2021 Aug 16. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–.
Intercostal neuralgia is characterized by neuropathic pain in the distribution of affected intercostal nerve(s) (along the ribs, chest, or abdomen) that commonly manifests as a sharp, aching, radiating, burning, or stabbing pain and may be associated with paresthesia such as numbness and tingling. The pain may be intermittent or constant and typically presents either as a band-like pain wrapping along the chest and back or in a thoracic dermatomal pattern. Pain may last for a prolonged period and may continue long after the inflicting disease process has subsided.
Symptoms are typically sensory in nature, with severe cases having motor function affected as well. While there are multiple causal mechanisms of the disease, the pain transmission pathways remain the same, leading to similarities in treatment approaches.