Heart jumps intercostal neuralgia than to treat

Neuralgia in the heart is a dangerous pathology that many have encountered when waking up at night from an unpleasant chest pain.

At the first moment after waking up, it is difficult to determine the exact location of the pain and there is fear that pain in the heart has appeared.

Someone calls an ambulance, claiming that he has pain in the heart.

Neuralgia in the heart occurs reflexively, as a result of irritation of nerve endings. The nature of the sensitivity is different: compression, burning, shock. It happens that heartaches are confused with neurological diseases and only a competent doctor is able to correctly diagnose.

Causes of Neuralgia

Chest pain caused by neurological diseases occurs as a result of changes in the intercostal spaces and pinching of the intercostal nerves.

  • injuries in the chest;
  • Ankylosing spondylitis;
  • hernias in the intervertebral discs;
  • prolonged tension of the muscles of the chest (external and internal);
  • curvature of the spine.

An attack can develop after hypothermia, psychological stress, as a result of infection, intoxication.

Significant physical activity increases the risk of developing the disease. In practice, there are cases of the occurrence of the disease as a result of herpetic lesion, pleurisy, the use of certain medications.

Heart Neuralgia – Symptoms

The main sign of cardiac neuralgia is a feeling of heaviness in the chest, which does not allow you to breathe in and out. The pain can be aching, dull, acute in the form of an attack. When trying to change the position of the body, acute pain can occur (this is the cause of the appearance of pain during sleep), it intensifies with breathing, coughing.

A deep breath can cause a feeling of numbness, tingling, burning.

Given the branched structure of the intercostal nerve, pain may occur elsewhere (except in the area of ​​the heart).

During attacks, you may experience:

  • redness of the skin;
  • sleep disturbance;
  • increased sweating;
  • tingling sensation;
  • muscle twitching.

The pain can continue for several days, intensifying more and more. Some patients experience girdle pain.

This technique reduces irritation of nerve endings and pain.

Difference from cardiovascular pathologies

It is necessary to determine the nature of the pain: with neuralgia, it differs from pathologies associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Neuralgia is characterized by prolonged pain, it does not disappear after taking nitroglycerin or validol.

The indicators of pressure and pulse remain unchanged, changes in the cardiogram are not detected.

Why does neuralgia hurt my heart? One of the causes of pain in the heart can be angina pectoris. It occurs after emotional overstrain. The pains are compressive, pressing and are accompanied by a fainting state, nausea. They last a few minutes, then pass.

Acute pain in the heart (cutting or stitching) may indicate the presence of an inflammatory process (pericarditis) in the tissues of the heart. It is accompanied by fever, malaise.

With myocardial infarction, the pain behind the sternum is pressing or compressing, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and increased sweating join them. Pain gives into the arm, jaw, scapula. Heart rhythm, heart rate may be disturbed. The pain lasts several minutes, the patient needs immediate help.

Pain as a result of heart damage is usually accompanied by a change in the rhythm of the pulse and its frequency, and an increase in blood pressure. With heart diseases, the pain is intermittent or short-term, does not increase with movement, disappears after taking nitroglycerin. You need to seek medical help faster.

Intense paroxysmal pain in the trigeminal region may indicate the presence of trigeminal neuralgia, which is often confused with toothache. Trigeminal neuralgia: causes and symptoms of the disease, as well as treatment methods.

Read about the most common symptoms of neuralgia in women here.

You may be interested in learning more about the causes of chest neuralgia. In this topic, we consider the main factors that provoke the disease.

Treatment of intercostal neuralgia in the heart

In case of displacement of the elements of the spine, the doctor prescribes procedures for their recovery (massage, manual therapy, means of physiotherapy).

The patient is recommended bed rest (it is better to lie on a hard surface), the use of dry heat, the use of anti-inflammatory and analgesic ointments (diclofenac).

With severe pain, analgesics (lornoxicam), sedatives are allowed. According to indications, drugs are prescribed that improve blood circulation in the affected area. Good results are obtained from the use of traditional medicine (applying geranium leaves to the affected area and wrapping), reflexology.

With secondary neuralgia (resulting from a pathology of the internal organs), therapy should be aimed at treating the underlying disease. Regardless of the cause of the appearance of pain in the heart, it is necessary to seek the help of a specialist in a timely manner.

Neuralgia is an insidious disease that often disguises itself as heart disease. To correctly determine the diagnosis, you need to know how to distinguish heart pain from neuralgia. We will figure out where the pain in neuralgia is localized.

Read about the mechanism of post-herpetic neuralgia development in this article.

