Your symptoms are suggestive of inter-coastal muscle cramps. Like other muscles in body these muscles can also have cramps. Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions or spasms in one or more of your muscles. They often occur after exercise, during physical activity or at night, lasting a few seconds to several minutes. It is a very common muscle problem.
Muscle cramps can be caused by electrolyte imbalance which leads to involuntary stimulation of muscle fibers and nerves. Sometimes this malfunction is due to a health problem, such as a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in the neck or back (these are comparatively rare causes).
Other common causes are -
· Straining or overusing a muscle
· A lack of minerals in your diet or the depletion of minerals in your body
· Not enough blood getting to your muscles
At the first sign of a muscle spasm, stop your activity and try stretching and massaging the affected muscle. Heat will relax the muscle at first, although ice may be helpful after the first spasm and when the pain has improved. If the muscle is still sore, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help with pain. In more severe cases, your health care provider can prescribe anti-spasm medications.
The most common cause of muscle cramps is dehydration. Often, drinking water or sports drinks will ease the cramping. However, drinking water alone at times is not sufficient. Salt tablets or sports drinks that can replenish loss minerals can be helpful.