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Intercostal muscle pain, costochondritis, or pleurisy?
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Intercostal muscle pain, costochondritis, or pleurisy?

Male, 44 yrs. Normal height/weight. Ex-smoker (8 pack yrs, quit 10 yrs ago).

I caught a cold from one of my infant daughters about 5 weeks ago.

I had cold symptoms for 10 days, then I got sinusitis and persistent cough. Dr. prescribed Levaquin for 5 days; sinusitis resolved. Cough lasted two more weeks.

When the cough was ending, I developed a mild pain (like a bruised rib) in my right chest. It seemed to be along the right edge of the sternum and follows the middle ribs to about where my nipple is. The two tender areas that I can palpate are at my sternum, the other a couple of inches to the right (most painful). I eventually retuned to the Dr. after 11 days of worsening pain.

The NP listened to my lungs (through my back) and found them clear and normal sounding. She asked to me point to the places where the pain was, but did not palpate the areas herself. She said it was likely damage to the intercostal muscles from coughing/stress, and that being able to point directly to the pain was a good sign.

She said to take 2400mg ibuprofen a day and that it could take > 2 weeks to resolve.

I have no fever/cough, but the pain makes very deep breathing, some movements, and occasional throat clearing/sneeze painful.

1) Should I worry about pleurisy or costochondritis? Would they feel different?

2) Should I request other tests, or wait this out?

3) If it is the intercostal muscles, how long should it be before I see a lessening of the pain? I am trying not to put stress on the area. The ibuprofen is helping a little - she said I could have codeine if needed.
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251132_tn?1198082422
You could have costochondritis, fractured ribs or, as suggested, pulled muscles.  Symptom relief with high dose ibuprofen is a good idea.  However be aware that this therapy can cause gastrointestinal bleeding.  As you wait for the pain to subside use these muscles as little as possible.
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
im having the same problem with those who have pain on right side of ribs they feel like they are broken,it started out with constant coughing they gave me levaquin then it got a little better dr said bronchitus (bronchitis) . i cant lay on my right side these coughing bouts gotta go .ican feel the ribs and surrouding muscles its they are bruised.feels like i was punched by mike tyson lol.im taking advil now and a heating pad from time to time.thanks james sullivan
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Avatar_n_tn
i hope we all get better, any suggestions from anyone i also have wheezing.
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Avatar_n_tn
im having the same problem with those who have pain on right side of ribs they feel like they are broken,it started out with constant coughing they gave me levaquin then it got a little better dr said bronchitus (bronchitis) . i cant lay on my right side these coughing bouts gotta go .ican feel the ribs and surrouding muscles its they are bruised.feels like i was punched by mike tyson lol.im taking advil now and a heating pad from time to time.thanks james sullivan
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have had constant pain under my left breast and ribs. I went to the doctor and they took a chest x-ray, said I fractured a rib from coughing so much from a cold. I was told to take advil and the discomfort should eventually go away. It has now been 2 months, I could not stand the pain any longer, so I went back to the doctor and she took another chest ex-ray and determined that I did not have a fractured rib. She told me to take the perscribed muscle relaxers, and see her again in 10 days if the pain did not subside. Well, I phoned her last week and she ordered a CT scan, which was yesterday. The radiologist called in the results to the doctor on duty, because my doctor after hours, could not be reached. The doctor on duty, whom I have never met, imformed me that I have a nodule on my left lung about 1.9cm, and told me to call my doctor on Monday. I am only 41 years old and in good health, I am a light smoker, although not smoking since this news. I would like to know if this is a sign of lung cancer and what is the next step. This is the weekend, so I have 2 days to worry myself sick.
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