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How To Sleep With Intercostal Muscle Strain?

How To Sleep With Intercostal Muscle Strain?

Do you want to know the most effective sleeping positions to alleviate intercostal muscle strain? Are you also affected by it and looking for its treatments?

You can get a comfortable sleep even with intercostal muscle strain by using multiple techniques. Some of these include the use of appropriate medicines. supportive pillows, heating pads, and gentle stretching exercises. Moreover, you will also learn about this condition in detail, from its causes and symptoms to treatment methods.

Going through this guide will enable you to get quality sleep even with this condition. Let’s start uncovering more about it without waiting any further.

What Is Intercostal Muscle Strain?

Intercostal muscle strain is a condition caused by the overstretching or tearing of the muscles between the ribs. The intercostal muscle is located between your ribs. It helps you breathe when you perform any physical activity. Let’s take a look at the causes and symptoms of this condition.

Common Causes

Some of the common causes of intercostal muscle strain include:

  • Sudden or excessive physical activity
  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive or overuse of chest muscles
  • Coughing or sneezing intensely
  • Trauma or injury to the chest
  • Lifting heavy objects with improper technique
  • Certain sports or activities that strain the chest muscles
  • Inflammation or infections affecting the intercostal muscles


Following are some of the prominent symptoms of this condition:

  • Sharp or stabbing pain in the chest
  • Pain that worsens with movement or breathing
  • Tenderness or soreness around the ribs
  • Difficulty breathing deeply
  • Muscle spasms in the chest
  • Swelling or bruising in the affected area
  • Pain when coughing or sneezing
  • Limited range of motion in the upper body
  • Pain that may radiate to the back or abdomen

Appropriate Way To Sleep With Intercostal Muscle Strain

Intercostal muscle strain may also cause problems sleeping. Here are a few tips that will help you sleep quickly. These will also improve the overall quality of your sleep as well.

  • Right sleeping position: The best way to sleep with intercostal muscle pain is to sleep on the unaffected side. Place a pillow between your legs for support as well.
  • Get pillow support: Get the support of pillows or couches and elevate your head and neck. It will help in avoiding pressure on the strained muscle. It will make it easier for you to breathe and eventually help you sleep quickly.
  • Hug your pillow. If you want to sleep on your back, then hugging the pillow will provide extra support and help you sleep better.
  • Use a heating pad: Using a heating pad can also make you more comfortable and help you sleep. Use it for 15 to 20 minutes before sleeping.
  • Gentle stretches before sleeping: Perform gentle exercises targeting the affected muscle. It will help in relaxing the strain and make it easier for you to slip.

Tips For Fast Healing

Intercostal muscle strain can cause a lot of problems in your daily life. If you are also affected by this condition, here are some tips for a fast recovery.

  • Rest and Avoid Aggravating Activities: Give your body time to heal and avoid activities like heavy lifting or strenuous exercises. Resting allows the muscles to recover and minimizes the risk of further injury.
  • Ice Therapy: Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours during the initial 48 hours after the injury. It will reduce inflammation by numbing the area and help in quick recovery.
  • Heat Therapy: After the initial 48 hours, consider using heat packs or warm compresses to improve blood circulation and relax the muscles. Avoid using this method during the initial 48 to 72 hours of injury, as it may increase inflammation.
  • Gentle Stretching and Breathing Exercises: Perform gentle stretching exercises to prevent stiffness and improve flexibility in the affected area. Practice breathing exercises to improve lung function.
  • Supportive Bracing: Use a rib belt or brace to provide support to the injured area.
  • Posture Awareness: Maintain good posture to reduce strain on the intercostal muscles. Sit, stand up straight, and avoid slouching.
  • Gradual Return to Activity: Gradually start your activities and exercises to avoid overexertion during the recovery process. There is a risk of relapse in this face. The best way is to listen to your body, and if you feel any discomfort, reduce the intensity. .
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can also help a lot in healing the intercostal muscle area. Consult with a physical therapist for specific exercises and techniques according to your needs.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet for quick recovery. Consume a diet rich in nutrients, especially those promoting muscle and tissue health like protein and vitamin C.

When Should I See A Doctor?

Try all the tips shared before visiting a doctor. Usually, intercostal muscle strain can be managed at home with rest and self-care. But if this doesn’t help, you should see a doctor and get a complete diagnosis. Here are some sensitive symptoms associated with this condition for which you need to contact a doctor:

  • Severe Pain
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Fever and Infection Signs
  • Persistent Symptoms
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Recurring Episodes

Final Words 

You can sleep with intercostal muscle strain, if possible, through a combination of strategies. Follow the recommended tips for quality sleep and fast healing. These are safe, and you can practice them at home without the help of any medical expert.

If you are not able to get quality sleep even after applying these techniques, then you should consult a doctor. Don’t hesitate to consult a doctor if symptoms persist or worsen. In this case, get a thorough diagnosis and seek appropriate medical guidance.


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