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Last Updated on Saturday, May 11, 2024 by Amelia Griffith

Are you dealing with intercostal muscle strain? Do you have trouble sleeping? This can make it hard to feel comfortable in bed. But there are ways to help. You can sleep better and not have so many sleepless nights.

This blog post will give tips to help you sleep better at night if you have an intercostal muscle strain. We’ll show you how to make your bedroom comfortable and what activities might help with the pain. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of exactly what strategies can help address the painful side effects of this particular ailment!

Explain What a Strain in the Intercostal Muscle Means?

Intercostal muscle strain is when it hurts in your chest. It can happen if you use or hurt the muscles between your ribs. These muscles help you breathe deeply. If left untreated, this condition can cause extreme discomfort and affect your quality of life. Getting enough sleep with intercostal muscle strain can be challenging due to the pain associated with the injury. However, there are a few strategies that may help you get some restful sleep despite the discomfort.


If you’ve recently experienced intercostal muscle strain, you may be feeling overwhelmed with managing your pain and discomfort. Thankfully, getting a good night’s rest is an effective way to help expedite your recovery!

Factors That Lead to Intercostal Muscle Strain

There are several possible causes of intercostal muscle strain. These include:

Overexertion during strenuous physical activities: Activities such as rowing, weightlifting, and even coughing or sneezing can put stress on your intercostal muscles.

  • Straining while lifting heavy objects: Lifting an object, such as a box or furniture, with improper form can strain your intercostal muscles.
  • Performing repetitive motions without proper form: Poor posture and repetitive motions can cause your intercostal muscles to become strained over time.
  • Direct trauma to the ribs: Car accidents and falls can directly put pressure on your ribs and cause muscle strain.
  • Diseases: Certain diseases could potentially lead to muscle strain in the rib area due to inflammation of the tissue.

Symptoms of Intercostal Muscle Strain

Some common symptoms of intercostal muscle strain include:

  • Pain when taking deep breaths or twisting your body: You may feel a sharp pain when you take deep breaths, cough, or move your body in certain ways.
  • Stiffness and soreness in the rib area: You may experience soreness and stiffness in your ribs that can make it difficult to move around comfortably.
  • Muscle spasms: Your muscles may contract involuntarily due to the strain, causing them to twitch or spasm.
  • Inflammation of the affected area: The area around your ribs may become red, swollen, and tender to the touch due to inflammation caused by the injury.

Diagnosis of Intercostal Muscle Strain

Intercostal muscle strain is usually diagnosed based on your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor may also order imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI to rule out other causes of the pain.

Muscle strains are of 3 types: Grades 1, 2, and 3.

Grade 1 – Mild With this grade of strain, the muscles are stretched and slight pain may be felt when moving or stretching. The area will not appear swollen or bruised, and activities can usually still be performed with some discomfort.

Grade 2 – Moderate In this grade of strain, the muscle fibers are partially torn resulting in more severe pain and swelling. Activities that cause tension in the affected area should not be attempted as further damage may occur.

Grade 3 – Severe In this case, a full rupture of a muscle occurs resulting in extremely painful movements which often cannot be performed without excruciating pain. Bruising and swelling are also common signs of a grade 3 injury.


Treatment for Intercostal Muscle Strain

Rest is the key to treating intercostal muscle strain. It is important to avoid any activities which cause tension or pain in the affected area until you have completely recovered. Other treatments may include:

Ice/Heat Therapy: Alternating between hot and cold compresses can help reduce swelling and provide pain relief.

Medications: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce inflammation and relieve discomfort. However, be sure to check with your doctor before taking any medications.

Physical therapy: A physical therapist may be able to give you exercises that will strengthen your core and improve flexibility in the rib area. This can help reduce discomfort associated with the injury and aid in your recovery.

