Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
CHRONIC BACK PAIN AND ABDOMINAL PAIN
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CHRONIC BACK PAIN AND ABDOMINAL PAIN

I AM A 25 YR OLD WOMAN WITH NO HISTORY OF ANY MEDICAL PROBLEMS IN MY LIFE. THE ONLY MEDICATION I HAVE TAKEN IS BIRTH CONTROL PILLS FOR 5 YRS. ALL OF A SUDDEN I STARTED GETTING THESE DULL BACK ACHES IN MY MID TO LOWER BACK IN NOVEMBER. THEY PERSISITED FOR OVER A MONTH AND STARTED TRAVELING AROUND TO MY SIDES AND AROUND TO MY ABDOMAN ON BOTH SIDES.I WENT TO MY REGULAR DOCTOR AND HE SENT ME FOR AN ABDOMINAL ULTRASOUND. THE RESULTS SHOWED THAT I HAD 2 LARGE GALL STONES BUT EVERYTHING ELSE LOOKED FINE. THE DR SAID THAT SINCE MY PAIN WAS ON BOTH SIDES OF MY BACK AND ABDOMAN, THE PAIN PROBABLY WASN'T COMING FROM THE GALL STONES BUT I SHOULD HAVE IT REMOVED ANYWAY BECAUSE IT WOULD ONLY CAUSE ME PROBLEMS LATER.
I WENT TO SEE A SURGEON AND HE FELT I SHOULD HAVE THE GALL BLADDER REMOVED BECAUSE IF I PLAN TO GET PREGNANT THE GALL BLADDER WOULD ACT UP AND IT COULD BE DANGEROUS FOR PREGNANCY. HE ALSO SAID THAT THE PAIN I HAD IS PROBABLY CAUSED BY THE STONES.
I THEN WENT FOR A SECOND OPINION AND A THIRD OPINION BECAUSE I DID NOT THINK THE PAIN WAS FROM THE STONES BECAUSE IT WAS NOT THE USUAL SYMPTOMS AND I HAD NEVER HAD AN ATTACK BUT ALL THE DRS I SAW SAID THAT THE STONES WERE CAUSING THE PAIN AND THAT I SHOULD HAVE THE SURGERY.
I HAD MY GALL BLADDER REMOVED IN FEBRUARY AND TWO WEEKS LATER THE SAME EXACT PAIN WAS BACK.
MY INTERNAL MEDICINE DR THOUGHT THAT THE PAIN MAY BE MY BACK BECAUSE I SIT ALL DAY AT WORK AND MAYBE SOMETHING IN MY SPINE WAS OUT OF WHACK OR I HAD A PINCHED NERVE. MY X-RAY SHOWED NOTHING. I WAS SENT TO A CHIROPRACTOR FOR THERAPY BUT NO IMPROVEMENT.
I STILL WAS NOT CONVINCED IT WAS MY BACK SO I ASKED FOR AN MRI. THEY DID AN MRI OF MY SPINE AND FOUND THAT I HAVE A BULGING DISC AND A HERNIATED DISC AND AN OSTEOMA IN MY LUMBAR SPINE. BUT MY PAIN IS MORE TOWARD THE THORACIC SPINE. MY DR STILL WANTS ME TO CONTINUE THE PHYSICAL THERAPY EVEN THOUGH SHE ADMITTED THAT SHE 'S PUZZLED WHY I HAVE THIS PAIN.
I HAVE ALSO HAD A BURNING FEELING IN MY UPPER ABDOMAN SINCE THE GALL BLADDER SURGERY AND CONSTANT BURPING AFTER I EAT. MY BOWEL MOVEMENTS ARE NORMAL.
I AM VERY WORRIED ABOUT WHY I HAVE HAD THIS PAIN FOR SO LONG AND I FEEL LIKE JUST BECAUSE I AM ONLY 25 THE DOCTORS DON'T WANT TO DO ANY TESTS BECAUSE THEY DON'T THINK IT COULD BE ANYTHING SERIOUS. THIS PROBLEM HAS GONE ON FOR 6 MONTHS AND NO AGRESSIVE TESTING HAD BEEN DONE.
I FEEL LIKE I HAD MY GALL BLADDER REMOVED FOR NO REASON AND NOW I HAVE TO DEAL WITH POTENTIAL PROBLEMS WITH THAT JUST BECAUSE DRS CAN'T LISTEN TO ME AND REALIZE THAT MY PROBLEM MAY BE DEEPER THAN THE EYE CAN SEE.
PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR SUGGESTIONS ON POSSIBLE CAUSES AND POSSIBLE TESTS THAT I SHOULD GET DONE. SHOULD I SEE A GASTRO DR?

