I hope someone can give me some advice.
I am going to the doctor for the 5th time today for the same thing. None of the pain killers that he has given me help at all, & Im getting a bit worried.
My problem started when I was on holiday. On the 16th of February this year we went to a nature reserve close to Port Elizabeth. I went into one of the cages that had lion cubs. They were about 8 months & almost ready to be moved in with the adult lions. While I was patting one of them, it wanted to play & it clawed my leg & bit me on right rib cage just under my breast. I know its just a cub, but I felt how it grab my ribs with its teeth & if I didnt move It would have caused some serious damage. When I checked the bite, because I moved away, it looked just like 3 huge scratches, not a bite. Even though it was painful, I didnt go for a tetanus shot because I thought it wasnt too serious. It was painful for about a week. A few days later the pain came back, it was there for a week again, & I didnt think anything of it. Then again, a few days later it came back for a week & I went to the doctor. He gave me some antibiotics & pain pills. The pain went away. Then a few days later, it came back again, & I have had the same pain since then. No matter what pain killers or vitamins the doctor gave me, the pain persists. I have been for xrays, there is no damage or anything.
It is getting unbearable. It pains with the slightest of movement. I cant twist, or lift my arm without it paining. At night it is the worse. I cant move with out severe pain. It feels like I go stiff or my ribs feel like they are about to crush. The pain is now under my right shoulder blade & neck. It also feels as if it is starting under my left shoulder blade.
I should also mention, When I was younger I had an operation under my right arm. I had a lump growing under my arm. They thought it was cancer as I had most of the symptoms. So they did a biopsy. They said it was just an extra muscle, so the didnt remove it. It also pains from time to time & has gotten bigger. A few months before my lion cub incident, I went to have my arm checked up. I like to know that it is still ok. They did xrays & blood tests done for cancer. They came back clear.
My arm also pains with the rib & shoulder pain. So Im not sure if the pain is from the lump under my arm &, the lion cub just bit me in the right place at the right time, or if it is solely the bite.
I also have stomach problems. Most of the time I am constipated & have to use natural laxatives to go. I have had blood in my urine & infections in the past because of the stomach problems. I asked my doctor if my rib pain can be diverted pain, because I read that this is possible.
My doctor said it doesn't sound like it has anything to do with my stomach. It sounds like a muscle inflammation, or nerve damage from the bite.
He hasnt done any blood tests yet. Im just worried, because none of the meds he has given me helps, & that there might be a more serious problem. Im still in pain, & it doesnt go away at all. Its not so bad during the day, but awful at night.
My doctor said he will refer me to a specialist. Is there anything I can do in the meantime. & are there any specfic tests I should ask the specialist to do. I really hate paying for doctors bills & everytime get the same line "I dont know whats wrong with you". Any advice will be really helpful, because at the moment I feel like im going to fall apart.
This is just speculation but it sounds like it could possibly be intercostal neuralgia, its more common on the left, but can happen on the right as well. The skin of the chest wall and abdomen are supplied by nerves called the intercostal nerves. They run in between each pair of our ribs. It’s possible that when you were bit, one of these nerves might have been injured. The type of pain it would produce would be a very sharp stabbing pain. Very painful and the pain could radiate. Another possibility could be a rib fracture; it would produce a similar pain and could be missed on an X-ray. But I think the neuralgia is more plausible. Both of these problems would cause pain upon twisting.
A Doctor should be able prove or disprove this theory, if you point him/her in the right direction. Sometimes they need that. I’ve had rib problems and I found that it helps if you limit the movement of your ribs, I use a towel or shirt and wrap it around tightly where the pain is the worse, it seems to help.
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