How to Sleep With Intercostal Muscle Strain

Here are a few tips that may help you get some quality sleep despite the discomfort:

  1. Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication before bed: Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen prior to bedtime can reduce swelling and make it easier to fall asleep.
  2. Place a heating pad on your chest or back: Applying gentle heat to the affected area can help reduce discomfort and relax the muscles.
  3. Sleep with an extra pillow between your rib cage: Put a pillow between your ribs when you sleep on your side. This will give your body more support and help it feel better.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques prior to bedtime: Do things that will help you relax before going to sleep. Take deep breaths, use good smells, stretch your muscles, read a book, listen to calm music, take a hot bath or shower, and do some guided meditation. This can help you relax and reduce any anxiety that could be impairing your sleep.
  5. Use pain management strategies during sleep (if needed): If necessary, use techniques such as distraction or mindfulness in order to manage any pains that may arise during sleep.
  6. Set up a comfortable sleep space: Make sure your bed is comfy. It should have Miracle Sheets, pillows, and blankets that help you feel cozy when sleeping on your side. Additionally, consider using a heating pad or hot water bottle on your sore areas to ease the pain.
  7. Caffeine is known to increase alertness and energy levels – something you probably don’t need when trying to fall asleep! Avoid drinking coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverages several hours before bedtime.
  8. Consider using pillows to support your body while you sleep. You can place one under your knees or one between your legs in order to provide extra cushioning and comfort. Put some pillows behind your back when you lay down. This will help you feel comfortable.
  9. Adjust the temperature in the room before crawling into bed as this can help create a comfortable environment conducive to sleep. If possible, try to keep the temperature slightly on the cooler side.
  10. Before bedtime, don’t do things that make your heart beat really fast. That can make you more stressed and energized. You should also skip any strenuous physical activity prior to hitting the hay to reduce your risk of further injury.
  11. Make sure that all distractions are removed from your bedroom so that you don’t get tempted by them when trying to sleep. That means no phones, laptops, tablets, or TV in the room.

These tips can help you with your muscle pain. You will feel better and sleep better. If your pain gets worse or doesn’t go away, see a doctor right away.


  • Amelia Griffith

    Amelia Griffith is a distinguished luminary in the field of sleep medicine, possessing a wealth of expertise across various domains that have shaped her into an esteemed authority in the realm of sleep health. Her academic journey commenced at Harvard University, where she obtained a foundational degree in Neuroscience, setting the stage for her subsequent forays into the intricate workings of the brain. Continuing her studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she pursued advanced studies in Neurology, delving deeply into the mechanisms of neurological conditions intricately linked with sleep disorders. Driven by a quest to comprehend the holistic facets of sleep and its implications on mental health, she expanded her horizons into psychiatry during her tenure at Stanford University's Department of Psychiatry. This phase equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between sleep patterns and mental well-being. Her passion for pediatric care led her to specialize in pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center, where she honed interventions for young individuals grappling with sleep disorders. Furthering her exploration into sleep science and psychology, she enriched her knowledge at the University of Pennsylvania, unraveling the profound impact of psychological factors on sleep quality. Certifications and Degrees: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Neuroscience - Harvard University Advanced Studies in Neurology - Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Specialization in Psychiatry - Stanford University School of Medicine Pediatric Care Specialization - Columbia University Medical Center Expertise in Sleep Science and Psychology - University of Pennsylvania Board Certification in Sleep Medicine from the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM) Beyond her professional pursuits, Amelia Griffith seamlessly integrates her artistic hobbies into her life. An accomplished painter, she finds inspiration from the intricate patterns of the brain, translating her scientific curiosity into artistic expression. Her love for literature and continuous reading not only expands her knowledge but also fuels her imagination, offering creative solutions to the challenges she encounters in her profession. Family: Amelia Griffith is a devoted mother to two daughters and a son. Her journey through sleep disorders mirrors her family's struggles, providing her with profound empathy and understanding in her professional pursuits. Overcoming these challenges together has strengthened their familial bond, fostering resilience and unity. Amelia Griffith's commitment to excellence and compassionate patient care has earned her admiration within academic circles and among those whose lives she has positively impacted. Her ongoing advocacy for better sleep health reflects her dedication to improving global well-being, leaving an indelible mark in the field of sleep medicine.

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