Intercostal neuralgia is often confused with multiple cardiovascular diseases. Intercostal neuralgia symptoms are easily confused with symptoms of the heart pathologies. Causes of intercostal neuralgia are usually associated with age-related changes, and most of all, older people suffer from it.
Intercostal neuralgia may be accompanied by not only the pain and tightness of the intercostal space, but also involuntary contraction and twitching individual muscle groups.
The Symptoms of Intercostal Neuralgia
The first symptom of intercostal neuralgia may be considered pain in the ribs, which is due to irritation or compression of the intercostal nerves. According to the nature of the pain it can be different in feeling: burning, sharp, aching, or dull. According to the periodicity the pain can be both episodic and constant. The pain can be dramatically intensified if any, even minor physical activity, or simply an unexpected movement, for example, a sharp body movement, jump, cough or sneeze.
The symptoms of intercostal neuralgia can be recognized with a simple probing. During the palpation of the certain parts of the body (in the area between ribs along the spinal discs and thorax), the patient can feel a sharp pain. Also, patients often complain about the pain during the active inhalation and exhalation, there is a feeling of “intercepting” breathing. There is also a “reflection” of pain, which is usually localized in other parts of the body and can occur under the shoulder blade, in the back and loins. Also the “belting” pain is a characteristic.
Intercostal neuralgia may be accompanied by not only the pain and tightness of the intercostal space, but also involuntary contraction and twitching of individual muscle groups. In the area of peripheral nerve injury the skin can change color (turn red or pale), as well in these places the sensitivity can be lost due to numbness.
Many people faced with an intercostal neuralgia wonder what causes lead to the development and progression of this disease. Intercostal neuralgia appears under the influence of numerous factors:
- The age-related changes – doctors point out that elderly people suffer from this disease more often than people of middle age or younger;
- The diabetes – diabetes provoke oxygen starvation of the nerves, that is it leads to insufficient supply of oxygen to the nerves;
- The lack of vitamins “B” – against the backdrop of changes in metabolism there is a reorganization of all processes in the body. One of the negative consequences of such a failure of the body is the lack of B vitamins, which subsequently impact on the entire nervous system and may cause neuralgia
- The gastrointestinal disease – disorders of the digestive processes is a common cause of intercostal neuralgia, as there is a decrease the tone of gastrointestinal tract and there are hormonal disorders;
- The diseases of the spine and ribs – intercostal neuralgia can be provoked by various changes in the chest, or spinal cord injuries.
In addition to these common causes of intercostal neuralgia, also the cold muscles or overexertion can contribute to its development. General fatigue, overcooling or stress greatly increases the risk.
Intercostal Neuralgia: Methods of Treatment
After a visit to a doctor and a correct diagnosis, you should start appropriate treatment. In the first place treatment of intercostal neuralgia comes down to the removal of pain syndrome and eliminates the causes that affect the nerve injury. Along with the use of pharmaceutical preparations in order to treat this complex, in most cases additional methods are used for the treatment of the intercostal neuralgia. At the stage of acute exacerbation it is recommended to strictly comply with bed rest and sleep on a firm surface. The doctor can prescribe physical therapy, which is considered a quite effective method of treatment. Additionally vitaminization of the body is prescribed.
Drug treatment mainly consists in the appointment of the pain medications, nonsteroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs, that significantly reduce pain. When the doctor prescribes any medications, he must take into account condition of the patient, age and progressive disease, as well as the presence of any acute stomach or intestinal disease. In order to eliminate spasms in the muscles, the muscle relaxants can be prescribed and if the patient has an acute form, the physician may prescribe novocaine blockade.
Physical therapy procedures can be in the form of conducting an ultrasound, UV, laser therapy and acupuncture. Intercostal neuralgia is treated effectively with the exercise therapy, manual therapy and acupressure. If the cause of neuralgia is associated with the problems of the spine, its traction is often prescribed.
Folk Treatment of Intercostal Neuralgia
In the treatment of intercostal neuralgia, many patients often resort to folk remedies, which are often effective. Intercostal neuralgia is treated effectively with traditional methods of treatment:
- The steamed gauze compresses with flax seed in the area of the damaged nerve (or a sore spot);
- To reduce pain, you should lubricate the area of the nerve damage with the fresh horseradish (you can also use the radish);
- Steamed wormwood grinded into mush and mixed with sea buckthorn oil, should be applied to the affected area, this method effectively relieves a painful syndrome;
- The ointment of aspen buds and vaseline – crush aspen buds and mix with vaseline in the ratio 1: 4, then rub into the sore spots several times a day;
- Pepper plaster – clean the painful area of skin with alcohol, wipe dry, apply a plaster and remove after the sensation of heat;
- A compresses from the infusion of rue – 2 tbsp of the rue pour with a glass of boiling water, and leave it for two weeks. Make a compress during acute pain.