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP
FROM
CHRISTINA
Related Discussions
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I would suggest seeing a GI specialist.  For the upper abdominal pain, you may want to consider an upper endoscopy or upper GI series to rule out causes such as an ulcer, inflammation of the upper digestive tract, or GERD.  

If the pain has been present since the gallbladder surgery, you may want to consider Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction - which can increase its symptoms after gallbladder surgery.  A fatty meal ultrasound would be the first test to evaluate for this.  

Regarding the back pain, if the symptoms continue despite physical therapy, it may be time to be referred to an orthopedic surgeon to consider if surgery would be an option to treat the pain.  Most herniated disks resolve with conservative therapy, but there are a minority that requires surgery.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Medical Weblog:
kevinmd_b
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 42 year old male who has always had good health until recently. i actually still have good health as far as all the indicators go - except for pain that occur in my upper chesty area radiating through to my back. It occurs worst at night almosty always between 1.00 am and 2.00 am, enough to keep me awake for upto 4 hours, and I'm learning not to keep my wife awake. The first attack occured November 2002 and then nothing happened again until November 2003. Since then i have had periods of regular attacks and then nothing for weeks. At first i was treated for reflux and acid but a barium meal extra indicated no problem. I have cut out coffee and cola completely and most most fatty meals and no eating after 8.00pm. This has reduced the pain and incident - but the pain is still there. All an ultra sound has indicated is that my gall bladder has thickened walls, but no indicatio of stones. I somehow think my problem is upper digestive not the stomach, even though i have hadf burning pains in that area, but not since changing my diet. I'm really looking for a cause before I accept too much treating of the symptoms. My symptoms seem to read similar to your own.

Kind regards
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Avatar_n_tn
One thing that I would suggest, is definitely to listen to your body.  There is nothing to lose there.  If you think that it is gastro-enterology related, then tell your doctor's that.  Tell them what kind of test you want.  Perhaps an upper and/or lower GI series.  It sounds like it could even be a hiatal hernia, which is very treatable.  I used to have terrible attacks ... in my upper abdominal/chest area around to my back.  The pain was so severe sometimes, that even if someone sat down on the bed and lightly jostled it, while I was laying down, the pain brought me to tears.  Believe me, not all my attacks were that bad.  But after many, many tests .... they finally did an upper GI, and that told the truth.  I had a very inflamed hiatal hernia.  After several days of medication (Zantac, then and now)the fire went away.  My problem is not everyone's .... but if you have similar symptoms and no idea what is wrong, then it is worth asking your doctor.  

Good luck, and Feel Better!
Enbee
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Avatar_n_tn
I TOO AM A YOUNG 35 Y/O FEMALE, WITH NO MEDICAL HISTORY, NO MEDICATIONS, ONE DAY JUST WOKE UP WITH BACK PAIN......LUMBAR, AND THORACIC.......PAIN BETWEEN THE SHOULDER BLADES, NO INJ, NO TRAUMA.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 34-year-old female. I have had a upper abdominal pain associated with back pain for long time. I have done the abdominal CT, Ultra sound, and upper entroscope and found nothing. The pain is constantly there and never gone away. Now I am very worried about Pancreas Cancer, should I? What do you think? Thanks.

Lilly
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A related discussion, Weird chest symptoms was started.
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