Symptoms of intercostal neuralgia left treatment

Intercostal neuralgia (thoracic sciatica) is a pathological process that is characterized by pinching of the intercostal nerve, the appearance of acute pain syndrome. The main danger of the disease – it can mimic the symptoms of other diseases, including life-threatening ones, for example, myocardial infarction. Therefore, it is important if you experience discomfort immediately visit a doctor to find out the cause of discomfort.

The material is devoted to intercostal neuralgia on the left. The symptoms of thoracic radiculitis are different from different sides, it is important to be able to distinguish the signs of intercostal neuralgia from the clinical picture of other diseases. If a pathological process is detected, begin adequate and timely therapy, taking into account the recommendations of the doctor.

Causes of development and etiology of the disease

Intercostal neuralgia (ICD code 10 – M79.2) is not an independent disease, in fact, the pathological process is a complication of another disease. In the human body there are twelve pairs of ribs, all the nerves passing in this place are the anatomical extension of the pectoralis, which leave the spinal cord. Nerve endings pass in the thickness of each intercostal space on both sides.

Depending on which elements of the nerve fibers are damaged, the patient experiences different symptoms. An important role is played by the localization of the pathological process. To find out the exact cause of the appearance of intercostal neuralgia on the left, to assess the degree of damage to the nerve endings the doctor will help, after conducting a series of tests.

Thoracic sciatica develops against the background of the following negative factors:

  • the course of osteochondrosis, the presence of complications that provoke pinched nerve endings;
  • advanced kyphosis, ankylosing spondylitis, spondylosis;
  • tumor processes in the spine;
  • severe poisoning of various etiologies;
  • hormonal disorders during menopause in the fair sex or the presence of endocrine diseases;
  • diseases with an allergic etiology;
  • ailments associated with damage to the nervous system (multiple sclerosis, polyradiculoneuritis);
  • against the background of the body’s response to irritation in the nerve columns in diseases of the internal organs;
  • after transferring shingles in the chest area;
  • heavy physical exertion, improper weight lifting, traumatic injuries of the spine in the chest area or ribs.

Learn about the characteristic symptoms and effective treatments for chondrosis of the thoracic spine.

Read about vertebral cervicalgia of the cervical spine and how to treat the disease at this address.

Causes of intercostal neuralgia on the left can be triggered by negative factors:

  • hypothermia;
  • protracted stress; mental disorders;
  • alcohol abuse (ethyl alcohol dramatically negatively affects the nervous system);
  • infection attachment;
  • deficiency in the body of B vitamins (often observed with problems with the gastrointestinal tract);
  • wearing uncomfortable underwear (applies to women).

In most cases, the pathological process on the left side is formed against the background of a combination of several negative factors. Only the elimination of the root cause of discomfort will help get rid of discomfort. Exposure only to the symptoms will give a quick but short-term positive effect.

Refuse self-medication, because the symptoms of left-sided thoracalgia are similar to the mass of other ailments, it is impossible to make a correct diagnosis at home.

clinical picture

In the human body there are twelve pairs of ribs, pinching of the nerve roots leads to the appearance of symptoms on the side where the pathological process is observed. Left-sided neuralgia is manifested by unilateral signs in the spaces between the ribs. Pain sensations are of varying severity, can spread to the heart muscle, left hypochondrium, side, chest.

The following signs of intercostal neuralgia will help distinguish thoracalgia on the left side from other diseases:

  • discomfort intensifies when trying to take a deep breath, during coughing, sneezing;
  • acute pain occurs during physical exertion;
  • pain can affect the spine;
  • discomfort has a girdle character, so pains are felt not only in the area of ​​localization of the pinched nerve, but also in front, behind the chest;
  • the pain itself is piercing, burning in nature, can accompany the patient for several hours or two days;
  • when changing position, discomfort intensifies, only after finding the correct forced position, does the discomfort subside;
  • when taking Validol, other drugs for the treatment of the cardiovascular system, unpleasant symptoms do not subside. Pain is relieved by the use of analgesics;
  • in the affected area, the sensitivity of the skin is lost, an increase in sweating, numbness of certain areas of the left hand, even fingers are noted (it all depends on which particular nerve is affected);
  • with intercostal neuralgia, the pains are long-lasting, cardiovascular pathologies are characterized by a short-term pain attack.


Doctor’s consultation is the most important and first stage in cases of suspected chest radiculitis. At a specialist appointment, the doctor examines the area of ​​localization of pain, assesses muscle tone, sensitivity changes, the degree of damage to nerve endings.