Unpleasant symptoms that occur in the heart area always cause discomfort to people and scare. Intercostal neuralgia, symptoms on the left, in the area of ​​the heart, in which appear in 100% of cases, indicates some problems in the body.

However, pathology is rarely associated directly with diseases of the cardiovascular system. If neuralgia has long become a chronic disease that occurs regularly, each patient should know how to distinguish its symptoms from true heart pathologies.

Symptoms of Neuralgia

The most common symptom of neuralgia is pain in the left or right intercostal region, as well as in the area of ​​the heart. In 1-5% of cases, bilateral pathology occurs. The pain can pass from front to back, giving back to the shoulder blade, located above or below the area of ​​the heart. Also, pathology is characterized by signs:

  • tingling from the sore side on the left, as well as directly in the area of ​​the heart, less often on the right side;
  • numbness of the skin, or increased sensitivity;
  • the skin turns red, there is a feeling of heat or cold;
  • it is difficult for the patient to breathe, with coughing, symptoms intensify.

You can confuse the signs of intercostal neuralgia with serious illnesses, so for a differential diagnosis it is better to consult a doctor.

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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Features of symptoms in pregnant women

The body of a pregnant woman does not work at all as usual, and many symptoms of diseases are blurry, incorrectly interpreted.

Intercostal neuralgia in this condition may result from compression of the nerve roots by organs. Because of this, symptoms occur not only in the area of ​​the heart:

  • acute pain can be in any zone on the left, less often on the right;
  • symptoms are often given to the stomach and heart, scapula;
  • the longer the term, the stronger the signs appear, after delivery they almost completely disappear.

Sometimes inactive viruses wake up during pregnancy. Herpes zoster caused by herpes is one of them. It is characterized by the presence of vesicles on the skin with subsequent formation of ulcers.

Signs in children

Intercostal neuralgia develops in childhood, especially when the baby is improperly carried in her arms. However, up to 3 years, the child cannot correctly identify the symptoms. Parents can recognize them:

    the child complains of pain in the abdomen, sternum, or on the s >

It should be remembered that with intercostal neuralgia, the pain is especially severe during movement, and when at rest it quickly subsides.

Can heart pain be distinguished from neuralgia?

There are many ways to distinguish the pain on the left from a heart attack.

NeuralgiaCardiovascular disorders
If symptoms occur on the left, then the pain will intensify with inhalation and exhalation, as well as when trying to change the pose. It hurts a lot if they start to feel the ribs.With heart lesions, symptoms persist constantly: in a standing, lying position.
Pain sensations encircle the upper body: shoulders, chest, rib area, shoulder blades. The pain persists for a long time.Heart pains are given in the left hand and persist in the sternum, in the center. Discomfort lasts no longer than 15-16 minutes.
Sedatives, painkillers, NSAIDs help.The pain goes away from nitroglycerin.
The pulse remains in a normal state, pressure rarely changes.The pulse can increase or decrease, the pressure rises or falls sharply, depending on the concomitant heart disease.

But you can not ignore the characteristics of the body of individual patients. Some heart diseases are accompanied by increased pain on the left with movement or inhalation. To accurately determine the disease that causes the unpleasant symptoms, you must consult a doctor.

If symptoms are given under the ribs or lower back, it is necessary to separate from the intercostal neuralgia disorders in the digestive and urinary system. Also, pathology is sometimes confused with lung diseases – pneumonia and pleurisy.

Causes of Neuralgia

A symptom such as intercostal neuralgia accompanies various diseases. It is impossible to consider a violation as an independent pathology. The process develops under the influence of the following factors:

  • Pinched spinal nerve in the sternum. The main causes of pathology are protrusion, osteochondrosis and intervertebral hernia.
  • The nerve is in a constantly irritated state, muscles between the ribs become inflamed. Deviation may occur due to stress, trauma or increased physical exertion. Sometimes it causes a mechanism of hypothermia or infection.
  • Hormonal changes that trigger pathological processes in cells. This is observed with menopause, during pregnancy.
  • Immaturity of the ligamentous apparatus. This reason becomes a factor of unpleasant symptoms in the region of the heart with intercostal neuralgia only in children, when the bones are actively developing, but the ligaments behind them do not have time.

Such processes as tumors in the spinal cord, or the constant exposure of chemicals to the body can cause a deviation. Another reason is diseases of the muscular and skeletal system, including multiple sclerosis and destruction of the myelin sheaths of nerves.

Important! Diabetes mellitus is one of the common causes of intercostal neuralgia associated with metabolic disorders and endocrine changes.

They lead to a violation of the trauma of the spine, sternum, ribs. Symptoms may also appear with constant muscular tension.

