Fibromyalgia and Costochondritis: the way they are connected

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that includes severe and persistent body pain. It can be treated in different ways and affects each person differently, as the rates of pain can vary.

Along with the disease, there is an increased chance of developing certain types of conditions, such as costochondritis.

Costochondritis may occur in people who are already suffering from regular body pain, as it is a condition consisting of chest pain.

The two conditions have not been studied together enough to solidify their connection, but they can be assumed on the basis of studies already carried out. Some people with FMS reported having difficulty explaining pain in their shoulders, rib cages, and breast bones, similar to Costochondritis.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a debilitating condition that may affect the lives of those who suffer from it, although it is not life-threatening.

Drowsiness, sleep problems, and chronic pain are just a few of the signs. It was described as feeling you’ve got a very long, irritable cold.

The level of discomfort that people with FMS feel can be from unpleasant to painfully painful anywhere; it can make it difficult to do normal activities that affect people’s lives with it.


  • The body’s tender points
  • Constant muscle or joint pain and recurrence
  • Fatigue and somnolence
  • Possible insomnia and other issues with sleep
  • Possible problems with the head
  • Problems of memory / concentration
  • Irritable bowel (IBS) syndrome

What are Costochondritis?

Costochondritis, also known as non-cardiac chest pain and musculoskeletal chest pain, is a condition involving chronic rib pain, according to Debilitating Diseases.

This affects the rib cage and the breastbone, because of the inflammation of the cartilage between the two. Depending on how bad the initial swelling is, the pain varies but it can still be very painful.

Some have mentioned that it is a kind of sensation of burning or cutting, whether it was bad or not.

The cause of these conditions is not certain, but some suspect that it may be a single or persistent wound to the chest or a viral infection.

Even without being certain about the main cause of the disease, doctors found it could be caused by having fibromyalgia (also known as FMS).

Most people with fibromyalgia have some kind of costochondritis; around 60-70% of those with FMS also have the symptoms of non-cardiac chest pain.


  • Rib cage and breastbone variable pain (main symptom)
  • Breathing pain (breathing stretches the cartilage and causes pain, so sneezing and coughing can occur)
  • The pain of the arm and shoulder
  • Redness and/or swelling in the most difficult areas (the condition of Called Tietze)

How are they connected exactly?

It is not certain the exact relation between the two disorders, since Costochondritis is usually a minor injury and not a lifelong disease.

Nonetheless, there have been cases where an FMS patient’s chest pain is close to that of non-cardiac chest pain.

Some of the tender points of fibromyalgia* can be located under the collarbone, which may be a reason why ribs and breastbone start to hurt.

Costochondritis may not be exactly, but the symptoms point to it. It has been said that most people hospitalized with FMS have chest pain that was not diagnosed.

A comparison seems to be required to be established, as there is not enough data about the relationship yet.

Fibromyalgia tender points= 18 points on the body that become tender or pained because of FMS; a way for patients to detect FMS if it is severe or recurring.

If you look deeper into the meaning of tender points, you will not be confused with the trigger points; they are similar, but not the same.

Both treatments

Since fibromyalgia can be seen to cause costochondritis, treating FMS may help end chronic chest pain induced by the latter disorder. The two are known to be related, so they can be viewed together.

Hydrotherapy is a form of treatment for FMS as water can reduce both inflammation and relax muscles.

There are exercises and activities that can be beneficial if you have a pool or spa that would be worth getting to ease FMS.

If you have a physical therapist’s support, then you can begin to strengthen your muscles, or just relax them. This can help to alleviate the pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Treating only one

If you just want to treat Costochondritis, you can help with any anti-inflammatory drug along with ice.

It becomes difficult when you have both, so check with your doctor about the medicines for pain and heat that can help, so they don’t make it worse.

Regular painkillers may interact poorly with other FMS-related drugs.

Through physical therapy to stress management, anything can help ease the symptoms of FMS, just make sure you talk to your doctor about what might be best for you.

The disease isn’t just going away; it’s chronic. Through support and a healthy lifestyle, the suffering can be alleviated.

Although it can not be confirmed that the relation between the two conditions is pure fact, many have reason to believe that it is valid.

Costochondritis, which can be caused by repeated trauma, could very likely be the chest pain that FMS patients feel. In a way, FMS is a common injury since it is chronic body pain.

Treatment and maintenance of FMS may reduce the chances of Costochondritis, so it should be looked at.

If someone with Costochondritis thinks that the condition gets worse or if it’s longer than usual, it might be FMS. Depending on a body part’s tenderness, the two conditions have very similar side effects.

So try exercising or hydrotherapy to relax and strengthen the muscles to lower the chances of getting Costochondritis, or to help relieve regular FMS pain.

Make sure you’re talking to a doctor to see if you have any problem if you notice the different symptoms.

In their own ways, they can both be harmful; physically, psychologically, or socially, as it restricts what a person can do from day to day.




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