The Symptoms of Intercostal Neuralgia

Pain in the chest, either upon one or both sides; in females most often felt under the breast; pain usually continuous; respiration painful, laughing, coughing, sneezing, exceedingly so.

This disease is often mistaken for pleurisy and other diseases of the lungs. When it affects the left side also, it is often thought to indicate heart disease. Upon careful examination of the patient, however, it will be found that the pain is confined to the spaces between the ribs, and is most severe near the sternum, beneath the axilla, and at the spine. These points are also found to be tender upon pressure, which shows that the disease is confined to the nerve trunk. In many cases of intercostal neuralgia, the pain extends down the inner side of the arm, affecting two fingers upon the inner side of the hand. The pain is sometimes so very severe as to render the patient almost helpless.

The Causes of Intercostal Neuralgia

This form of neuralgia is much the most common in women, in whom it is most generally associated with neurasthenia or nervous debility, dyspepsia, or disease of the reproductive organs. It is often attributed to taking cold.

The Treatment of Intercostal Neuralgia

The affection is best relieved by fomentations or hot and cold applications to the spine, opposite the affected parts. The strong galvanic current, applied to the sensitive nerves, is also of great service. The positive pole should be placed upon the spine, and the negative passed along the course of the affected nerves, or placed successively for a few seconds at each of the sensitive points. Attention must also be given to the improvement of the patient's general health, by proper diet and general tonic measures.