The following methods are used as diagnostic tests for left-side thoracalgia:

  • radiography. It allows to find out the condition of bone tissue, the presence of traumatic injuries, the presence and size of osteophytes, bone displacement, other pathological changes that can cause the development of thoracalgia;
  • CT, MRI. Gives an assessment of the condition of nearby tissues that are located next to damaged nerves. The techniques make it possible to determine the degree of damage not only to bone, but also to soft structures, which is important when choosing a treatment technique;
  • myelography. Diagnostic manipulations are carried out under the control of an x-ray using a contrast medium with the introduction into the spinal canal. This study is used infrequently due to the large number of possible complications.

Based on the data obtained, the doctor makes a diagnosis, selects the appropriate treatment, taking into account the degree of damage to the nerve endings.

Effective treatments

How to treat intercostal neuralgia on the left? Therapy is aimed at stopping unpleasant symptoms, eliminating the root cause of discomfort.

At the beginning of treatment, the following recommendations are indicated:

  • when pain occurs, observe bed rest for several days;
  • sleep on a hard mattress and a special orthopedic pillow;
  • NSAIDs (Movalis, Ibuprofen, Meloxicam, Diclofenac) are recommended as analgesics. Medicines cope not only with discomfort, but also affect the inflammatory process;
  • muscle relaxants (Baclofen, Sirdalud, Midokalm) will help eliminate muscle spasm, which is a common cause of pinching of nerve endings;
  • Foods rich in vitamins of group B must be included in the diet. It is important to take multivitamin preparations (Neuromultivit, Milgamma), which positively affect the nervous system of the victim, strengthen immunity.

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If the cause of thoracic radiculitis is a disease of the spine, the patient is prescribed physiotherapy:

  • acupuncture. Special needles are introduced into biologically active points. The relief of pain, muscle relaxation is already observed in the first session, to obtain the best therapeutic effect, an acupuncture course of ten sessions is required;
  • massotherapy. Warming ointments for back pain are used. Manipulations cope with unpleasant sensations, contribute to muscle relaxation, trigger metabolic processes;
  • osteopathy. It improves blood circulation, lymph drainage, establishes a balance between various systems and organs in the human body;
  • Shiatsu. A special technique of Japanese massage, in which the specialist presses on the biologically active points associated with the damaged area. Thus, discomfort is reduced, the body’s defenses are stimulated;
  • special gymnastics performed on simulators under the guidance of a trainer. At home, exercise therapy with left-side thoracalgia is prohibited. Improper exercise can lead to an acute pain attack, worsening the situation.

After stopping the discomfort, take care of the spine, chest area from overstrain. Do not lift weights, choose a comfortable pillow and orthopedic mattress. If you abandon health care after stopping discomfort, this will lead to relapse, poor health, and the appearance of complications.

Preventive recommendations

Today, about 45% of people after 25 years of age suffer from various diseases related to bone tissue. The blame for the sedentary lifestyle, the lack of regular physical training, an unbalanced diet. Therefore, the question of the prevention of left-side intercostal neuralgia is relevant.

  • avoid hypothermia, viral infections;
  • refuse to lift weights or perform manipulations correctly, evenly distributing the weight;
  • consult a doctor in time, treat other diseases;
  • minimize the use of alcoholic beverages, stop smoking;
  • strengthen the immune system, take multivitamin preparations regularly.

About what intercostal neuralgia is and how to treat an ailment will tell Elena Malysheva in the following video:

Symptoms and treatment of intercostal neuralgia. The reasons for its provoking, alternative methods of therapy

Intercostal neuralgia or thoracalgia implies a pathological process that occurs as a result of compression, inflammation or irritation of the intercostal nerves. The disease causes very strong and painful pain phenomena, which are often disguised as the symptoms of diseases affecting the organs of the chest and abdominal cavity and spine.

The very word neuralgia in literal translation means nerve pain. With neuralgia, the pain syndrome spreads along the nerve, making the natural movement of the chest “inspiration-expiration” extremely painful. Intercostal neuralgia is a symptom with specific causes. The symptomatology of neuralgia is vivid, but the similar severity of the clinic often makes you think about serious pathologies of the heart, stomach and spine, forcing the doctor to follow the false diagnostic path. About intercostal neuralgia, symptoms and treatment of this syndrome, our article.

Causes of intercostal neuralgia

The causes of neuralgia are of completely different origin. A rare but still possible cause of intercostal neuralgia is a pathological change in the intercostal nerves due to damage to their membranes (nerve demyelination).

Microtrauma, trauma and intoxication of the body can provoke this pain symptom, both external (bacterial toxins, heavy metals, some medications) and internal (due to diseases of internal organs).

