+Donna Martin
Dec 252012

What pain and symptoms are associated with the intercostal muscles?

Rib pain caused by the intercostal muscles

Rib pain, side cramps also called stitches and difficulty breathing can be signs of intercostal muscle dysfunction.

  • Pain in between or under the ribs
  • Can cause a ‘stitch’  or sharp  pain in the side
  • Pain in the rib area when lying on side

Where are the intercostal muscles?

The intercostal muscles are the muscles between the ribs.

What movements do the intercostal muscles control?

  • Assist with breathing
  • Assist with upright posture

Activities that cause intercostal pain and symptoms:

  • Labored breathing (asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, pneumonia)
  • Gasping for air during sports activities
  • Hyperventilation
  • Chest surgery
  • Slumped posture
  • Excessive twisting of the body
  • Chronic coughing

Interesting facts about the intercostal muscles:

Pain around the bottom of the ribs is often diagnosed as inflammation of the ribs, separated ribs, ulcers or gallbladder trouble. This symptom can be trigger points in the diaphragm and intercostal muscles

Clinical diagnoses to which this muscle symptoms may contribute:

Intercostal muscles are the muscles between the ribs.

The intercostal muscles help you stand up straight and assist with breathing.

Rib Subluxation/dislocation, Rib separation, Costochondritis, Bruised ribs, Rib fracture, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the intercostals:

Help with Intercostal Muscle and Rib Pain and Symptoms

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Warm Therapy Gel for Rib Pain and Breathing Difficulty

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. Unlike other over the counter heating creams, it provides warmth without burning heat.  If your rib pain is caused from breathing difficulty, bronchitis, pneumonia, or COPD, rub Sombra into the rib cage area, chest and upper back to help bring relieve. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and chronically sore tight muscles.

Cold Therapy Gel For Rhomboid Muscle Injury and Pain

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel that I use on clients with recent injuries and muscles and joints that are swollen. Cold therapy gel works  like ice  and does not promote swelling. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If  your pain is from a recently strained intercostal muscles, or  bruised, cracked or broken ribs and or sternum, I highly recommend  Biofreeze. It will dull the sharp pain and ease the aching to help make you more comfortable.

Rib Support Brace For Women

The ITA-MED Breathable Elastic Rib Support is a good rib brace for women. It is cut to fit your shape and it comes up high enough to give you plenty of support. The brace is made from elastic which provides support and compression without the pinching and binding of other rib supports. The Velcro closure allows for easy on and off as well as easy adjustment. If you are suffering with a rib or rib muscle or cartilage injury this brace will help you decrease your pain and breath easier. The size chart is available on the left hand size of the page. Be sure to measure to get the correct size!

Rib Support Brace For Men

The ITA-MED Breathable Elastic Rib Support For Men is an elastic wide band that provides compression and support for the rib cage.  The elastic material will not pinch and bind like some other rib braces. It has a Velcro closure for easy on / off  and easy adjustment. If you are suffering with a rib cage injury this band will help decrease your pain and allow for easier breathing. Be sure to look for the size chart on the left hand side of the page and measure to ensure that you get the correct size.

Help To Relieve Intercostal Muscle Pain:

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.

Pain in and around the rib cage is not uncommon. Pain that is not caused by a recent rib injury is often traced to trigger points in the muscles. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief can help you find the trigger points in the muscle, treat the area and relieve your pain. Trigger point therapy is also very useful after the acute phase of an injury to help restore muscle balance. It takes a little time and practice to self treat, but this book is an invaluable source to learn about and treat many types of muscle pain.

Anatomy Study: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation of the Intercostal Muscles

Origin: From the first to the eleventh ribs, on the inner surface and inferior border, from the tubercles of the rib posteriorly to the costocartilage anteriorly.
Insertion: The rib immediately below the level of proximal attachment, on its superior surface.
Action: Draw adjacent ribs together, elevate and depress the ribs in inspiration
Innervation: Intercostal nerves

Satellite Trigger Points: Serratus Anterior

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