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Costochondritis is a harmless swelling (inflammation) of cartilage in your chest. The cartilage connects your ribs to your breastbone (sternum), creating the costochondral joint. Costochondritis feels like a sharp or aching pain. The pain can start suddenly or develop slowly and spread across your chest.

Because the pain is in your chest, you might misinterpret costochondritis as a heart attack.

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When you experience chest pain, you might assume that you have pneumonia, a bruised rib or even a heart problem. Costochondritis, a lesser-known cause of chest pain, is more common. Prescribed and over-the-counter medications can help with the swollen cartilage that causes your sharp pain.
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Chest pain may be a very scary symptom. If your chest pain is severe, you should go to the emergency department to find out what’s causing it. It might be costochondritis or it might be a heart attack or some other serious condition. If it’s costochondritis, there’s no reason to worry. Costochondritis is a short-term swelling of the cartilage. Treatments are available to help reduce the pain associated with costochondritis while you heal.

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