Topic Categories:

Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

The Requirements for Disability

Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial

Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

Benefits through SSI disability

Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

SSDRC authored by

Ask a question, get an answer

Facts about Costochondritis and Filing for Disability

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

1. Costrochondritis is characterized by inflammation of the cartilage between the breastbone and the ribs, also known as the costosternal joint. The result is a sharp pain that can feel similar to the pain of a heart attack. The area between the sixth, fifth, and fourth ribs are the most common ribs to be affected by costrochondritis.

2. Although costrochondritis can occur in anyone of any age, it most often occurs in people over 40 years old, and is more prone to affect women than men.

3. Costochondritis is also known as costosternal chondrodynia, costosternal syndrome, and chest wall pain. It is sometimes referred to (mistakenly) as Tietze syndrome. Although Costochondritis and Tietze syndrome are similar, Tietze syndrome is accompanied by swelling, whereas costochondritis is not.

4. Symptoms of costochondritis include sharp pain and tenderness in the chest area between the ribs and the breastbone, breathing difficulties, and pain when coughing or taking deep breaths. In many cases of diagnosis, people visit the doctor (or emergency room) upon experiencing sharp chest pains.

5. Costochondritis can be caused by infection, injury, heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, fbromyalgia, strain and other reasons, but sometimes the cause remains unknown. Viral, bacterial and fungal infections may all cause costochondritis.

6. Costochondritis usually clears up on its own and is fairly short-lived in most cases, but may last anywhere from a few days to a few months. Treatment focuses on relieving pain and can include muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

7. As an alternative to drugs, using a heating pad, gently exercising, and getting plenty of rest may help ease pain.

8. In severe cases of costochondritis surgery may be needed to remove the infected and inflamed cartilage if symptoms and pain do not go away with time and treatment.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews