PBC Foundation
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Upper chest wall pain

Hello all! Just checking in here to see if any of you suffer from upper chest wall pain. I have pain right above my left breast, my muscles are painful to the touch there. I also have pain in the back on that side too. I have been tested by two different docs with EKG's to rule out cardiac origin and they were always normal as were my cardiac enzymes. One doc told me it was muscle pain wrapping around from the front to the back and wanted me to go into therapy, but it just got too expensive. One doc told me it was costochondritis, which is an inflammatory problem with the chest wall. I also know I press and lean on that side quite a bit while I work. I just wondered if any of this could be PBC related? I am getting ready to have Thyroid cancer surgery in June and also was worried this was cancer related, but not sure.

I know that PBC is an inflammatory process and fibro causes chest pain too (which I don't have as far as I know), but this certainly flares up when I am under stress. I can usually make it go away with over the counter pain meds, but the only treatment for costo is high doses of ibuprofen, which I know we shouldn't take. I did break down today and take two, but the pain was really bad today. I've been under considerable stress lately too. Besides the cancer, death in the family, etc.

4 Replies

Sounds like yr having a tough time at the moment. I hope everything goes ok with the surgery. I have Costo chondritis too. I gave no idea if it's PBC related. , it comes and goes a bit, and anti inflammatories are the only thing that help me to. However I try to only take them if I'm in agony. I'm off to see a rheumatologist

Next week with all my aches and pains. A lot of people get it, I don't think we should blame everything on the pbc tho.


Hi Notor,

Try not to worry: I know that's easier said than done, but the best thing is to break the stress cycle.

It sounds exactly like (one part of ... the range of) the pain I had with Costo. Even though it is only the cartilage that actually becomes inflamed, the referred pain can cover the whole wide area of the ribcage.

I thought I was getting over mine, and went (too early) to a 'relaxing' (?!) yoga class where I knew at the time that I'd probably overworked that area ...and sure enough, later on it was back and in that exact spot on the left, then to the back, that you describe ... with just a touch, much milder, on the right (guess that side's stronger and not so easily upset).

I was also having an incredibly stressful time and that is when costo can and does strike.

A friend said her PBC consultant (one of the best) said to take the painkillers. I know it's a hard call. I'm afraid I wolf them down on the grounds that I have to break the stress, pain, more stress cycle, but then I'm not fully PBC.

Take care and treat yourself, do everything you love to break the stress. Cosset yourself!!


I suffered from upper chest wall pain for several years. It was debilitating. I Could never get an answer regarding the cause. After reading several books about aitoimmunity and the role gluten plays, I cut gluten from my diet. I saw an immediate and profound improvement in my pain level and swelling. In addition to giving up gluten, my rhumotologist put me on Plaquinil. I have been free of chest wall pain for more than a year now.

1 like

Hi Notor.bless you you are having a horrible time at the moment.i would like to bet it's all stress related but it's def hard at the moment to break out of that pattern.have a chat with your gp.there may be something they can give you to relax you a little.take a bit of time out for you and do something you enjoy or haven't done for a while.youve supported everyone and you are on top of your health problems-for the moment nothing else you can do.feel free to moan or voice your fears.il listen.

Take good care of yourself and do something nice if only for half an hour xx


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