14 Ways To Heal Costochondritis Naturally

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essential oils for costochondritis

This is a painful condition which is caused by inflammation in the cartilage that is connecting the ribs to breastbone. This area is known as costochondrial joint. The costochondritis is also known as costochondrondynia, costosternal syndrome or chest wall pain. When there is swelling, then it is known as Tietze syndrome. In the most cases, the left side is most affected. The symptoms of costochondritis often mimic a heart attack so it is very important to get proper diagnosis.

The most common signs and symptoms of costochondritis are sharp or aching chest pain; pain on the left side of the sternum; pain affecting at least one rib, but usually more; a sense of pressure in the chest; an increase in pain when taking deep breaths, coughing, lifting or doing other strenuous exercise, etc. The most common causes for costochondritis are respiratory infections, such as pneumonia; tumors in the chest that grow on, inflame or press on the cartilage connecting the ribs to the breastbone; the tumors may or may not be cancerous; injury or trauma to the chest, etc.

Some factors which increase your risk of costochondritis are being 40 or older; having a regular exposure to irritants, if you have allergies; taking part in high – impact activities; being a woman; doing manual labor or heavy lifting; having rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or reactive arthritis [1]. You need to talk with your doctor if you suffer from costochondritis before you start using some of the below mentioned home remedies for this condition. Here are some home remedies for costochondritis:

Apply heat to the affected area in Costochondritis

There are some studies in which are shown that the inflammation and pain caused by costochondritis can respond well to heating pads [2]. You should not use heat for more than fifteen minutes at a time. You should wrap the heat source in a washcloth or towel because this can help you to avoid skin damage.

You can use a heating blanket or a hot water bottle and you should not apply the heat source directly to your skin. If you are using a hot water bottle, then you should wrap it in a towel to protect from burning yourself. You should apply the heat for several minutes and then you should remove it so your skin has a chance to cool down. This natural cure can help to increase the blood flow and to relax muscles which may be tight.

costochondritis exercises

Avoid activities that require sharp, sudden movements or exert high stress on your chest

You may need to stop playing sports, like karate, golf, tennis, basketball and baseball until your condition improves and the pain completely disappears.

Apply cold to the affected area

We know that the joint is the sore area where the sternum and ribs connect. The ice can soothe the inflammation and reduce the swelling [2]. You can use a bag of frozen peas or corn wrapped in a towel because it is quick and handy ice pack. You should not apply the ice directly to your skin. After 15 – 20 minutes, you should remove the ice pack and give your skin a chance to warm up. You should repeat this natural treatment 3 – 4 times per day.

Side stretch

You should sit down with your legs straight out in front of you, keeping your back nice and straight and you should place your hands on the lower thighs. You should bend your right arm and lean forward. You should try to get your right elbow down to your knee on that side which will allow your hand to slice across your left leg.

If you want to do extra stretch, then you should hold your elbow on the inside of your right knee and use the pressure between them to turn your chest further toward the left. You should slowly release and return to the start position. You should repeat with the left side of the body. You should alternate sides and stretch each side ten to twelve times per session. [3]

Get enough rest

It is very important to allow your body to heal because in this way you will get a relief from the costochondritis. You should find a position which makes you feel comfortable and it does not worsen your condition. You should relax and do calm and quiet breathing. You should not pant because this can exacerbate your pain.

Thorax stretch

You should sit down with your legs straight out in front of you and you should keep your back nice and straight. You should put your hands on the floor at the side of your thighs and then lean forward slowly. You should curve done over your legs so your bellybutton moves toward your spine. You should hold for a few seconds and slowly sit back up. You should repeat 5 – 10 times per session. [3]

Change sleep positions

You should experiment with different sleeping positions when you sleep until you find the sleep position that minimizes your discomfort. You should try to avoid positions which put pressure on your painful joints. It may be uncomfortable to sleep on your stomach so you should change your position.

