Fact Checked

A costochondral separation is a condition that arises when ribs that are connected to the sternum by costochondral cartilage breaks as a result of certain stresses somewhat like a joint dislocation causing different injuries to the costochondral.

The cartilage that attaches ribs to the breastbone can tear to some extent causing pain and tenderness at the site of separation. This pain may take place only during activity although it may also be present at rest, thus occasionally confused with heart attack pain.

Costochondral Separation Causes

Rib injuries most often than not, occur as a result of a direct blow to the chest wall. Therefore, breaks occur in the curved portion of the exterior part of the rib cage. A costochondral separation may result from trauma, when a person lands hard on the feet, or even when a person coughs or sneeze aggressively. Motor vehicle accidents and falls are also some of the causes of this costochondral separation.

Costochondral Separation Symptoms

An injury to the ribs can cause pain and tenderness over the injured place. This pain is usually experienced and exacerbated during inhalation and exhalation, when one moves, laughs or during coughing.

Costochondral Separation Treatment

In order to promote healing, it is recommended that one should rest, put an ice pack over the injured rib for some minutes every four hours for three days until the pain subsides, wear rib belt which may be suggested by the health provider for very painful injuries. This rib belt limits the movement of the ribs when one coughs, breathes, or during any movement to reduce pain. A doctor may also give anti-inflammatory medicines or put the patient on ultra sound to increase circulation to the area, reduce pain and increase healing. A health provider can also take x-ray to determine the bone that has healed before allowing the patient to return to any activity, particularly if it is a contact sport.

Costochondral Separation Prevention

Avoid sleeping or lying on the stomach, avoid activities that may hyper stretch the lower back and try to interrupt long periods of sitting by standing or stretching.

Costochondral Separation Home remedies

 Make use of damp heat packs daily during the initial stage of treatment to aid in relaxing tight muscle fibers and make blood to flow to the site. Hot baths offer momentary relief. Exercises should be specifically done in order, be simple and aimed at stabilization. Seek opinion of a physician on when to perform exercises and how regular. Rehabilitation exercises can be the key to avoiding numerous occurrences of low back pain and maintaining the function of the low back muscles and joints should one perform them correctly.

It is thus worth noting that rib injuries may include bruises, bone fractures and torn cartilage which is common in older people. Flail chest happens when more than three ribs get broken in at least two places that is, front and back.

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