Intercostal Muscle Strain

The recent wave of flu that has swept through Spain in the last few months can leave some pretty nasty side effects

Continuous coughing and sneezing can lead to strains on the intercostal muscles, causing intense pain down both sides of the body.

The intercostal muscles are a set of muscles located between the ribs, responsible for assisting with breathing and stabilizing the ribcage during physical activity. An intercostal muscle strain is a relatively common injury that can occur when these muscles are stretched or torn beyond their limits. In this blog, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for intercostal muscle strains.


Intercostal muscle strains are typically caused by sudden, forceful movements such as coughing, sneezing, or twisting. They can also be caused by repetitive motions such as those performed during certain sports or exercise activities. Poor posture and weak abdominal muscles can also increase the risk of developing an intercostal muscle strain.


The most common symptom of an intercostal muscle strain is pain in the affected area. This pain is typically felt between the ribs and can range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation. The pain may be exacerbated by deep breathing, coughing, or other physical activities. In some cases, bruising or swelling may also be present.


The treatment for an intercostal muscle strain typically involves rest, ice, and pain management. Resting the affected area is important to allow the muscles time to heal. Applying ice to the affected area can help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may also be recommended to manage pain.

In addition to these treatments, physical therapy may also be recommended to help strengthen the affected muscles and prevent future injuries. A physical therapist can work with the patient to develop an exercise plan tailored to their specific needs and abilities.


To prevent intercostal muscle strains, it is important to maintain good posture and engage in regular exercise to strengthen the abdominal muscles. When participating in sports or other physical activities, it is important to warm up properly and stretch before beginning. Avoiding sudden, forceful movements and taking breaks when necessary can also help to reduce the risk of injury.

In conclusion, intercostal muscle strains can be painful and disruptive, but with proper treatment and prevention, they can be managed effectively. By taking the necessary precautions and seeking treatment when needed, individuals can reduce their risk of developing intercostal muscle strains and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

You can find a range of English-speaking healthcare providers in the ESHA Spain business directory

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