Intercostal neuralgia is a neuropathic pain originating from the intercostal nerves. It is observed in old age, which is characterized by degenerative and dystrophic changes in the musculoskeletal system. It occurs with inflammation of muscles and nerves in the chest and middle part of the spine. One or more intercostal nerves, usually adjacent, are often affected. It is possible to affect the intercostal nerve in the intercostal space, but inflammation and pinching of the nerve structures at the level of the spine in the chest is not excluded. In most cases, intercostal neuralgia occurs unilaterally, but sometimes presents with symmetrical pain symptoms along the costal arch, often localized in the area of the floating ribs. The pain is dull and throbbing, with brief episodes of exacerbation with deep breathing.
The causes of intercostal neuralgia are associated with disorders of the natural curvature of the spine and pathological processes resulting from impaired muscle balance. Prolonged heavy physical activity, hypothermia, injuries, infectious diseases can also lead to its occurrence.
Diagnosis and symptoms
Intercostal neuralgia is a pathological process associated with inflammation, irritation and compression of nerve fibers in the intercostal space. The disease often causes pain, which is disguised as symptoms of diseases affecting the organs of the thoracic and abdominal cavities and the spine. This complicates and sometimes delays diagnosis. Characteristic is the appearance of pain and its intensification when sneezing, sudden movements, coughing. Deep inhalation or sudden exhalation worsens the pain symptoms due to expansion in the thoracic region, which leads to increased compression on the affected nerve structures. Typically, the pain syndrome spreads along the nerves in combination with sensory disturbances such as loss of sensation and/or numbness.
There are reflex and radicular types of neuralgia. The reflex can be left-handed and right-handed, with tension in the intercostal fibers. In the radicular type the manifestation is one-sided. It affects the spinal fibers and there is pain in the chest area of the spine. Accurate diagnosis and treatment of intercostal neuralgia can be obtained after a thorough examination and examination by a neurologist.
Treatment of intercostal neuralgia
Your neurologist will prescribe medication. If the neuralgia has a viral etiology (herpes zoster, acute respiratory infections), specific antiviral treatment is prescribed with the help of immunostimulatory therapy. If the neuralgia is of radicuric type, anti-inflammatory, B vitamins, muscle relaxants are prescribed. Often, the treatment of radicular-type neuralgia is favorably combined with physiotherapy and kinesitherapy. It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Normalizes muscle tone and corrects muscle imbalance by improving posture and preventing the aggravation of pathology in the thoracic spine, leading to intercostal neuralgia.