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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT INTERCOSTAL MUSCLE STRAIN.

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Intercostal muscle strain is an injury affecting the muscles between two or more ribs.

The intercostal muscles have different layers that are attached to the ribs to help build the chest wall and assist in breathing. When an intercostal muscle gets twisted, strained, or stretched too far, it can tear, causing intercostal muscle strain.

In this article, we examine the signs of an intercostal muscle strain, and how to tell one apart from other upper body pains and injuries. We also look at the causes and treatment options for these strains.

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The signs and symptoms of an intercostal muscle strain can differ slightly, depending on their cause. Symptoms may include:

  • sharp upper back and rib pain

  • severe and sudden pain, particularly if caused by a blow to the chest or back

  • gradual worsening pain after repetitive movement, such as rowing, swimming, or other physical exercises

  • stiffness and tension in muscles, causing upper back pain

  • muscle rigidity when bending or twisting the upper body

  • worsening pain when coughing, sneezing, or breathing in deeply

  • spasms of the intercostal muscles

  • tenderness in the area between the ribs.

    The upper back is rarely injured because it is relatively immobile. If this area is the cause of pain, it is often due to long-term poor posture. It can also be due to a severe injury that has weakened the sturdiness of the upper spine, such as a car accident.

    Pain due to upper back injuries is usually felt as a sharp, burning pain in one spot. The pain can spread to the shoulder, neck, or elsewhere in the upper body, and it may come and go.

    Intercostal muscle strain is almost always the result of some event, such as overexertion or injury. In contrast, the initial source of pain from pneumonia or other lung disorders is difficult to pinpoint.

    If the specific area of discomfort can be located, such as between the ribs, this indicates the pain is not coming from the lungs or the upper back. Lung pain is usually described as sharp and spreading outward.

    When a rib is fractured, the pain is usually much more severe than that of intercostal muscle strain.

    The following symptoms may signal a rib fracture:

    • feeling breathless

    • a protrusion or a sharp stabbing sensation in the rib area

    • an area around the ribs that is extremely tender to touch

    A fractured rib is a medical emergency requiring immediate attention.

    Routine activities are not usually the cause of intercostal muscle strain. These strains most often occur as the result of an injury or overexertion of the muscles.

    Common causes include:

    • a direct blow to the rib cage, such as from a fall or car accident

    • an impact blow from contact sports, such as hockey or football

    • twisting the torso beyond its normal range of motion

    • twisting while lifting weights

    • forceful twisting, such as from golf or tennis

    • twisting from specific yoga postures or dance positions

    • reaching overhead, for example, when painting a ceiling

    • lifting any heavy object above shoulder height

    • prolonged overhead reaching

    • repetitive forceful movements, such as hitting a tennis ball

    A sudden increase in physical activity can also lead to an intercostal muscle strain. This is the case particularly when muscles are weakened by a lack of exercise or poor posture.

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Health & Lifestyle

Sports head injuries Balanced reportage is required – Experts

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A group of more than 60 leading international neuroscientists, including Mark Herceg, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Northwell Health’s Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and a member of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, published a correspondence today in The Lancet Neurology, asking for balance when reporting on sports-related injury chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a type of dementia associated with exposure to repeated concussions, and has been linked with a variety of contact sports such as boxing, football, American football and rugby.



Although CTE is commonly featured in the news media and discussed among peers, the medical community is just beginning to understand how to recognize the disease, guidelines for how to assess its severity have yet to be established.

“We don’t currently have a clear understanding of the link between CTE pathology and any specific symptoms,” noted Dr. Herceg. “It’s important to note to the public at large that CTE is at an early stage of scientific and medical understanding, with many important aspects of the disease yet to be established.”

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“Dr. Herceg and his colleague’s CTE research is timely and impactful as a major step forward to more clearly defining the risk and prevalence of this important syndrome,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.

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-Northwell Health

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Health & Lifestyle

Mother bags 4 years jail term for drawing son’s blood.

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A Danish court on Thursday sentenced a mother to four years in jail for aggravated abuse for having unnecessarily drawn a half-litre (one pint) of blood from her son weekly for five years.

A trained nurse, the 36-year-old woman began drawing her son’s blood when he was 11 months old, averaging about once a week for the next five years.

The mother said she would not appeal the verdict handed down by the district court in the western town of Herning.



“It’s not a decision that I took consciously. I don’t know when I started doing what I had no right to do. It came gradually. I threw the blood down the toilet and put the syringes in the garbage,” she told the court.

The boy, today aged seven and who lives with his father, suffered an intestinal illness shortly after birth but as the years went by doctors could not explain why he had so little blood in his system.

To remedy the situation, doctors gave him 110 blood transfusions over the years.

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They eventually grew suspicious of the mother, and police began investigating her.

She was arrested in September 2017 carrying a bag of blood.

On social media, she had presented herself as a single mother fighting for her sick son.

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Psychiatric experts told the court they believed the mother suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare condition in which a person, usually a mother, fabricates an illness for a dependent and puts them through unnecessary medical treatment.

However, they deemed her healthy enough to go to prison.

She has been barred from the nursing profession.

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