Intercostal neuralgia: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment


2018-03-17 12:45:15




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The Pain in the heart area may have a different origin. It is a major clinical symptom of many diseases of the heart and lungs. Often pain in the heart can cause intercostal neuralgia. The symptoms of this condition are nonspecific and simulate various diseases of the internal organs.

Intercostal neuralgia is called the clinical syndrome that accompanies a disease of the peripheral nervous system. The onset of pain is associated with irritation of the nerves going from the spine intercostal space. The main reason for the development of intercostal neuralgia – pronounced osteochondrosis of the cervical and thoracic spine. In addition to degenerative disc disease this clinical syndrome may be accompanied by kyphosis of different origin, spondylitis, ankylosing spondylitis, tumors of the spine. It is important that intercostal neuralgia, the symptoms of which will be discussed below, often resembles the symptoms of heart disease. A pain develops in hypothermia, intense physical exertion, injuries, colds.

Intercostal neuralgia-symptoms, simulating cardiac pathology

The Nature and localization of pain in intercostal neuralgia is often perceived by patients as pain associated with heart disease. It may be paroxysmal, sharp, radiating to the left arm and shoulder simulating angina. But the neuralgic pain can be distinguished from stenokardicheskie. In intercostal neuralgia the pain is stable, without periods of growth. Blood pressure and pulse remain unchanged, which is not the case in heart disease. The most characteristic symptom of pain in intercostal neuralgia it is increased during movements, coughing, sneezing, deep breathing, changes in body posture. When intercostal neuralgia patients may complain of numbness, burning, tingling.


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The palpation in the course of the intercostal spaces in the paravertebral areas in the axillary line and the point of attachment of the ribs to the sternum is possible to determine the increased pain. Local pain is defined primarily in fifth-eleventh rib on the left. During the auscultation there are no changes to the sonority of heart sounds, noise and rhythm disorders. Sometimes the pain radiates to the lower back and can be regarded as the attack of renal colic. An important diagnostic criterion is the reduction of pain intensity or its complete cessation after taking nitroglycerin tablets in that case, if the attack is associated with heart disease. Neuralgia receiving nitroglycerin will not change the condition of the patient.

Intercostal neuralgia, the symptoms of which we considered less dangerous than heart disease. If you experience chest pain is not worth it to try to diagnose the disease. To understand the causes of the pain and prescribe the necessary treatment can only a doctor.

Of Great importance in the diagnosis is given to additional methods of research. To exclude cardiac pathology is carried out ECG, echocardiography. Changes of osteochondrosis determined by x-ray.

Treatment and prevention of intercostal neuralgia

If diagnosed with intercostal neuralgia, the medication is indicated only in acute pain. Pain in intercostal neuralgia is removed by application of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. You can use various ointments, rubbing, tablet medication. When a sharp pain prescribe parenteral introduction of medicines. After the prescribed pain relief reflex treatment. Effectively the purpose of massage, acupuncture, acupuncture, manual therapy. As it is expressed in intercostal neuralgia, the consequences of it are not dangerous to health.

Prevention neuralgia is the prevention of hypothermia and colds. Shown enough physical activity, active recreation, the fight against physical inactivity and obesity.

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