Intercostal Neuralgia Quiz

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Scott Nass

Scott Nass, MD, MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS (GP / Family doctor)

Tomohiro Hamahata

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD (Orthopedic surgery)

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Learn more about Intercostal neuralgia

Content updated on Sep 20, 2022

What is intercostal neuralgia?

Nerve pain, caused by damage to the nerves that run along the ribs. It can be caused by many things including injury to the ribs and viral infections like Shingles.

Symptoms of intercostal neuralgia

  • Chest pain

  • Headache with sharp, electric shock-like pain

  • Tingling, numbing chest pain

  • Pain that runs along the side of one rib

  • Right sided chest pain

  • Back pain

Questions your doctor may ask to check for intercostal neuralgia

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose intercostal neuralgia

  • Do you have any chest pain?

  • Does your headache feel a sharp pain like an electric shock?

  • Does your chest pain feel like a numbing pain?

  • Do you have pain that runs along the side of one rib?

  • Do you have right sided chest pain?

Treatment for intercostal neuralgia

Treatment options include pain and nerve medicines. These can come in the form of cream, skin patches or pills. In severe cases, an injection or surgery can be done to block the nerve from sending pain signals.

View the symptoms of Intercostal neuralgia


  • Fazekas D, Doroshenko M, Horn DB. Intercostal Neuralgia. 2022 May 2. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 32809700.

  • Wei J, Gao S, Li W, Zhang L, Cao C, Zhai J, Gao B. Percutaneous Endoscopic Intercostal Neurectomy for Refractory Intercostal Neuralgia. Pain Physician. 2021 Nov;24(7):E1147-E1153. PMID: 34704724.

  • Chalian M, Hoang D, Rozen S, Chhabra A. Role of magnetic resonance neurography in intercostal neuralgia; diagnostic utility and efficacy. Br J Radiol. 2021 Jun 1;94(1122):20200603. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20200603. Epub 2021 May 7. PMID: 33960822; PMCID: PMC8173696.

Reviewed By:

Tomohiro Hamahata

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD (Orthopedic surgery)

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