Stretching exercises for costochondritis pain

G Ital Med Lav Ergon. 2009 Apr-Jun;31(2):169-71.


The term costochondritis (ChC) indicates a painful and persistent inflammation at the costochondral or costosternal junction. The usual conservative treatment (NSAIDs), local splinting, local heat) and sometimes disappointing. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of stretching exercises in a group of patients affected with ChC. This retrospective open study involved 51 outpatients with diagnosis of ChC: thirty four consecutive patients were treated with stretching exercises, 34 patients matched for age, pain and disease duration constituted the control group. All the patients had spontaneous pain at least in the one of the costochondral junctions at the third to seventh rib. The intensity of spontaneous pain was measured by means of the visual analogic scale of Scott-Huskisson. The homogeneity of the two groups at the beginning of the study was checked for VAS, for disease duration and age by means of Mann-Whitney test for non-parametric measures. The statistical analysis of pain was done by Friedman analysis of variance and Student-Newman-Keuls multiple comparisons tests. The results showed a progressive significant amelioration in patients treated with stretching exercises as respect as the control group (p<0.001). The goal of therapy of costochondritis is to reduce inflammation and the pain. The NSAIDs, local injection of anaesthetic or steroid has insufficient effectiveness. The possibility to improve the pain by means of simple stretching exercises can supply a useful instrument in order to treat the condition of these patients.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chest Pain / diagnosis
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Chest Pain / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life
  • Recovery of Function
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tietze's Syndrome / complications
  • Tietze's Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Tietze's Syndrome / therapy*