Therapies for Neuralgia

In order for the treatment of intercostal neuralgia in the heart to be correct and effective, different methods must be used. An integrated approach to drug therapy is the basis of treatment. Here’s what you need to observe and take with a pathology located on the left or right side of the sternum:

  • it is necessary to observe bed rest for 2-4 days, so as not to provoke inflammation;
  • sleep on an orthopedic pillow and hard mattress so that there are no relapses;
  • to eliminate pain, NSAIDs based on ibuprofen or diclofenac, Movalis, Meloxicam are taken, these drugs also eliminate inflammation;
  • use muscle relaxants to eliminate pinched nerves – “Sirdalud” or “Midokalm”;
  • B vitamins are needed to restore muscle activity, nerve endings and immunity.

In severe cases, injections are prescribed when the nerve is pinched in the heart. Most often they use painkillers: Movalis, Ketanol, Milgamma, Novocain, Analgin.

Advice! Warming ointments help in the treatment of neuralgia with nerve damage in the heart area or slightly lower on the left side.

Gels based on snake venom “Viprosal” and “Viratoks” work very well. In addition to drugs with poison, Voltaren, Dikloran, Ketanov, and Flexen are used to eliminate the symptoms.


If intercostal neuralgia gives in the heart, but its cause comes from disturbances in the structure and functioning of the spine, joints, then physiotherapeutic procedures are prescribed:

  • acupuncture;
  • therapeutic massage using ointments;
  • osteopathy – effects on the skeleton to improve blood circulation, lymph outflow;
  • Shiatsu – Japanese massage, which affects biological points;
  • Exercise therapy and gymnastics on simulators with a trainer.

Be sure to use an orthopedic mattress for spinal damage.

Folk remedies for therapy

To combat intercostal pathology, you can use traditional medicine. They are taken orally in the form of juices and decoctions, or compresses and ointments are made. It is necessary to discuss with the doctor the possibility of using prescriptions:

  • black radish juice, salt solution from 0,5 l of water and 2 tbsp. l., juice of potatoes and onions 1 to 1 is used in the form of compresses;

  • a decoction of chamomile is applied to the damaged area and taken orally by prescription;
  • for grinding use tincture on birch buds (0,5 l of vodka per 200 g).

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the reasons for the development of diseases of the musculoskeletal system after 25 years in 45% of people. Therefore, the main way to prevent intercostal neuralgia and symptoms such as pain on the left or in the area of ​​the heart during its development is moderate physical activity.

Advice! The patient should protect himself from hypothermia, treat hormonal and infectious diseases on time, and also prevent heavy lifting in jerks.

It is important to observe the regime of work and rest, a sufficient amount of time to sleep and eat right. Alcohol, smoking and other bad habits, including overeating, provoke the development of neuralgia. It is useful for prophylaxis to take multivitamin preparations.

Important information: how to distinguish heart pain from intercostal neuralgia

Intercostal neuralgia is often perceived by patients as heart disease. Coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, cardioneurosis and intercostal neuralgia have, at first glance, the same clinical picture.

It is very important to conduct a differential diagnosis of heart and neurological diseases in a timely manner, otherwise an incorrectly prescribed treatment will cause a lot of undesirable reactions for a relatively healthy body.

In our article we will tell you how heart pain differs from neuralgia, how to differentiate them.

The nature of the pain syndrome: where and how does it hurt?

The first thing that patients pay attention to is pain. For each person, the concept of pain is peculiar and even for the same diagnosis for different patients has a different nature of sensations.

Intercostal neuralgia is characterized by diffuse soreness in the chest. It occurs due to compression of the nerve trunks or their irritation by infectious agents (for example, postherpetic neuralgia after shingles).

When moving, coughing or sneezing, the symptoms increase. Such people are easy to spot in line with a cardiologist in a motionless body position. Palpation of the intercostal spaces on the left side of the chest helps to increase pain.

With myocardial ischemia (angina pectoris or tension), insufficient oxygen and nutrients flow through the coronary arteries to the heart muscle. But this is not a heart attack. Reducing physical activity or the timely appointment of drugs that expand the coronary vessels helps to alleviate the condition.

What is the difference between heart pain with angina and neuralgia? Pain in this disease will be characterized as sternal and last within 3-5 minutes. The patient may even indicate a specific place of soreness on the front surface of the chest.

Myocardial infarction is one of the dangerous cardiac pathologies. It has age restrictions (from 35 and older), with the same frequency occurs in both men and women. The pains are strong, intolerable, acute or stitching. A change in body position does not reduce a pain attack.

Such patients are prescribed intravenous morphine to alleviate the condition. A sharp decrease in blood pressure is characteristic of this disease (usually it is recorded within 80/40 mm Hg).

