Sports that involve contacts, such as rugby, or those with high impact, are most likely to suffer from intercostal neuropathy. It’s caused by actions that strain or weaken ligaments and muscles in the chest area, ribs, and abdominal region. The sleep of a person with this condition isn’t easy.

The positive side is that there are a few ways to simplify the process. This article will give details about the condition, the causes and signs, and some suggestions regarding how to sleep with intercostal muscle strain.

Intercostal Muscles: What Are They?

The intercostals muscles are the smaller muscles located between your ribs. They help in the contraction and expansion of your ribcage.

The intercostal muscles are comprised of three forces:

  1. Internal intercostal muscles,
  2. External intercostal muscle groups, and the
  3. Intercostals muscles located in the middle.

Each set is focused on one of the significant functions. Apart from helping with breathing, they also are responsible for keeping the torso in a brace and may be strengthened with stretching exercises and strength training.

Most strains to the intercostal muscles are caused by:

  • A direct blow to the muscles (a hit on the chest’s wall, ribs, or the back).
  • Extreme stretching or sudden twisting.
  • It was overhead, reaching.
  • Some exercises (such as pull-overs with weights).

The Symptoms And Warning Signs

Symptoms of strain to the intercostal muscles could include sharp lower back pain, tight muscles, muscle spasms, and sudden and intense pain.

The symptoms and signs of an injury to the intercostal muscles could differ, depending on the reason for their occurrence. It could be a sign of:

  • A sharp upper back and ribs
  • Extreme and sudden pain, mainly if it results from an injury to the back or chest.
  • Tension and stiffness in muscles can cause stress and stiffness in muscles, causing back discomfort.
  • Muscles rigidity during bending or twisting the upper body.
  • More severe pain after coughing, sneezing, or inhaling the air deeply
  • Spasms in the muscles of the intercostal region
  • Tenderness in the region between the ribs

Also read: Can I Die in Sleep from Anaphylaxis? Best Ways To Prevent

Intercostal Pain Reduction While Sleeping At Night

Breathing can cause extreme pain and discomfort while trying to heal a rib fracture or strain on the intercostal muscles. Inhaling expands and contracts the forces that put pressure on them, which causes stinging pain.

These strategies for pain relief let you rest comfortably without worrying over aches and pains throughout the night. The rib cage or the chest muscles area can cause extreme discomfort during sleep, but these methods for pain relief help relieve the tension in your muscles and excessive pain.

1. Stay Neutral

When a tendon or muscle is injured and injured, the body goes through an intricate series of actions to repair the injury. A large portion of this repair occurs during the time of sleeping. Sometimes a brace is suggested to maintain an upright posture.

2. Increasing the Injury’s Gravity

A long-standing acronym used in the treatment of injuries from sports like strains is RICE. It stands for rest in the form of ice, compression, and elevation. The body part that is involved at least two of them can be achieved while asleep. It is possible to take rest as a given in a sleep situation.

If the strain is on muscles in the leg or arm, the area can be supported by pillows to aid blood flow away from the injury site and return to the heart. This reduces the swelling that is associated with the injury. The ability to reduce swelling is crucial since excessive swelling can hinder recovery.

3. To Help Avoid Upper Back Problems, Place A Cushion Below Your Knees

Another great way to protect yourself from the pain caused by strains to the intercostal muscles is to place an inflatable cushion beneath your knees or your feet to raise your legs. This is a way to ensure the spine stays aligned adequately with no pressure build-up pushing it down.

Additionally, adding a bolster pillow or towel wrapped in a roll underneath your knees will alleviate any cramps or soreness in your legs that could contribute to the discomfort in your chest. This posture helps to remove the stress on your back and ribs, reducing intercostals muscle discomfort and allowing you to enjoy the restful sleep you need.

4. Ice

After a few days of the injury, you may minimize swelling with an ice cube in a towel for fifteen to twenty minutes during the day, especially before bed.

5. Heating Therapy

You may switch from an ice pad to a heating pad to relieve the strain within a couple of days following the injury. Heating the injured muscle can ease discomfort and speed up the healing process. The alternation of cold and hot treatments can ease discomfort further.

6. Painkillers

Certain medications can ease the discomfort you experience from an injury. Discuss with your doctor what medicines are suitable since certain ones can cause bleeding or increase heart rate. The use of pain medications can also aid patients in getting better sleep and rest, which can, in turn, speed up the healing process.

7. Surgery

If your muscle is tear-free, you may require surgery. The typical strain to the intercostal muscle will take between 4 to 5 weeks to heal, close to the condition it was in before. The healing process can be different or even longer depending on the injury’s severity and the person’s general health.

8. Better Mattress Choices

As you’ve already guessed, sleeping is vital when dealing with muscle pains in the intercostal region, just like any other medical condition, like an ear infection or fractured ribs. It is best to be patient when selecting the right mattress. The wrong choice of bed could result in difficulty sleeping or falling.

The kind of mattress you choose is the main element. Keep in mind that the cost of the bed doesn’t affect your sleeping quality in this scenario. Here are some things to think about when picking the ideal mattress.

A Larger Mattress

A larger mattress can go a long way in ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. Sharing a bed on the mattress can be beneficial since you’re less likely to be pushed around by one another.

Assistance With The Spine

 You should also be sure that the mattress you buy will support the natural curvature of your spine. That means your spine’s curvature should be similar to your normal posture when lying on the bed.


Numerous mattress retailers permit their customers to test various mattresses before purchasing the most suitable ones. This is an excellent opportunity to profit by making sure you buy a comfortable bed.

