Tietze’s syndrome is a rare but painful disorder where the cartilage in various rib joints become inflamed or tender. The pain resulting from this disorder can either be centralized to the joint in your ribs or become so severe the pain will feel like it is originating all over. This syndrome is indeed rare, but also commonly un-diagnosed.
How can you tell if you have it?
Tietze’s syndrome can be scary because doctors commonly overlook it. Of all the possibilities of your intense chest pain, this syndrome is usually viewed as too low on the list to be a concern.
If a patient has chest pain centralized in the ribs, or pain radiating over the entirety of the chest into the extremities, you may have Tietze’s syndrome. This pain will increase when pressure is put on the ribs in any way. Whether you are poking around to find the source of the pain or doing daily bending, stretching, walking, laughing, etc, the pain will be much greater.
The area of affected cartilage is most times inflamed or swollen. This may be apparent to the naked eye, or be able to be felt by the individual. If either of indicators are present, be sure to explain them to your doctor before he rules out this uncommon disorder.
How do you get it?
Tietze’s syndrome can be a once in a life time thing, or a chronic medical problem throughout life. There are many triggers to this disorder:
Putting pressure on the sternum in any way (even laying on your back)
The causes are so common that the individual may jump to conclusions when the pain begins. Many patients suffering from Tietze’s syndrome believe they are having a heart attack due to the sudden onset pain in the chest area. Although heart attack concerns should be addressed immediately even if the symptoms may be present for another reason. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your heart.
Is there a cure?
Most individuals who suffer from Tietze’s syndrome overcome it in a few weeks and may never have it again. On the other hand there is a group of people that will have chronic cases of this pain for their entire life. For the one time sufferer or the chronic one there are several options to decrease the pain.
Surgery to remove the chronically affected joint (In rare situations)
Tietze’s syndrome is a rare disorder that affects individuals of all ages. The cause can be as simple as sneezing very hard or as traumatic as severe pressure on the sternum. It is important to tell your doctor of every symptom and never rule out a heart attack yourself. If you feel chest pain do not shrug it off as Tietze’s syndrome, always consult a doctor as soon as possible.