Intercostal Neuralgia

At the lower edge of each rib, a nerve runs from the spine forward to the sternum region. An acute pain along one of these nerves, i.e. radiating from the back forward into the chest, is called intercostal neuralgia (literally: painful nerve between the ribs). The pain is dependent on breathing and movement and is usually reduced when lying down. Similar to the related lumbago, the disease is often caused by an acute blockage; it affects either a rib vertebra joint or an intervertebral joint of the thoracic spine. Because intercostal neuralgia typically causes pain similar to heart attack, the cause of pain must be carefully assessed to ensure that no serious disease is overlooked.

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