Stretch the pecs

You should stand just outside a doorway and then rich your arms as high as you can on either side of the frame. Supporting your weight with your hands, you should push your chest and body straight forward. You should keep your abs tight so your back will not wobble or arch. You should hold for a few seconds and then return to the starting position. You should repeat 5 – 10 times per session. [3]

Anti – inflammatory diet

You should add foods rich in anti – inflammatory properties because they have a lot of health benefits not just fighting against inflammation that are caused by costochondritis. It can help to transform your health while reducing pain and inflammation [4]. Also, these foods are rich in nutrients. You should focus on a diet which is rich in different fruits and vegetables.

Some good options which you can add in your diet are beets, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, avocadoes, cherries, bok choy, cabbage, pineapple, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale), grapes and berries. Some berries which you should have in your diet are blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Also, onion and garlic are sulfur – containing foods that can help in the fight against costochondritis.

You should add a lot of healthy fats in your diet through food, such as coconut oil, olive oil, fatty fish and walnuts. Also, you can add chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, cocoa and dark chocolate in your diet. You can use ginger, turmeric and bone broth in foods that you cook so in this way you will get an extra – inflammatory boost. If you want to drink tea, then green tea is one of the best home remedies for costochondritis.

Foods to avoid in Costochondritis

The anti – inflammatory diet which is used for costochondritis excludes a lot of pro – inflammatory foods and substances. You should stay away from soda, baked goods, breads, packaged snacks, processed foods, refined sugars and refines grains. It is thought that gluten – containing foods and dairy foods can lead to inflammation. You should consume dairy – free products, like almond milk, rice milk or coconut milk and gluten – free products which have quinoa or rice. Also, you should avoid stimulants like caffeine and alcohol because it is known that they can worsen the inflammation.

Turmeric

This natural cure is known for its properties to fight against inflammation but also it can help in the management of arthritis. It can help to improve the pain and it can prevent further inflammation. [5]

Improve your posture to reduce the strain on your chest

There are some studies in which are shown that sitting or standing with a hunched posture can aggravate your costochondritis and this can increase your discomfort. You should practice sitting, standing and walking with a book balanced on your head. You should concentrate on opening your chest and letting your shoulders to roll back.

Noni fruit

There are some studies in which are shown that eating a noni fruit or drinking a noni juice can help you to kill the pain caused by costochondritis.

Omega – 3 fatty acids

These fatty acids are very important for controlling the inflammation in the body. You can take Omega – 3 fatty acids as your home remedy for costochondritis. [6]

Scapula squeeze

You should stand straight and tall and reach your hand toward the ceiling and breathe comfortably. You should squeeze your shoulder blades together and you should hold the squeeze as long as it feels comfortable. Then, release. You should repeat this exercise 5 – 10 times per session.

References:

[1] Rees CJ, Cantor RM, Pollack Jr. CV, Riese VG. Costochondritis. In Pollack Jr. C. (eds) Differential Diagnosis of Cardiopulmonary Disease. Springer. 2019.

[2] Dehghan M, Farahbod F. The efficacy of thermotherapy and cryotherapy on pain relief in patients with acute low back pain, A clinical trial study. Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research. 2014;8(9):LC01–LC04.

[3] Rovetta G, Sessarego P, Monteforte P. Stretching exercises for costochondritis pain. Giornale italiano di medicina del lavoro ed ergonomia. 2009;31(2):169-71.

[4] Winkvist A, Barebring L, Gjertsson I, et al. A randomized controlled cross-over trial investigating the effect of anti-inflammatory diet on disease activity and quality of life in rheumatoid arthritis: the Anti-inflammatory Diet In Rheumatoid Arthritis (ADIRA) study protocol. Nutrition Journal. 2018;17(4).

[5] Shmerling RH. Curcumin for arthritis: Does it really work? Harvard Health Publishing. 2019. Retrieved from www.health.harvard.edu/blog/curcumin-for-arthritis-does-it-really-work-2019111218290

[6] Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010;2(3): 355–74.

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