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My ten - year - old son experiences severe chest pain and difficulties while breathing. The doctor ruled out heart problems because he is “a young, healthy lad” and diagnosed costochondritis. My son is still very afraid and keeps complaining about not being able to breathe. He takes ibuprofen and is advised to avoid demanding physical activities. Will his costochondritis go away? Can the doctor be sure that his lungs and heart are all right?

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Costochondritis is characterised by chest pain since it affects the cartilage and bones in the chest wall. This means that the cartilage which joins rib bones and breastbone (sternum) is inflamed. The cause of costochondritis is still not known, but it is probable that your son had a viral infection in his respiratory tract - this can be the cause of the inflammation of the cartilage in the chest wall. The pain can be worsened during physical activities so your son should follow the doctor’s instructions. The usual treatment consists of what the doctor prescribed - anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen or steroid injections (if the pain does not respond to medications). Costochondritis is not a dangerous condition and the chances are that it will go away on its own. Your son should learn to accept his condition and try to behave accordingly - to avoid movements that will cause him pain, to learn which the best sleeping positions are etc. However, more serious conditions must not be ruled out on the basis of your son’s healthy look. The doctor must thoroughly investigate his condition, especially his heart, since chest pains are often associated with heart condition.
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I had the same condition when I was in my teens. Just to walk from the couch to the TV hurt & I could not breath. I don't recall specifically what I was given but it was probably naproxen or a steriod. I also have severe scoloisis too so that may have made me more prone to it I'm not sure. Anyway it went away & I have not had it since. So it's best to take whatever meds are prescribed, take it easy & I would think it would clear up with no problem. I recall being a bit skittish myself at first and thinking it was my heart. If that seems to have been ruled out then I think he'll be fine.
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