Possible Intercostal neuritis

Patient

Q: Off and on at least a year now I have been getting a pain that starts in my back under my shoulder blade and travels around under my breast and through my shoulder. It feels as though it almost parylzes my shoulder. If I excersise to hard or run to hard it hurts too when I breathe and move. It is not all the time but is becoming more often. When it hurts it hurts bad it almost feels like I have a whole in my body. Can you give me and idea of what this could be or what I should do?

Doctor

A:    Your description seems to correspond to an Intercostal neuritis, which is not a serious condition but very annoying indeed and have a slow healing process. By a spasm or a direct trauma the intercostal nerve gets injured, and that’s why you are feeling that kind of stabbing pain every time you take a deep breath or move. The suggested strategy would be: please, try to be patient and do not expect an overnight improvement, take the anti inflammatory medication (“Aleve”, “Motrin”), and also Vitamin B12 supplement. Local moist heat helps to ease the pain. Try to avoid activities that worsen the pain. The healing time is different to each patient in particular but generally takes about 6-8 weeks. If after this timeframe you do not experience any improvement you should get a thoroughly evaluation possibly by an orthopedic surgeon.

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