Cartilage is a solid, tough tissue that covers each end of your bone. When two ends of bones meet, the cartilage functions as a protection and support. This is why this area is called a joint. The cartilage helps you to move as your bones glide over one another. This is why suffering from a cartilage inflammation is a disaster.
What is cartilage inflammation? How bad is it and can it be cured? How long does the treatment usually take? We are going to go over these one by one.
About cartilage inflammation:
Cartilage inflammation is also known as costochondritis. If your cartilage is healthy, your bones glide over one another without causing any pain. If it is not, like it is injured, inflamed, or damaged, then you have a serious problem here. Some of the causes for cartilage inflammation include:
- Tears and/or injuries one often gets from sport activities
- Genetically-speaking causes
- Arthritis or some other types of disorders (this may also relate to genetic factors.)
- Physical trauma (like from a car accident, a direct hit, lifting heavy weights in a forceful manner, or coughing a little too hard.)
- Scoliosis or a possible tumor within.
- Vitamin D deficiency (which usually worsens the case.)
Generally, having a severe chest pain can be a sign of suffering from cartilage inflammation. Since it can be really painful and possibly unbearable, this can also be the results of more serious health problems, like:
- Cardiac arrest (heart attack, aneurysm, or pericarditis/myocarditis.)
- Gastrointestinal problems (gasthritis, esophagitis, or the combination of both called GERDS, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease.)
- Musculoskeletal (fibromyalgia or an extended growth of tissue on the side of one’s face, fractured rib, reactive arthritis, or bone metastasis as a side-effect of prostate cancer, breast cancer, or other syndromes like plasmacytoma or sarcomas.)
- Psychogenic (hyperventilation, severe panic attack or panic disorder, or anxiety disorder.)
- Respiratory problems, like pneumonia.
- Drug abuse or suffering from Herpes zoster.
How do we treat cartilage inflammation?
Treating cartilage inflammation can be tricky, especially if this is your first time. In fact, you might not identify it well at first and think it is only a minor injury or a sense of fatigue. Even if it lasts more than 24 hours a day, further medical attention needs to be taken. Go to your doctor to discuss about what to do next.
For starters, applying RICE treatment for your cartilage inflammation might work for a while. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This came from Gabe Mirkin in Sports medicine Book, back in the year 1978. This also works for other injuries, like sprain, strain, or bone injury.
If you suffer from cartilage inflammation, it is best that you do not move so much…or even at all. This may feel annoying to you, especially if you are a very active (or even athletic) person. However, this is the only way for you to get better and heal faster. Consider this a short-term break and a chance to get yourself pampered by people around you.
In some cases, suffering from cartilage inflammation might require taking some medications prescribed by physicians. If it worsens, one might have to go through a surgery to remove the cause for it. One example that can cause cartilage inflammation is bone deformities, as the long-term result of arthritis degradation.
Since you may not be able to move your body so much, the blood flow to cartilage might be slowing down. This can also slow down and prolong the healing process. In some cases, a scar tissue might develop due to the inability of the cartilage to self-repair.
Surgery (to have your joints replaced) needs to be done if the cartilage breaks down badly enough. There are some disadvantages to surgery as the final solution to your cartilage inflammation problem, though:
- It is costly.
- It is a painful procedure. In some cases, the patient(s) might need painkillers for a while.
- The rehabilitation after the surgery can take months…and perhaps years, depending the age of the patient. It is not just about physical rehabilitation. A sense of helplessness can lead to a further depression, so a psychotherapy might also be needed.
Can cartilage inflammation be avoided?
This is also a rather tricky question. Can cartilage inflammation be avoided? It depends. If you have genetic factors that tend to cause that, you can at least try to reduce the possibility of having it. As cliche as this sounds, eating healthy foods and doing regular, careful exercise can help you. With those two good, old strategies, you can shed your extra kilos and avoid this health problem.
Waking up early to jog around before your daily activities can also help you to gain extra vitamin D. A plenty of it can also avoid you from getting cartilage inflammation. After all, you only live once. Staying healthy is important.