How To Sleep With Intercostal Muscle Strain

3 min read

Who gets intercostal muscle strain? Is this condition age-related? Is massage a good way of treating intercostal muscle strain?

This condition appears to be age-related, and those who lead sedentary lifestyles are more likely to suffer from it. You may need to deal with this problem if you are in your 60s and don’t exercise much. Massaging the chest provides relief for many people with this condition.

What causes intercostal muscle strain?

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Injury to the chest such as an impact. As you get older, unfortunately, some may experience more falls around the home that would seem minor for most but can be severe for an older person.

If you have a fall or a car accident where you have experienced pressure from a seat belt across your rib cage, this could be sufficient to stretch the ribs and cause intercostal chest strain.

If you are younger, you are not off the hook. If you play sports with a physical contact element, such as football or hockey, you can also experience intercostal muscle strain.

Jolts to the rib cage, either physically or in the form of sudden torsion/ twisting, can be enough for you to experience intercostal muscle strain.

What does an intercostal strain feel like?

It varies from severe to mild. If you have had an injury to your chest and have intercostal muscle strain, you may experience sharp pain every time you try to twist.

The pain is not limited to twisting. You will feel a sharp pain when you stretch your chest muscles, breathe in and out, cough, and, god forbid, sneeze.

The area between your ribs where you have the strain will be sore to touch.

How should I sleep with intercostal muscle strain?

If possible, on your back. The best way to sleep for pain relief from an intercostal muscle strain is on your back with your back flat on the bed.

However, sleeping on your back for prolonged periods is uncomfortable for most of you, so you need to take some extra steps to alleviate the discomfort.

Raise your knees, pointing at the ceiling, and insert a pillow or two under your knees. This will stop the feeling of pulling on your lower back.

If you need to change position to get comfortable, try not to twist your torso, this will cause pain and inflammation.

Try to move your body in one motion, lying down, sitting, or otherwise, to stop the pain. When you sleep on your side, you may need to sit on the side of the bed and reposition yourself. 

Sleep in the fetal position with a pillow between your legs for the most relief.

Can you sleep sitting up with intercostal muscle strain?

Yes, you may find the most relief sleeping in this position. To sleep in an upright position, you have two options, 1. Sleep in a recliner. 2. raise the mattress by placing pillows underneath it.

If you do not have a recliner, you will find your sleep more restful if you raise the mattress rather than sleeping on less uniform pillows, and may make you twist.

Why do pulled muscles hurt more at night?

Your biomechanical system adjusts for sleep. AS your body starts to relax and wind down for sleep, there are some significant changes in hormone levels, Such as reduced cortisol levels, which has an anti-inflammatory effect. Hence pain increases with inflammation.

Do muscles heal when you sleep?

Yes. Sleep is one of the essential factors when recovering from any injury.

When you reach the deeper stages of sleep, the blood flow to the damaged or strained muscle will increase. Increased blood flow brings the nutrients and oxygen to the muscles required for the muscle to repair.

Without adequate sleep, it takes longer for muscles to regenerate new cells, which prolongs the recovery period.

Do naps help muscle recovery?

Yes, it can help. Napping is fine and does have benefits, but there is a word of caution. If napping affects how you sleep through the night, don’t do it.

The best way to heal is to sleep through the night uninterrupted. Plus, napping can make you feel groggy and irritable.

If you feel like taking a nap, by all means, do it if it’s not late in the day, like early evening.

At what stage of sleep does healing occur?

N3 is a stage of sleep where dreams do not occur, and eye movement is minimal. N3 sleep lasts for up to 90 minutes through the night, with shorter episodes recurring after the main event.

The bad news is that N3 sleep lessens as you age, with older people not receiving any N3 sleep whatsoever, which is bad news for healing strained muscles.

Can you take medication for pain relief with intercostal muscle strain?

Yes, medication is an important way of getting pain relief from intercostal muscle strain, and you should take a painkiller before sleeping.

Depending on the severity of pain, your doctor may give you stronger pain killers that are permitted to be sold over the counter.

However, you can take over-the-counter pain medications. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen works well if you are not allergic to these drugs.

Ibuprofen does have anti-inflammatory properties and may work best for you.

What is the fastest way to heal intercostal muscle strain?

Take medication and rest. There are other ways to help intercostal muscle strain heal, such as:

  • Use ice pack, you can apply ice packs wrapped in material to avoid skin burning for 20 minutes every hour if needed, but some hot packs best follow it to reduce inflammation.
  • Massaging the area gently has proven benefits.
  • Complete rest from all physical activities will be required.
  • If breathing is painful, you can hold a pillow against the injured area for support. You can tape the area loosely so you can breathe.

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