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Undiagnosed Persistent Upper Left Abdominal PAin
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Undiagnosed Persistent Upper Left Abdominal PAin

I am a 39 year old female. For the past 2 1/2 months I have been experiencing upper left quadrant abdominal pain.  It tends to localize below my ribs but above the navel, about 3 inches left of center.  My side also gets tender and my mid back gets muscle spasmy. The pain has sometimes feels like a very tender pulled muscle, but also will feel like a sharper twinge (similar to what I've experienced sometimes when jogging).  When the condition was most accute in 4 wks weeks ago, even my skin to the slightest touch was ultrasensitive - almost like a rope-burn type of sensation.  I also had a wiggly, twitchy feeling in the muscles there in the upper lft. abd. and into my left side/flank.

I have NO nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. I have not lost any weight and energetically do not feel sluggish. My oral temperature ranged from 98.8 - 100 F.  I also have pain in my left groin that feels like a groin pull and also near the front of of my hip bone.  I've also noticed that occasionally my left arm feels heavy and weak, with the grip in my left hand feeling weak as well.

I have had xrays, IVP, ultrasound and CT scan.  Initially my urine dip showed blood and it was thought i might have a kidney stone, but in further testing the urine showed 0 - 3 red blood cells, which I am told are normal levels, and the IVP did not turn up anything.  Only the ultrasound turned up a very small (1.6cm) hemmorhaggic cyst on my left ovary. The gynocologist did not think my pain, being up so high,  was caused by the cyst, and instead felt the cause was visceral and definitely not gynocological or musculoskeletal.  The CT scan also showed normal, although I was told there was some fluid in my pelvic area, which was attributed to the cyst.  All of my blood work has returned completely normal, including amylase / lipase levels.

I was then sent to a Gastroenterologist who asked me some questions, concluded it was muscular and sent me home to take ibuprofen.  She did not do a rectal or scope me.  Stool sample results came back normal:  no e coli, no giardia, no parasites, no blood.

I have been prescribed darvocet, levsin, ibuprofen and naproxen, none of which have made any difference.

Also - have eliminated dairy, alcohol, caffeine from my diet and added extra fiber. I eat no red meat and haven't for approx. 20 years.  I have smoked on and off for approx 20 years, most recently less than 5 / day, but have been smoke-free since 1 / 1 / 2000.  I do have GERD, but treated myself with herbs and diet and have not had a reccurrence in about a year.

I am at a loss for which way to turn for help next.  My primary care physician seems to be at a loss as well. I also had some thoracic and cervical xrays to see if I might have a pinched nerve causing the pain - nothing apparent showed.

Can you help with any suggestions as to what might be the diagnosis, or references to someone in my area (Boston) who might be able to help? I am also concerned perhaps something was missed on the CT or KUB xrays.  Should I have a chest xray?  Ultrasound of my spleen / pancreas area?  Did the CT scan cover this?

I appreciate your time and consideration and any advice you can offer.
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Dear Carol D,
It is impossible to shed any light on your symptoms via the Internet.  Your symptoms are not suggestive of a gastrointestinal problem.  If, however, your symptoms persist then you should yalk to your primary physician and express your concerns regarding the possibility of gastrointestinal disease.  Your primary doctor could arrange for stool studies as well as decide if any type of endoscopy is needed.
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I, and many others, have been experiencing these exact same symptoms for many years...
very very frustrating with no end in sight...

Rob
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   HI JUST A SHORT NOTE TO TELL U I HAVE THE SOME TROUBLE.  HAVE HAD ALL THE TESTS U CAN HAVE AND NOTHING IS SHOWING UP.  THEN AFTER A WHILE THE DOCTORS THINK ITS IN UR HEAD CAUSE THEY DONT KNOW WHATS WRONG.  MAKES ME FEEL BAD I KNOW ITS NOT IN MY HEAD.  LET ME KNOW IF U FIND OUT ANYTHING.  I WILL DO THE SAME.

