Intercostal Neuralgia

Intercostal neuralgia is pain coming from the nerves that are present in the thoracic spine. The pain may be intermittent or constant, and typically presents either as a band-like pain wrapping along the chest and back or in a thoracic dermatomal pattern. Pain may last for a prolonged period and may continue long after the inflicting disease process has subsided.

Untreated pain—regardless of the location or source—can lead to complications, including sleep problems, loss of appetite, or mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Symptoms
  • Chest discomfort

    • Around the ribs

    • Occurs or worsens with laughing, coughing or sneezing, Occurs or worsens with deep inspiration, Occurs or worsens with exertion

    • Occurs or worsens when touching

    or Back pain

    • Ribcage area on the back

    • Occurs or worsens by coughing or sneezing, Occurs or worsens with activity

    • Less than 8 weeks


    Numbness or tingling around the ribs


  • Risk factors
  • Recent chest injury or trauma



  • Treatment
  • Intercostal neuralgia is typically treated with NSAIDs to reduce inflammation and pain. Some over-the-counter topical treatments can provide temporary pain relief also.
  • Recommended specialist
  • If you have Intercostal Neuralgia, then a visit to a neurologist is recommended.

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