Intercostal neuralgia is a rare condition that causes pain in a nerve pathway that is associated with the intercostal nerves coming from the spinal cord.
Intercostal nerves are located between ribs, and can be damaged or inflamed due to several conditions and diseases, causing intercostal neuralgia. The pain may become intense from exertion or sudden movements of the upper chest.
Treatment options may include:
- Antiviral medications
- Capsaicin cream
- CorticosteroidsNerve block injections
- Deep breathing
- Massage therapy
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Shingles medications
- Abdominal pain
- Breathing problems
- Chest issues (cramping, pain, pressure, tightness, tearing sensation)
- Chest pressure, cramping, tightness, or a tearing sensation in the chest
- Coughing up greenish phlegm
- Heart palpitations
- Limited movement of shoulders or back
- Pain in arm, back, or shoulder
- Rib pain
- Sudden confusion, dizziness, loss of consciousness
Pain described as:
- Spasm -like
Diagnosis / Tests
Diagnostic tests include:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Physical exam
Causes & contributing factors may include:
- Chest injury
- Nerve degeneration
- Neuritis (nerve inflammation)
- Rib injury or infection
- Strained muscle in the chest area
- The cause of pain from intercostal neuralgia is often known.
- People of any age can have intercostal neuralgia.
- Intercostal neuralgia is more common in older people.