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Not what you think it is…..

Jan 12th, 2014

Laura asked The Guru for the following Physiotherapy Advice:

I have back pain in the middle right side of my back which started about 5 days ago, it’s more of a ache than stabbing pain. I can also feel it in my neck on the right side.

I generally exercise 5-6 times a week for 1-2 hours, cardio and weights/pump. The pain seems to be less when I tighten my core/abs and adjust my posture. I am thinking it might be INTERCOSTAL MUSCLE STRAIN although am not sure.

Does this the type of pain sounds like it would need treatment or will rest and a week off exercise fix the problem.

The Guru Responded:

Hi Laura

….I’d eat my hat if it was an intercostal muscle sprain!

To sprain a muscle there needs to be a very specific traumatic event, which thankfully there isn’t. This is really, really, really common BUT it looked after appalling because most people think it is an intercostal muscle sprain!

You’ve got an issue with your neck which is referring pain into your intercostal muscle (making it feel like a sprain). The treatment is therefore very different.

You need more movement in your thoracic spine and more control of your mobile (due to the stiffness in your thoracic spine) mid cervical spine. If you get treatment make sure you have your anterior (front) cervical spine palpated – this will refer pain into the right area and confirm what’s up. Rest, without changing the cause won’t do much in the long term.

Easy on the gym….it’s not what you’re doing but how you’re doing it.

If you can’t gain good form (due to the stiffness) it’ll be only a matter of time until the pain reappears..

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