Intercostal muscle strain treatment can often be easily treated with rest, ice application, pain medication and exercises.
• Rest. You should stop your sports activity, take a rest if possible and limit movements of your torso. If you continue to play, you might further injure your already strained muscle.
Complete bed rest for more than 2 days may not be advisable though. Not doing physical activities for long periods may cause muscle tightness, loss of trunk flexibility and delayed healing.
• Ice. Apply an ice pack for 20 minutes at a time. Remember to wrap the pack with towel to avoid frostbite injury. You can do ice pack application 3 to 4 times a day, 1 to 2 days following your injury or until your pain and swelling has subsided.
• Pain medication. You may take over the counter (OTC) medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve your pain. If you are unsure of what medication to take or at what dose, you should contact your health care provider for proper guidance.
• Exercises. You can perform simple gentle exercises to stretch your tight intercostals and trunk muscles. Your doctor or physical therapist will be able to determine when you can start stretching your muscles or performing strengthening exercises.