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What’s Intercostal Neuritis and How to Reduce It

Some women may develop intercostal neuritis towards the tip of pregnancy. Find out why this is going on and what you possibly can do to repair it.

What is intercostal neuritis and how to reduce it

Last actualisation: March 19, 2023

Some women experience chest pain just like intercostal neuritis while pregnant. This is a rare condition which often occurs towards the tip of pregnancy. However, we don’t yet know the basis explanation for this disorder, which makes treatment difficult needless to say.

In this text, we’ll concentrate on what information is on the market to this point and what are the possible sources of development of this neuropathy. Similarly, we’ll try to investigate what are the treatment options for intercostal neuritis while pregnant and what are the risks.

Intercostal neuritis in pregnancy as a separate entity

There is a dilemma regarding the name of the condition. In intercostal neuritis, an inflammatory process occurs involving the thoracic nerve, which causes pain. In pregnancy, nonetheless, the mechanism involved isn’t inflammation.

This is why some authors have proposed that the name of this disorder be “thoracic neuralgia gravidarum”. The reasons are twofold:

  1. First, the difference with traditional neuritis, the explanation for which is well-known, is established.
  2. On the opposite hand, it’s emphasized that this can be a disease that happens in pregnant women.

Read Thrombophilia in pregnancy: what are the risks?

What is thought concerning the origin of chest pain in pregnancy?

Because it’s a rare condition, research is scarce. So far, the true explanation for chest pain in pregnancy has not been established.

However, there are several hypotheses that try to clarify the predisposition of pregnant women to the event of intercostal neuritis. We analyze them.

Pregnancy generates various changes. Among them, some are related to the ailments and discomforts that arise during this era.

Pain attributable to the stretching of the fibers

One of those theories is that this the growing uterus causes the nerve fibers to step by step elongate. This causes the pain receptors to activate, generating a condition. This hypothesis relies on the undeniable fact that pregnancy-related intercostal neuritis resolves inside just a few hours after delivery.

On the opposite hand, it might explain why pain is more common later in pregnancy. Similarly, that is a vital argument for why neuropathy affects levels closer to the growing belly than the nerves within the upper chest area.

Root compression without hernia

Another reason why thoracic neuralgia is believed to look in some pregnant women is mechanical entrapment of the nerve because the nerve emerges from the spine. This confinement is the results of the additive effect of several aspects specific to pregnancy.

Among them are:

  • Accentuation of the lumbar lordosis to counteract the burden gain within the abdominal area and thus have the option to change the body’s center of gravity.
  • Fluid retention on account of increased blood volumewhich predisposes the soft tissues surrounding the spine to swell barely.

This causes the stretch attributable to hyperlordosis and the rise in the dimensions of the paravertebral structures to depart less space for the nerves to travel freely. However, the undeniable fact that intercostal neuritis doesn’t occur in most pregnant women raises the suspicion of other aspects.

Ligament laxity attributable to relaxin

Finally, increased relaxin, a molecule related to increased flexibility within the hip joints and ligaments to stimulate labor, could also be involved in pain formation. For some authorsrelaxin it also affects the intervertebral discsmaking them more vulnerable to emphasize.

However, this hypothesis is controversial.

What are the symptoms of intercostal neuritis in pregnant women?

Neuralgia gravidarum causes moderate to severe pain on one side of the chest. It often follows the trail of 1 or two intercostal nerves and there could also be a sense of numbness in the world.

This is most frequently noticeable within the lower levels of the chest area. That is, those closest to the belly.

A particular feature of intercostal neuritis in pregnancy is that this palpation of the back muscles increases soreness. Similarly, changes in position could make the symptom worse. The pain may even make it difficult for a girl to maneuver.

In general, intercostal neuritis mostly affects the correct side of the chest. In addition, some women report that the pain radiates to the abdomen.

It’s essential to notice that symptoms disappear after delivery. However, it’s common for this condition to recur in future pregnancies.

Diagnosis of intercostal neuritis in pregnancy

Symptomatology is sufficient to determine the diagnosis.

Possibly a physician may find electromyography obligatory. Not to verify any findings, but to rule out a more complex cause.

Read The Vagus Response in Pregnancy: What Is It and How to Prevent It?

Differential diagnoses to think about

It is essential to exclude pathologies through which there’s damage to the nerve. Recall that in pregnancy intercostal neuritis Doesn’t seem like nerve damagebut moderately the state is secondary to the mechanical effect.

However, assuming this condition on the outset, without resorting to proper review, may mask other disorders of greater severity:

  • Herniated disc.
  • Shingles infection.
  • Diabetic polyradiculopathy.
The pain will likely be situated within the lower a part of the chest, near the abdomen.

Possibilities to scale back thoracic neuralgia gravidarum

Generally, The best treatment for neuromuscular pain attributable to pregnancy is preventionthrough physical conditioning before pregnancy. However, this advice isn’t very useful for a patient who already has this disease and for individuals who are vulnerable to its development.

In literature, treatment is restricted to the indication of acetaminophen and topical lidocaine patches on the affected area as a final resort to scale back symptoms. However, this pain management should be done under strict medical supervision due to possible risks.

The use of amitriptyline can also be good in cases where the pain is intense. But each case should be individualized. Doctors must weigh the benefit-risk ratio of medicine like this that might not be harmless while pregnant.

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