9. Make use of using a Compression Belt

A few may discover that a compression belt or other rib support can support injured muscles. A compression belt can help reduce discomfort in the region while ensuring that the ribs are appropriately positioned for sleeping.

10. How Could A Chiropractor Cure A Muscle Strain In The Intercostals?

A chiropractor can help treat minor intercostal muscle strains within 4 to 6 weeks. However, proper chiropractic treatment can be used to treat severe strains. However, they’ll require longer healing completely. The process of getting back to your feet is much quicker when you are working with a skilled chiropractor or massage therapist.

  • Make sure you are in a neutral place.
  • Elevate your injury.
  • Do not put pressure on the injured area during sleep.
  • Extend your muscles to remain flexible.

It is crucial to decide on the most effective treatment for the inflammation caused by an injured nerve in the ribs. If you’re new to the injury or are suffering and recovering multiple times, discuss with your doctor to ease the pain and avoid any future issues.

11. Home Remedies

Other treatments you can perform at home include:

  • Resting to not put further tension in the region
  • Applying cooling with ice for 15-20 minutes at intervals of time according to the instructions of an expert physician
  • We are utilizing a heating pad in the first few days of healing to reduce pain and speed up recovery.
  • Discuss with your physician the medicines you can take to help ease the pain.

Also read: When to Take CBD Oil for Sleep?

Tips on How to Sleep with Intercostal Muscle Strain?

You’re looking to get better sleep, but the constant pain isn’t letting you relax? First of all, sleeping is the best treatment to heal intercostal muscles. Here are some guidelines on how to sleep with intercostal muscle strain.

1. Sleeping Well And Getting A Good Night’s Sleep

Usually, doctors advise sleeping well regardless of whether you’re in good health. The recommended amount of sleep falls between 6-8 hours. If your physician notes your best night’s rest, it should be manageable.

While asleep, your body produces an anti-inflammatory protein called Cytokines. This protein aids the body repair itself slowly. This is why it is likely to weaken the immune system and cause a slow healing process if you don’t sleep enough.

2. Utilizing an Inline

To fall asleep, one has to breathe. This naturally causes tension in the ribs and consequently causes pain or discomfort that could affect sleep quality.

  • It is recommended to place the bed with a slight tilt to reduce tension on the ribs during breathing.
  • If it’s not possible to raise the bed, sleeping people can place pillows to put their pads slightly in an inclined posture. This helps ensure that the neck remains in a relaxed position.

3. Sleeping In A Particular Position

Based on your pain level and level, you should choose the position that is most comfortable for you. It is recommended to sleep on your stomach isn’t recommended as it can cause more discomfort. Make sure to avoid it as much as possible, especially if you’ve just undergone neck surgery. However, lying on your back can be the most comfortable posture.

It is also possible to use recliners if you’ve decided to use this type of position. If you don’t own a recliner, ensure the chair you’ll sit on is comfy enough to sleep. If you’re suffering from throbbing discomfort in your ribs, go through the entire article on how to sleep without broken ribs.

You could also opt for recliners in this type of position. If you don’t own a recliner, be sure that the chair you’ll sit on is comfy enough to sleep.

How Far Do Intercostal Muscles Take To Recover?

The speed of healing and duration will depend on the intercostal muscle strain’s severity. The muscle strains caused by tear-swollen muscles require longer healing. Mild muscle strains, however, require a few days for healing, in contrast to moderate pressures that could take as long as seven weeks to heal.

It is not 100% certain that it will be recovered within a set time frame. Other elements include techniques for dealing with the condition. These techniques typically include your sleeping patterns, diet regimens, physical exercise, and many more.

If you need to follow the correct procedure the first time, then you’ll take longer than usual to recover. If you’re interested in determining the severity of an injury to your intercostal muscles, take a look at the steps in the following article;

  • Grade 1 The condition is mild muscle strain, with damaged fibers of 5. It has a negligible impact on the ratio of the body. It takes around three weeks to recover completely.
  • Grade 2 The repercussions of this condition are an even larger area of damaged fibers in the muscle. However, the degree of damage is not as severe, but more than grade 1. At this stage, it is not a complete loss of motion.
  • Grade 3 at this stage, the muscle fibers are deemed damaged, so you will need surgery to fix the muscles. The recovery time for this grade is more lengthy but depends on the individual’s physiology.

Frequently Ask Questions

How Can You Relieve Your Intercostal Muscles?

Then, press your thumb or finger into the muscle that has been strained within the space between your ribs. Examine the area for vulnerable points. Start with the breastbone and work towards the rib lines, then return to the rib cage side.

What Consequences Do Intercostal Muscle Strains Have?

You may feel an acute discomfort at the time of injury that will then become discomfort in your muscle. The two signs are usually enough to let you know that you have an injury to your power. Additionally, you may struggle to breathe, move and breathe.

Do Strains In The Intercostal Muscles Get More Severe In The Evening?

The pain seems to be more intense in the evening. If you are not distracted while trying to rest, the stain of your intercostal muscles may be more bothersome than during the daytime. Distractions can serve as an alternative to painkillers.

How Can You Massage Your Intercostal Muscles To Promote Sleep?

A regular massage with professionals can help you recover faster from injuries to your intercostal muscles.


Fortunately, those suffering from intercostal muscle injuries are recovered within a few weeks. But rest is essential to healing and reducing intercostal pain. Thus, patients should ensure they get enough sleep every night.

I hope you enjoyed this article how to sleep with intercostal muscle strain. Just before going to bed, do you experience an intercostal muscle strain? How have you been able to rest without stress on the intercostal muscle? Let us know in the comments section!