Intercostal Neuralgia


Intercostal neuralgia is neuropathic pain involving the intercostal nerves. These are the nerves that arise from the spinal cord, below the ribs. Intercostal neuralgia tends to cause thoracic pain, which is also known to affect your chest wall and upper trunk.

The pain might feel worse even when doing gentle physical activities, such as deep breathing or stretching. It might also intensify when you laugh, cough, or sneeze. Some people also notice referred pain in their shoulder blade or lower pelvis.

The main symptom of intercostal neuralgia is burning, sharp, or shooting pain. This pain may be felt around the ribs, in the upper chest, or in the upper back. Additional symptoms include:

  • A squeezing pressure sensation that wraps around the chest.
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
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