What does a pulled muscle in ribs feel like?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

A pulled muscle in the ribs, also known as an intercostal muscle strain, can cause a variety of symptoms. When you experience this type of injury, you may notice tightness, tenderness, and pain in the affected area.

One of the primary symptoms of an intercostal muscle strain is tightness of the muscle. The injured muscle may feel tight whenever you reach, twist, or even when you simply breathe. This tightness can be uncomfortable and may limit your range of motion. It’s important to be mindful of your movements to avoid exacerbating the strain.

Another symptom you may experience is tenderness. The spot where the strain occurs, typically between your ribs, will feel sore when it is touched. This tenderness can be quite localized, making it easy to pinpoint the exact area of the injury. It may be sensitive to pressure or even gentle touch, causing discomfort when trying to perform daily activities.

Pain is also a common symptom associated with a pulled muscle in the ribs. The pain is usually felt during movement and deep breathing. Activities such as coughing, sneezing, or laughing can intensify the pain. The severity of the pain can vary from mild discomfort to a sharp, stabbing sensation. It’s important to note that the pain may radiate to other areas, such as the back or abdomen, depending on the location and extent of the strain.

In some cases, you may also notice swelling or bruising in the affected area. This can occur due to the inflammation and damage to the muscle fibers. However, swelling and bruising are not always present with an intercostal muscle strain and may vary from person to person.

It is worth mentioning that the symptoms of a pulled muscle in the ribs can be similar to other conditions, such as a rib fracture or costochondritis. Therefore, if you experience persistent or worsening symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

A pulled muscle in the ribs can cause tightness, tenderness, and pain. These symptoms can be bothersome and affect your daily activities. It’s important to rest the affected area, apply ice or heat, and consider over-the-counter pain relievers to help manage the symptoms. However, if the pain persists or if you have concerns, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.