Pain Referring from the Mid Back - Intercostal Nerve Impingement



Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy & Wellness in Belfield provides servicing to many near by Inner West suburbs including Belmore, Strathfield and Croydon park. See our weekly blog below if you are interested in new research, facts, general information or ideas.

Yes, you can have pain around the front of the ribs that radiates from the back!

At Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy, we can help you with all conditions and pains relating to the mid back.

As your ribs are attached to part of your spine, dysfunction at the site of the spine can cause symptoms that can radiate to your ribs. In this circumstance we are referring to a nerve pain that can distribute and refer anywhere from the thoracic spine (mid-back), to the front of your ribs and chest area. The nerve that is impacted is the intercostal nerve.

See attached figure. It depicts the distribution of where symptoms can refer when an injury occurs via the mid back and lower back.

This condition is like that of sciatica or another nerve referring pain from the neck into the arm or hand.

This type of nerve pain has been seen many times at the clinic – most of which are caused by swelling in the ligamentum flavum or via a posterior disc protrusion (less common). Swelling can occur for a number of reasons, including trauma to the area or facet joint degeneration in the spine, that can cause a leakage into the ligamentum flavum and thus compressing the intercostal nerve. Another reason for this pain and condition is due to weight lifting and improper technique with dead lifts, squats or other exercises.

Treatment involves joint movements, soft tissue therapy, kneading along the impacted intercostal nerve and potentially some ultrasound therapy for ablating the swelling.

To find out more about how we can help improve your mid back pain and nerve referring pain to your chest, you can contact us via our Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy & Wellness contact us page, or book online here.

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