About Intercostal Neuralgia
Intercostal neuralgia refers to irritation or inflammation of the tiny nerves that run along each rib of the thoracic spine. Inflammation of these nerves can result in sharp shooting pain that is worse with twisting, bending, and deep breaths. The intercostal nerves are small branches of the thoracic nerve roots. These nerves run between the ribs and can be damaged in various ways. The most common cause is cardiothoracic surgery, during which a nerve can be inadvertently damaged.
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Symptoms of Intercostal Neuralgia
Intercostal neuralgia presents as an intense, sharp, shooting pain that is felt in the chest. The pain generally radiates from the side of the body inward toward the abdomen. The skin overlying this area can be very painful to the touch and there can be increased sensitivity to light touch and temperature.
Treatments for Intercostal Neuralgia
Treatments for intercostal neuralgia include treating the nerves with local anesthetic (numbing medication) with or without steroids to help decrease inflammation and improve the pain. These procedures are always performed with imaging guidance, usually a combination of live x-ray and ultrasound guidance to ensure safe placement of the medication. If the pain improves, but does not last with an injection, our providers may be able to perform radiofrequency ablation of these nerves for more long term relief. Another more novel approach that does not utilize steroids or radiofrequency ablation is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and/or platelet lysate (PL). Our providers are able to utilize our Regenexx lab platform to create concentrated PL that when injected around these irritated nerves can act as a very strong anti-inflammatory and promote nerve healing.
If you are interested to learn more about Regenexx and whether you qualify for treatment, please reach out to Ospina Medical, located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City to speak with one of our Regenexx providers today.