may simply suggest applying a heating pad to the chest whenever pain is present.
The type of costochondritis treatment may also depend on what is causing the condition. The chest pain that occurs from costochondritis is attributed to inflammation in the costochondral joints located in the rib cage. While this is not considered a serious or life-threatening condition, it is very painful and doctors are not sure what causes it, although some form of arthritis is frequently suspected. In some, costochondritis may be caused by an infection in the upper respiratory tract or from injury. If symptoms are the result of either of these, treatment for costochondritis will also include treatment of the infection or injury.
Most doctors suggest taking ibuprofen, which is an anti-inflammatory pain medication that can be purchased over the counter. Experts advise that this should only be used as a remedy, however, after an examination has been given to determine whether costochondritis is the cause of chest pain or not. Health experts do not recommend trying to self-diagnose this kind of pain, nor do they recommend a particular costochondritis treatment before a thorough examination has been rendered.
Before determining a costochondritis treatment, doctors will examine the chest while pressing on and around the costochondral joints. If a patient reports pain or soreness in this area during an examination, a doctor will usually diagnose this pain as being caused by this condition. It is typically only after an examination that various treatments for this condition are suggested.
If another illness is suspected, such as a lung infection, or if a recent injury is evident, a doctor will likely provide further examination, which may include a chest x-ray. When pain is attributed to one of these conditions, costochondritis treatment will also include treating the underlying cause. In some cases, doctors will recommend applying a hot or cold compress to the chest in an effort to quell pain.
In most cases, costochondritis treatment is very minimal. Many find that pain and inflammation go away naturally after a few days of rest. For some, symptoms only appear during times of rigorous exercise and subside shortly after exercise is discontinued. In these cases, pain medications for costochondritis treatment may help those who wish to continue to exercise despite pain.