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Tietze's syndrome seems to be costochondritis plus local swelling. Sometimes the swelling goes away as the pain decreases and sometimes the swelling persists even after the pain has stopped.

Tietze's syndrome or (costochondritis)is an inflammation of the joint between one or more ribs and the sternum. Some sources differentiate between the two by the number of ribs involved, with Tietze involving only one and contochondritis involving more than one. The inflamation causes sharp, local pain in the chest wall. It is common for external pressure to the ribs to cause increased pain. Breathing, especially deep breathing, also increases the pain as it causes movement of the involved rib and breastbone joint.

A blood test for a sedimentation rate may show an elevation (indicative of inflammation in the body).

Both Tietze's syndrome and costochondritis can be caused by injury, exercise, infection or even excessive coughing. There may also be no identifiable cause. Heredity may play a role. They can be of a brief or a chronic nature. They may be associated with other medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter's disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease or arthritis.

Both can be treated with rest, avoiding aggravating lifting or straining movements, anti-inflammatory drugs (oral or local injections), ice compresses and/or heating pads.

Chest pain should always be evaluated to rule out heart problems but if the problem turns out to be costochondritis or Tietze's syndrome the prognosis is not life threatening.


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