Intercostal Neuralgia

Advanced Pain Management

Pain Management Specialists located in Evans, GA & Thomson, GA

Intercostal neuralgia is a type of neuropathy that affects your intercostal nerve, which is a nerve located near your rib cage. Damage or compression of this nerve can cause pain when you breathe, laugh, or sneeze. At Advanced Pain Management in Evans, Georgia, the experienced pain medicine specialists offer innovative treatments to alleviate the nerve pain. To learn more about your treatment options for intercostal neuralgia, call the office or request an appointment online today.

Intercostal Neuralgia Q & A

What is intercostal neuralgia?

Intercostal neuralgia is a painful condition that develops because of compression or damage to your intercostal nerve. This nerve is part of your somatic nervous system and is responsible for muscle activity and sensory information in the muscles around your ribcage as well as your chest cavity.

Damage to the nerve may develop from many causes, including:

  • Injury to your chest
  • Entrapment of the nerve
  • Infections (such as shingles)
  • Side effects of abdominal surgery

In some cases, there‚Äôs no apparent cause of the nerve pain. 

What are the symptoms of intercostal neuralgia?

Intercostal neuralgia generally causes stabbing or burning pain in your upper chest, around your ribs, or your upper back. You may also feel a squeezing sensation around your chest and back, tingling, or numbness.

Your pain may be triggered by the lightest of activities, such as breathing, sneezing, or laughing, which can have a significant effect on your quality of life.

In severe cases, intercostal neuralgia may cause muscle twitching, paralysis, or muscle atrophy. 

How is intercostal neuralgia diagnosed?

No single test can diagnose intercostal neuralgia. Your physician at Advanced Pain Management may need to perform diagnostic tests to rule out other causes of your pain before they make a formal diagnosis. 

During an evaluation, your doctor reviews your symptoms and your medical history. Your provider then performs a physical exam that may include an assessment of your intercostal nerve. To rule out other causes, your doctor may perform a neurological exam, X-rays, MRI, or lab work. 

What are the treatments for intercostal neuralgia?

The pain specialists at Advanced Pain Management develop individualized treatment plans for the management of intercostal neuralgia. Initially, the team may take a conservative approach to alleviate your pain with medication management. This approach may include antidepressants or anti-seizure medication, as well as physical therapy.

If your pain fails to improve with medication management, the team may suggest interventional pain management treatments, such as a nerve block or a thoracic epidural. 

For chronic intercostal neuralgia, the team may suggest placement of a peripheral nerve stimulator, which is a device that delivers a mild electrical pulse to the nerve to alter the signal and reduce your pain. 

For expert care of your intercostal neuralgia, call Advanced Pain Management, or request an appointment online today.