  • Infectious diseases and pathologies of the spine

Pathologies of the spine and muscle-ligamentous apparatus are the main cause of neuralgia – osteochondrosis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, displacement of the vertebrae, additional ribs, herniated discs, deforming spondylosis. Muscle spasm and inflammation of the intercostal muscles cause compression of the intercostal nerves and also provoke a neuralgic symptom complex. A number of diseases and infections can ultimately lead to neuralgia – polyradiculoneuritis, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, SARS, herpes zoster, pleurisy, aortic aneurysm. Compression of nerves by tumorous formations and sclerotic tissues leads to the development of neuralgia.

  • Other factors

A significant role in the development of neuralgia is played by common factors such as alcohol abuse, decreased immunity, chronic fatigue, as well as pathologies of the endocrine system (diabetes mellitus, thyrotoxicosis), the digestive tract due to vitamin B deficiency (peptic ulcer, gastritis, hepatitis, colitis), diseases heart and circulatory system (atherosclerosis of cerebral vessels, arterial hypertension, rheumatism, anemia).

Women during menopause, when osteoporosis occurs due to hormonal changes, as well as older people who have age-related changes in tissues and organs, are at a certain risk of developing intercostal neuralgia (see osteoporosis: causes and symptoms).

Summing up, it should be noted that intercostal neuralgia extremely rarely develops under the influence of a single factor. As a rule, several causes acting simultaneously or sequentially act as a provocateur of intercostal neuralgia.

Symptoms of intercostal neuralgia

A patient diagnosed with intercostal neuralgia, the symptoms of this disease literally poison life, because they are extremely painful from the first manifestation. There is a pain syndrome of pronounced intensity, spreading along the intercostal spaces, i.e. spreading along the nerve. The intensity of pain increases on inspiration, with movements and turns of the body, coughing and loud conversation. Piercing pain does not stop at rest and bothers the patient, intensifying without any apparent reason. The duration of a pain attack varies from several hours to several days.

Distinctive features of intercostal neuralgia, characteristic of the classical course of the disease:

  • pain syndrome can be from slight stitching to high intensity, with a burning sensation, severe pain, comparable to renal colic;
  • palpation of the intercostal space with the affected nerve causes a sharp increase in pain;
  • a person clearly feels the movement of pain along the intercostal nerve and can show the spread of the pain wave;
  • skin over the affected area may completely or partially lose sensitivity.

Secondary symptoms of neuralgia of this localization:

  • increased sweating
  • hyperemia or pallor of the skin
  • contraction of individual muscle segments

With the above symptoms of neuralgia, diagnosis is not a problem, but the disease can be masked by other diagnoses due to its diverse pain symptoms. The nature of the pain can be aching and even dull, with periodic intensification or constantly present pain discomfort.

In addition to the typical localization in the intercostal spaces, pain can be given to the lower back, scapula, heart and stomach. The reason is simple – the intercostal nerves have small branches that extend to the above organs and parts of the body.

Despite this disguise, neuralgic pain is still easy to distinguish from pain associated with a particular pathology: if the pain in the heart is localized, it will not be relieved by nitroglycerin, but it will decrease under the influence of sedative and sedative medications (corvalol, validol, valocordin); when projecting pain at the location of the stomach, antispasmodics will not help.

How is heart pain different from pain with neuralgia? Pain during intercostal neuralgia is constant, aggravated by turning the body, tilting, taking a deep breath, sneezing, coughing, palpating the ribs and spaces between them. In coronary heart disease (angina pectoris), the pain is clearly associated with exercise (occurs during physical exertion and disappears after it is stopped) and is not pricking, but compressive (less pressing). The pain arises sharply and passes quickly, especially when taking nitroglycerin, heart pain does not intensify with a change in position or deep breath, most often heart pain is accompanied by a change in blood pressure (decrease or increase) and a violation of the rhythm of the pulse.

Intercostal Neuralgia Treatment

The necessary amount of therapeutic measures is prescribed after examining the patient and confirming the diagnosis. You can not do self-diagnosis, since pain can mask renal colic, heart disease. You should promptly consult a doctor who can prescribe a lung x-ray, ECG, ultrasound of the abdominal organs.

If the cause of the disease was an infringement of the roots of the spinal nerves, then only treatment of the pathology that led to the infringement of osteochondrosis, herniated discs, etc. can be controlled with neuralgia. Specific drug therapy is prescribed – nonsteroidal and steroidal pain medications (including in the form of epidural injections), muscle relaxants, therapeutic massage and gymnastics, manual therapy. In severe cases, spinal column traction or surgical correction of identified pathologies is prescribed.

