Intercostal Neuralgia

Figure show Pattern of pain seen in a patient with intercostal neuralgia. Characteristically, the pain wraps around the trunk in a band-like distribution.

Intercostal neuralgia is caused by nerve compression in the abdominal area, which is the area by the ribcage. The intercostal nerves arise from the spinal cord and lie under the rib, along with the vein and artery. These nerves innervate the muscles of the rib cage, skin and chest cavity. The intercostals nerves can be injured from surgery or trauma, viral infections such as shingles, or idiopathic, meaning they have no identifiable cause. Symptoms include spasmodic pain occurring around the ribs. Due to the placement of the nerve, motions such as breathing, laughing or sneezing can cause pain. Other symptoms include left sided pain in the back, pain in the left side of the ribs, tingling, numbness, loss of appetite, paralysis and atrophy of the muscles. In severe cases, the pain may feel like a lightening bolt and could extend to the back.

At Alimran Medical Center, we may recommend any of the following treatments:

Physiotherapy

Chiropractic

Steroid injection

  • Trigger point injections
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Transforaminal injections

Pulsed radiofrequency

Botox® injections

Acupuncture

Prolotherapy

Repetitive transcranial magnatic stimulation (rTMS)

Spinal cord stimulation