In between each one of your ribs, lies your intercostal muscles. They work together to attach and keep your ribs in place – which stabilizes your upper body and helps you breathe. There are three layers of intercostal muscles:
- external intercostals
- internal intercostals
- innermost intercostals
When you strain these muscles, you are opening yourself up to a variety of pain. When the muscles stretch, pull, or are partially torn, you may also experience difficulty breathing. Furthermore, if you’ve damaged your intercostal muscles you may also experience chest pain.
Intercostal Muscles Damage:
Unfortunately, it’s not too difficult to damage these muscles. You can pull or strain them in a number of ways. Most people, however, damage them during some form of twisting motion. Moreover, other patients note that the pain is gradual and stemmed from repetitive motions.
The following activities have been known to cause intercostal muscles pain:
- reaching over your head
- lifting heavy items while twisting
- intense sneezing or coughing
- carrying heavy items
- being hit in or near the ribcage
- participating in sporting activities that require twisting, such as tennis, baseball, basketball, rowing, or golf
Identifying Intercostal Muscles Damage:
If you experience any of the following or a combination of them, you may have damaged your muscles:
- muscle tightness
- difficulty breathing
Even after seeing your doctor for the pain, intercostal muscle damage can take a long time to heal. This is obviously frustrating, so your doctor may recommend non-surgical alternatives in the meantime. Regenerative medicine like stem cells or platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) injections offer pain relief by healing the root cause of your pain.
Furthermore, your doctor will also check for rib stress fractures – a common injury associated with intercostal pain. Even if you have stress fractures, your treatment probably won’t change. As always, following your doctors advice will help you recover in a timely fashion and have you back at your daily routines.
At Metropolitan Pain Consultants we always stress the importance of stretching and warming up before most activities – especially sports or exercise. Make sure you don’t overdo activities before your body has a chance to adjust and adapt to the rigors.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, please contact us today at 201-729-0001 for an evaluation and consultation. Likewise if you have more questions regarding the content you just read, please contact us with any further questions you may have. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. You can find us in West Orange, Aberdeen, Clifton, and Lyndhurst.