Cardioneurosis is a neurological disease in which cardiac symptoms come to the fore. How, then, to understand what hurts is the heart or is it neuralgia?

The pain syndrome is moderate, patients characterize the sensations as dull, aching or burning. Any neuralgia is manifested by symptoms incomprehensible to the patient, so it is quite difficult to determine the place of pain.

Most often, patients explain their condition as if something was aching and sore in the center of the chest. In combination with pain, arrhythmias, shortness of breath, dizziness appear.

Human anatomy is interesting and peculiar to each individual. There is such a normal anatomical concept as dextrocardia (from Latin it translates as “heart on the right”).

Given a similar anomaly in the structure, intercostal neuralgia on the left side should not cause fear in patients about heart disease.

Similarities and how are they different?

Let’s take a closer look at how to find out if the heart hurts or the pain is caused by neuralgia. By the nature of the sensations, intercostal neuralgia, cardioneurosis, coronary disease and heart attack are different. In the first case, the pain extends along the injured or damaged nerve. Cardiac neuralgia (cardioneurosis) is characterized by patients as discomfort or a feeling of heaviness in the chest.

Ischemic pains pressing or infringing, aching in nature. Such symptoms cause patients to stop and freeze in place. The early stages of the disease do not require constant treatment.

As for the sensations of myocardial infarction, these are severe pains, stitching or dagger. Patients may faint (against the background of a developing collapse), the pressure decreases, a cold, sticky sweat appears on the surface of the body, regardless of the ambient temperature.

The location of the focus of soreness with cardioneurosis, ischemia and heart attack is the same – behind the sternum. However, in case of heart apex infarction, patients indicate a point of pain in the area of ​​the fifth intercostal space along the midclavicular (paralosal) line. In intercostal neuralgia, pain is common and it is rather difficult to indicate a certain localization of pain.

How else to recognize – heart pain or neuralgia? Cardiac pathologies can radiate (give) to the left arm, scapula, neck, lower jaw and even to the upper abdomen. But neurological diseases radiate purely within the damaged nerve.

Factors provocateurs (triggers) for neuralgia include stress, prolonged emotional upheaval, excessive physical exertion, sudden changes in temperature or infection.

In coronary heart disease, the cause of vascular tragedy is generalized atherosclerosis. However, atherosclerosis only contributes to a narrowing of the lumen, with physical activity, the heart needs more oxygen than usual.

Affected vessels are not able to provide adequate blood flow, it is for this reason that cardiac muscle ischemia occurs, which is stopped by vasodilating drugs (nitroglycerin).

Myocardial infarction develops with prolonged ischemia of the heart muscles, most often due to thrombosis or embolism of the coronary arteries.

Physical rest and nitroglycerin are a combination of factors that alleviate the condition of myocardial ischemia. The pain syndrome with a heart attack can be stopped only with morphine or antipsychotics (a combination of antianginal drugs).

Intercostal neuralgia is stopped by rest, a warm heating pad on the ribs and drugs of the NSAID group. Cardioneurosis reduces its manifestation when using painkillers and vasodilators, and a complete relief of clinical symptoms is possible only after the joint work of a cardiologist, neurologist and psychotherapist.

Danger of misdiagnosis

Incorrect diagnosis leads to improper treatment. Heartache alarms every person, and patients are not always able to recognize it. Often, neuralgia is perceived as a disease of one of the central organs of the body.

But the most dangerous is the reverse error when the patient takes heart disease for intercostal neuralgia. In this case, there is a risk of untimely seeking help from a doctor and, accordingly, the late start of treatment.

Myocardial infarction requires immediate intervention with medication and interventional treatment. Otherwise, extensive damage to the heart muscle can be fatal.

Now you know how to determine if your heart hurts or you are in pain from an attack of neuralgia. Knowing diseases that mimic the pathology of the heart system, it becomes easier to assess your condition.

However, you should not get involved in self-diagnosis. Only highly specialized specialists (neurologist, cardiologist and psychotherapist) can finally separate pathologies of the nervous and cardiovascular systems.

Remember that the usual electrocardiogram at the first clinical manifestations can reveal a pathology in the work of the heart muscle. Do not neglect annual medical examinations. Your health is in your hands.

Interesting video

About how to distinguish heart pain (with a heart attack and other heart problems) from an attack of intercostal neuralgia, the video will tell:

How is intercostal neuralgia treated on the left s >If a person is disturbed by pain in the left side of the chest, it is possible that he is disturbed by intercostal neuralgia, localized on the left side. Also, pain can spread throughout the nerve. The ailment is determined in the elderly, and sometimes in office employees due to low motor activity.

