If you are one of the people who suffer from chest pain caused by intercostal muscle spasm and these pains bother you and you want to get information about this intercostal muscle pain and spasm, we recommend reading the following article.
It is very common for people to have chest pain after a day of strenuous physical activity, a very busy work day in which they have had a lot of physical activity, or after a workout and after new and strenuous exercise, or lifting Heavy objects, these chest pains usually have a lot in common and doctors associate it with intercostal muscle spasm.
It is good to know that your chest pain will not always be caused by heart disease or heart attacks. There are many different causes that can cause chest pain.
One of these causes is musculoskeletal causes, ie spasms and cramps of the intercostal muscles that can mimic the chest pain picture. These pains are reported to the doctor in terms of the quality of severity as well as the place where these pains are concentrated and are different from the pains caused by heart attacks and heart diseases. We will know more about this problem in the following.
Causes of Chest Pain that Depends on Muscles and Bones or Causes of musculoskeletal Pain
The first cause is inflammation of the cartilage of the chest
Compared to costochondritis, if the cause of the chest pain was a heart attack, the sufferer could not pinpoint the location of the pain.
In fact, the cartilage that connects the rib and bone of the sternum becomes inflamed and painful. A person may feel pain in one or more of these connective cartilages. Usually, the swollen area will be slightly tender to the touch and painful and red.
This complication is called costochondritis, and its distinguishing feature from chest pain is that the person can pinpoint the exact location of the pain with his finger.
The next cause is problems between the muscles and muscles between the ribs and the muscles participating in the chest
One of the causes that can cause chest pain is problems and disorders in the muscles between the ribs or the muscles in the chest, but in these cases, for example, following the lifting of a heavy object or repeated raising of the arms above shoulder level, people usually have strains in the delicate muscles between the ribs. These delicate stretches can cause transient local inflammation in the chest. The muscles in this area may also have spasms and cramps due to secondary injuries and inflammation. These spasms and cramps can also cause chest pain that the patient can show almost clearly to the doctor.
Other problems that the intercostal muscles face include a chronic pain syndrome called Fibromyalgia. These people have resistant chest pain, these people develop refractory chest pain that is very annoying.
Other causes that can cause chest pain under the heading of musculoskeletal injuries, we should mention injury itself. Cracks, fractures, and injuries to the ribs can cause spasms in the muscles that support the ribs and cause chest pain. In other words, when the rib is fractured and hit, an inflammation occurs at the site, and the body reacts by spasming the muscles in the affected area or the ribs that are broken to maintain and take care of the affected area, this condition can cause a lot of pain in the affected person.
Stretching and spasm of intercostal muscles
Doctors define spasm of intercostal muscles as an injury that involves the muscles between at least two ribs. The intercostal muscles have many layers that attach to our ribs, and thus, when they come together they form the chest wall, which plays a very important role in our breathing process. When a muscle between the ribs spasms and cramps, it may rupture and actually cause you to feel the above condition as chest pain.
What causes intercostal muscle spasm?
The most common causes are:
- A direct blow to the chest, such as falling from a height or a car accident
- A pressing blow that is usually followed by a solitary blow during sports, for example in hockey and football.
- Lifting heavy objects
- Doing yoga in certain positions or dancing in certain positions where the hands are above the shoulders and head
- Holding the hands above the shoulders and head for a long time
- Lifting a heavy object up to the shoulders
- Performing repetitive, high-pressure movements such as hitting a tennis ball. In general, tennis players and golfers are more prone to intercostal muscle spasms.
It is also said that a sudden increase in the intensity and duration of exercise and physical activity can lead to muscle strain between the ribs causing local injury and inflammation, and therefore reactive muscle spasm. This condition occurs especially when the person’s muscles are in the wrong position or the muscles are weak.
Generally, when a person sees a doctor with chest pain, if the doctor suspects a spasm of the intercostal muscles in his history and the signs and symptoms that the patient describes, he will try to clarify his diagnosis with more precise questions. also, a physical examination is usually needed. Usually, your doctor may need to look for movement restrictions caused by a sore spot, as well as tender spots in the patient’s body, and examine them. Your doctor may ask you about the latest exercise, trauma, injuries, falls, and accidents you have recently had. He or she may also use paraclinical techniques, such as simple chest X-rays or MRI scans, to further evaluate injuries.
Home remedies include:
- Rest: Stop sports activities that start or intensify pain and rest.
Stop the activity for a few days until enough time is given to the injured muscle to recover.
- Use a cold compress: Using a cold compress will reduce inflammation in that area and cause less swelling. After the first two days, you can also use a warm compress.
- Use the anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs that are provided by OTC. These drugs are ibuprofen, naproxen, and indomethacin. Note that acetaminophen has no anti-inflammatory activity and is only analgesic.
- splinting area
Note that due to the pain that occurs when breathing, the person may not be able to breathe deeply and completely and properly, so it is better to consult a doctor in these cases.
Following these home remedies, your doctor may recommend that you do the following: Your doctor may use muscle relaxants in cases of severe muscle spasm, and your doctor may recommend that as soon as the acute phase stops, start doing more active movements, also your doctor may prescribe specialized physiotherapists for you, and he may also use topical lidocaine anesthetics or corticosteroids to reduce swelling and pain in the painful area. Of course, the injection method is usually performed due to the non-response of the patient to other treatments.
It is important to note that a person with intercostal muscle strain should not perform stretching exercises on the intercostal muscles without the approval and supervision of a physiotherapist. Therefore, stretching movements of these muscles should only be done under the supervision of a physiotherapist. Avoid doing exercise arbitrarily in these situations. Also, these exercises should be stopped as soon as they cause pain and aggravate the pain.
If the spasm of the muscles between the ribs causes mild pain or a slight strain of the muscles between the ribs occurs, it usually disappears within a few days, we should say that moderate stretches and spasms may last for three to seven days and take time to heal. also, Spasms and strains of the intercostal muscles also take longer to heal if they are severe and are accompanied by a complete cleft in the muscle, and it is said that most sports injuries that lead to intercostal muscle problems usually heal within six weeks.
If you want to prevent muscle spasms following your sports activities, it is better to prepare your body before doing heavy exercises or strenuous exercises, so it is better not to forget your stretching exercises during the pre-workout warm-up. Try to keep your muscles strong because a strong muscle will definitely not suffer from stretching and subsequent injuries.