With the viral etiology of neuralgia (herpes zoster, acute respiratory viral infections), specific antiviral treatment is prescribed with the use of immunostimulating therapy, sedatives.

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

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General therapeutic activities

With severe pain manifestations, the patient is assigned a strict bed rest with a stay on a hard surface and maximum immobilization – the exclusion of sudden movements that provoke pain.

For pain relief, painkillers (analgin, spazgan and others) are prescribed, as well as novocaine and lidocaine blockades, which allow anesthetizing the inflamed area at the local level.

Drug treatment of intercostal neuralgia consists of taking anti-inflammatory drugs in tablets (voltaren, celebrex, indomethacin), they are used to relieve inflammation in the affected area (see all NSAIDs in tablets and injections for back pain). Muscle relaxants (sirdalud, tizanidine, baclofen) are prescribed to relieve muscle spasm and B vitamins, without which normal functioning of the nervous tissue is impossible.

To reduce the pain syndrome, physiotherapeutic methods are also used:

  • UHF
  • ionophoresis with novocaine
  • reflexology with effects on special areas of the skin responsible for the sensitivity of the intercostal nerves
  • acupuncture
  • vacuum therapy
  • pharmacopuncture with the introduction of drugs into acupuncture points
  • magnetotherapy and laser treatment

Local treatment plays an important role in the range of therapeutic measures – creams and ointments with anesthetizing, warming and anti-inflammatory effects, which have a relaxing and warming effect and indirectly reduce the pain threshold of sensitivity (see ointments for back pain). The local preparations containing poisons of some insects have proven themselves well in this regard, and pepper patch helps to relax the muscles and reduce pain.

Treatment of intercostal neuralgia with alternative methods

  • Effectively rubbing with tincture of valerian, or with infusion of birch buds – their effect is in no way inferior to ointments of industrial production. However, it is better not to apply alcohol compresses at night – prolonged exposure to alcohol can lead to burns.
  • Warming up also helps, but the thermal effect in intercostal neuralgia should not be direct, that is, not to apply a heating pad, hot potato or egg, but to wrap yourself in a down scarf knitted with a woolen thing. If the painful place is heated very much, the pain will go away for a short time and then such an effect will only increase soft tissue edema and bring even greater pain.
  • Internally, it is recommended to take a decoction:
    • chamomile
    • peppermint
    • infusion of a medicinal mixture of lemon balm leaves, honey, skins of orange and tincture of valerian
    • immortelle flower infusion
    • decoction of barberry.
  • For topical application to the affected areas, black radish juice or horseradish juice is used. Compresses based on steamed flax seeds help a lot.
  • Indoor geranium helps to quickly reduce pain, with a leaf of which they rub the pain area and wrap the affected area with a woolen scarf.
  • Sage baths with sea salt help relieve stress and reduce pain.
  • To prevent the chronicity of neuralgia, it is important to exclude the effects of harmful concomitant factors, such as emotional stress, heavy physical exertion, alcohol abuse, as well as treat existing diseases of the nervous system, systems and organs, etc.

An early call to specialists helps to quickly and effectively treat intercostal neuralgia, the symptoms of which should be distinguished from other diseases and exclude the possibility of the pathology moving to the chronic stage.

How to treat intercostal neuralgia on the left?

In another way, this disease is called “thoracic radiculitis.” Its manifestation is often disguised as a disease of internal organs, although in fact the cause is pinching or compression of the nerve root in various forms of osteochondrosis.

Treatment of intercostal neuralgia on the left is carried out after a differential diagnosis, in which all possible diseases with similar symptoms are eliminated. Since we are talking about neuralgia on the left side – this is the vast majority of cases of heart disease: heart attack, angina pectoris and others.

Characteristics of the disease

The disease is characterized by acute pain in the area of ​​nerves passing between the ribs. Treatment of intercostal neuralgia on the left will be successful if correctly diagnosed. It is challenging because this disease has common symptoms with most heart diseases. Before treating intercostal neuralgia on the left, you need to discard all diseases of the internal organs located on the left side of the chest. These, in addition to the heart, may include the stomach, spleen, and lungs.

Intercostal left-side neuralgia can have symptoms of diseases of these organs, therefore, its diagnosis and treatment should be carried out by qualified doctors who can not only accurately differentiate this disease, but also prescribe the correct course of treatment, including physiotherapy sessions, vitaminization and the use of medications.

The causes of this disease may be:

  • lesions of the nervous system;
  • consequences of various injuries;
  • tumors in the bones of the ribs or spine (see Metastases in the spine);
  • infection;
  • consequences of taking medications.