See also: Symptoms and treatment of neurasthenia

How exactly does neuralgia located between the ribs on the left hurt, and how it can be cured, more on that below.

Symptoms of intercostal neuralgia on the left

The disease lurking in the chest is:

  • infringement of the nerve components located in the intercostal space,
  • infringement of the roots of the pectoral spinal nerves in the spine.

The list of symptoms of the disease looks like this:

  1. It hurts in the intercostal cavity. Pain can give off to the lumbar region, back, subscapular space.
  2. The pain is distinguished by a strong burning sensation on the left. With neuralgic pathology, pain does not depend on the patient’s body position, rarely stops and captures the sides. Because literally plagues a person.
  3. Acute pain attacks do not occur.
  4. Muscles contract spastically.
  5. The skin turns pale and red.
  6. In the course of the affected nerve, the skin loses its former sensitivity.

See also: How to effectively get rid of intercostal neuralgia

How to determine intercostal neuralgia

Cardiologists often find intercostal inflammation. It is to them that patients turn, complaining of pain in the heart. Instead of cardiovascular disease, studies show neuralgia. A person cannot independently diagnose without special knowledge. However, there is one proven method:

  1. Take a deep breath and exhale. If there is pain in the sternum, then it is not the heart.
  2. Cough, sneezing, any physical exertion lead to pain.

With pathologies of the cardiovascular system, the pain does not disappear when the patient’s body position is changed, the same the most applies to respiratory movements. A sick heart causes associated characteristic symptoms of a malfunction in the system:

  • the pulse becomes arrhythmic
  • the patient is tormented by a sharp increase and decrease in heart rate.

A simple option to drown out heart pain and alleviate the pathological condition before the ambulance arrives is to drink Nitroglycerin. If taking this harmless medicine, the pain has not decreased, we can assume left-sided neuralgia. Be sure to go through an electrocardiogram. She will show the exact result and cause of pain in the sternum.

See also: How and with what treatment of neuritis of the femoral nerve

How to treat intercostal neuralgia on the left

The treatment methods for left-sided intercostal neuralgia may be different. Which is suitable in a particular clinical case is a task that needs to be addressed by the attending doctor. Of course, at the first stage, it is necessary to relieve pain and acute condition. Only after this they conduct a therapeutic course, which helps to get rid of the inflammatory process.

Sometimes you have to immediately treat a pinched nerve in the cervical spine. The spine is a single system. If one department sags, then the other does not stand aside. What can be done at home?

  1. Take sick leave at work, refuse to exercise, try to comply with bed rest. Otherwise, the pain will become more intense.
  2. Rest and sleep on a hard surface. The ideal option is to place a shield under the mattress.

What drugs are considered effective in the fight against left-sided intercostal neuralgia?

  1. Anesthetic categories of NSAIDs, with anti-inflammatory effect.
  2. Muscle relaxants that relieve muscle cramps.
  3. Sedative drugs with a mild effect, to maintain the nervous system. Persen, Novo-Passit will do.
  4. Vitamins B1, B6, B12, able to restore weakened nerve endings.
  5. Avoid hypothermia. Avoid drafts.

Is it possible to do massage

When the acute period has passed, doctors recommend a massage of the paravertebral muscles. What does he give?

  1. Normalizes metabolism.
  2. Relieves swelling.
  3. It removes pain.
  4. The muscle returns to its former tone.

Massage begins with the front of the chest, and then go to the back. They also work on the healthy right side of the chest. Skillful massage allows you to cope with concomitant diseases of internal organs. For example, if the intestinal motility is poor, the patient suffers from constipation.

Massage has several stages:

  1. Stroking movements along parallel axes running from the sacrum to the shoulder girdle.
  2. Pushups.
  3. Kneading of the large muscles of the back and front surface of the sternum.

During the massage, the specialist asks what the patient feels. If the pain increases, it is better to leave this area alone or reduce pressure.

Effective folk recipes

Effective folk remedies for back pain, dorsalgia, and if the chest hurt on the left due to intercostal neuralgia:

  1. Steam flaxseed and put in a linen bag. Apply to a sore spot for 5 minutes. Perform manipulation during the day several times.
  2. Lubricate the painful area with fresh horseradish or radish juice.
  3. Steam the chopped fresh wormwood and add sea buckthorn oil. Attach to the left side of the chest as a bandage.
  4. Pour 4 tablespoons of sage with 200 ml of boiling water, leave for 1 hour to brew. Strain and pour the broth into the collected water bath. Add sea salt and sit in the bath.
Morozov Georgiy

Georgy Morozov, rheumatologist. For more than 20 years, he has been involved in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of joint diseases.