Many people across the world suffer from some type of chronic pain. Sadly, a lot of them have a severe condition called intercostal neuralgia. This type of pain is often described as “stabbing pain,” spasms, or tearing.
Intercostal neuralgia can be caused by many different factors. Some of them involve rib infection, various injuries, infections, surgical procedures, and so on. One thing is for sure, the pain can be excruciating, and many people would give everything to reduce it.
Luckily, there are ways you can help reduce the pain on your own apart from medical procedures. By combining these two, you will feel a lot better. Here’s what you can do.
Change Your Life Habits
Each condition affects your lifestyle and the other way around. With proper habits, you can reduce the nerve pain you are going through daily.
Reduce or Quit Using Alcohol
Alcohol has adverse effects on your health in general. At the same time, it can increase your pain as well. Some people like to drink alcohol to reduce pain instantly.
Although this might work to some extent, over time, alcohol damages, the nerves making the pain even more intense. If you can, quit alcohol altogether or reduce it to around four drinks each week.
Establish Proper Sleep Habits
Chronic pain can make it difficult for a person to fall asleep. Many people feel sharper pain during the night. That’s why it’s important to develop sleep habits that will let you fall asleep easier.
Sleeping through the pain will not only make it easier for you, but you will also feel rested for tomorrow. Limit caffeine, do something to tire out during the day and try to go to bed on time.
Add Some Form of Exercise
Exercising has so many health benefits that are related to intercostal neuralgia. When you engage in physical activity, your body produces endorphins that positively affect pain reduction.
At the same time, exercising regularly helps improve blood flow. Blood vessels expand, and this helps heal damaged muscles and nerves.
Do Some Stretching
Stretching is probably one of the best ways to reduce pain associated with intercostal neuralgia. In general, stretching is great for neuropathic pain causes and joints. It’s especially important today when most people spend a lot of time during the day sitting in front of a computer screen.
There are dozens of different stretching exercises you can do. Here are the three essential ones:
- Put your arms straight above your head. Put your hands together with elbows locked out as much as possible. Once you’ve done that, bend to one side as much as you can for about ten seconds. Once you’ve finished, do it on the other side. You can do this while sitting or standing.
- Stand up straight with a neutral spine. Take deep breaths up to 10 times.
- Stand up against the wall. Put your arms at the side and bend the elbows at 90 degrees while touching the wall. Then move your arms back and try to touch the wall. Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat several times.
Use Topical Products
There are various over-the-counter products that you can use to reduce symptoms. Some of them can be purchased while others can be made at home.
If you have severe pain, make sure to consult your physician to get a prescription for pain medications. Never use them on your own without consulting a medical professional. Some of the most commonly used medications are opioid/acetaminophen or aspirin.
This anesthetic has a quick numbing effect that lasts for some time when applied. You can find it as a patch, ointment, or gel.
Even though these medications are mainly used to prevent seizures, they also work well for reducing nerve pain. They contribute by calming down nerves and reducing pain signals. You need to start with a low dosage and slowly increase over time.
Intercostal Nerve Block Injections
Intercostal nerve block injections are one of the most successful pain relief medications for this kind of nerve pain. These injections have local anesthetics that can have corticosteroids or not.
Either way, they help reduce pain and inflammation. It might take several days for its effects to kick in. They are a far better option than thoracic epidural injections, as receiving them isn’t as painful.
If you have severe pain, consider some of these options to lower symptoms. However, use that time to do the exercises and stretches that will help you passively reduce pain even after the effects have worn off.