All about intercostal neuralgia in women: signs, main goals of treatment.

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Left-sided intercostal neuralgia is generally difficult to diagnose. The process of identifying it is long enough, because you have to unambiguously reject all diseases that masquerade as it, which can take some time.

Symptomatology of the disease

How does intercostal neuralgia on the left side hurt? Pain, as a rule, manifests itself very sharply and can have a aching or burning character. But this is not one of the possible signs of the disease.

Signs of intercostal neuralgia on the left also include numbness of muscle and skin tissue along the path of the nerve from the spinal column to the area between the ribs.

Nerve compression can be either at the point of exit from the spine, or at any point where the process passes near the muscle between the ribs.

How can I determine the intercostal neuralgia on the left:

  • pain sensations will be especially bright in the areas of muscles between the ribs, especially closer to the bones of the spine on the left side;
  • pain manifestations can have great strength not in the region of the spine, but closer to the outer left side of the ribs, and since one or two nerves are involved, from time to time the localization of pain will be difficult.

There is a clear correlation between physical activity in intercostal neuralgia and the symptoms of the disease: any movement of the chest leads to exacerbation of pain on the left under the ribs. It calms down a little a few minutes after the movement is completed.

Additionally, with intercostal neuralgia, the following symptoms can be observed on the left side of the heart: a tingling sensation or burning sensation, short-term twitching of the rib muscles, aching bone pain.

Sometimes intercostal neuralgia is accompanied by pain symptoms on the left under the scapula; this is observed in the case of extensive damage to the intercostal nerves, coming from 3 and 4 vertebrae of the thoracic region.

Common signs of how intercostal neuralgia appears on the left can also be: cramps, sweating, sleep disturbance.

Diagnosis of the disease

The beginning of this process occurs at the general practitioner. He gives the appointment of the necessary tests and directs the patient to specialists of a narrower profile. Diagnosis of intercostal neuralgia on the left under the ribs consists of a large number of directions, identifying various chronic diseases, analyzing the patient’s injuries and the surgical interventions he has undergone.

In any case, the following actions are performed:

  • manual examination, which aims to determine the causes of the disease;
  • localization of pain and muscle tone is determined;
  • a comprehensive neurological examination is performed, violation of the sensitivity of the upper extremities is assessed.

The main tools for diagnosing this disease are:

  1. Ultrasound is used as an auxiliary method, since the high density of bone tissue does not allow a good monitoring of the nature of damage to the nervous tissue.
  2. The use of x-rays allows you to explore the structure of bones and more accurately localize the pinched nerves. It is used quite widely and, most likely, will be assigned without fail.
  3. Computed tomography allows a comprehensive analysis of nerve and bone tissue, however, due to the nature of functioning, it is more often (like x-rays) used to analyze bone tissue pathologies. In the case of applying contrast, it gives good results in the study of processes in the nervous tissue, that is, its use in conjunction with myelography is desirable.
  4. MRI allows the most complete analysis of pathologies of all tissues and is currently the most accurate diagnostic procedure used for cases of this kind.

Neuralgia treatment

Intercostal neuralgia is not a particular threat to the patient, despite the fact that its symptoms consisting of acute pain and other sensations on the left under the ribs are very unpleasant (see Treatment of pain with intercostal neuralgia). Treatment in the active phase is mainly symptomatic. This does not mean at all that it will not include getting rid of the causes of the disease.

The treatment of this kind of disease is a long and painstaking process that requires a serious approach and mandatory completion, as often repeated pain attacks do not allow the patient to live normally.

The initial stage of treatment includes:

  • physiotherapy;
  • acupuncture;
  • a course of vitamins B6 and B12, restoring nerve fibers.

In acute forms of the disease or complications, apply:

  • analgesic blockade;
  • electrophoresis procedures;
  • the introduction of sedatives;
  • bed rest.

Treatment includes manual therapy and massage. Wearing a corset and exercise therapy is recommended. The treatment plan for each is individual and requires the coordinated actions of all doctors: from the therapist to the neurologist.

With acute pain in the case of this disease, the treatment of medications comes to the fore. There are a lot of them and it is impossible to give any recommendations in the general case, we name only the main groups:

  • pain relievers;
  • anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • sedatives;
  • local anesthetics.

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Left-sided intercostal neuralgia is a non-dangerous, but very unpleasant disease. Her diagnosis and treatment lasts a long time and requires a lot of effort. Ignoring symptoms with simple anesthesia will not lead to a positive result. Complex therapy and constant monitoring are required.

Intercostal neuralgia: symptoms on the left s >

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.

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.

Morozov Georgiy

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