    THANK U
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I have similiar problems that Carol has. I am a 48 yr. old female, that recently quit smoking(after 26 years), I thought I was attributing all of my problems to that. I also have hypothyroidism, and with the lack of nicotine present, my dosage was increased and then this problem arose. I have been to my surgeon complaining of severe pain underneath my left rib cage, also, and sometimes it protrudes around my side almost touching my backbone. I had a gi series performed and it showed that the barium drank stayed right in my stomach and took 4 hours or so to pass through, that's when my dr. started treating me for an ulcerated piloric valve. Medication prescribed--300mg. zantac a day, with the latest drug being dolobid. I go for more catscans this coming week. Maybe this has helped you?? And Lord only knows this pain is certainly NOT in my head.
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Your symptoms, sound just like mine, I've got 3 gastro-docs scratching their heads.... I've had an endoscopy, a colonoscopy a CT scan, Tons of blood work stool testing urinalysis etc. They know I have esophageal spasms and reflux, I take prevacid and LIBRAX, I've lost about 38lbs. I have good days and bad days, I just had a bad time last weekend, they did the amylase and Lipase testing-Negative this coming week I am having an MRCO, which is an MRI of the pancreas, I'm so scared that I could have Pancreatic cancer, I'm in my early 40's and I have a 4 year old child, so the prospect terrifies me. My brother lives in the Boston area and he raves about the LEAHY CLINIC in fact he want's me to come up there, I just might have to... Good luck to you
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I noticed in the previous post that I misspelled the name of the test I'm having it's called an MRCP-Magnetic  Resonance Cholangio Pancreatography.  I have been having my problems since July. and I am reaching my wits end....When they did my CT scan , they did find that I have a small kidney stone on the right side and though they do not think it really has anything to do with my pain , they are sending me to a kidney specialist. Just curious, have you noticed any tie in to your menstrual cycle??When I ask if it could be hormonal or enzymatic , they look at me like I am nuts....Good luck to you...MMN
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I noticed that I mis-spelled the name of the test that I am having next week, It is called an MRCP, which stands for Magnetic Resonance Cholangio pancreatography.  I am also seeing a kidney specialist on the 29th as from my CT scan they did find that I have a kidney stone on my right side, although they really don't think this is my problem I still have to get it checked out further.  Just curious, do you notice any correlation between the pain and your menstrual cycle????
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Grammoo: does the zantac help? do you notice if eating affects the pain? In my case, I don't think it does.

MMN: I have been trying to determine if I notice a difference with my menstual cycle. This month I had the sharp twinge pain all day no change the day before my period.

Keep me posted on any diagnosis.  THANKS!
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Hello,
     Your systoms are alittle like mine. But I have a chronic uncurable disease of my pancreas called Chronic Pancreatitis .The cause of mine has not been found yet. I was dx at the age of 18yrsold in May of 1996 and now its 4yrs later I'm still trying to find the answers. I'm 23yrsold almost and as every year that goes bye I get more infections and attacks of my pancreatitis. The enzyme blood test that you said of the amylase and the lipase ,has results of numbers and not negative or postive ,but if you counts are alittle above normal or alot than you might have pancreatitis ,but this only one test that you need to firgurie out if it is or not. the other tests are,
ERCP with manomatory ,MRCP ,Ct.scans,EUS,ultrasounds, all of the pancreas and stomach.
The doctor who does this is a gastro.specialist.
. I hope this info.helps alittle.
I have to go now as for my pancreatitis is atcing up.
thanks for listening.
yours truly
tammi G.
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I just arrived home from a hospital stay.  The pain you describe is so similar to what I experienced.  My diagnosis is colonic splenic flexure distention.  I don't yet know the cause or treatment, but will post another note when I find out next week. I do know what happens to the colon.  For some reason the splenic flexure on the upper left quadrant of the colon, up to the rib cage and around the side fills up with gas and extends upward to the diaphram.  The gas is trapped and cannot be expelled.  Thus causing severe pain and cramping not unsimilar to a severe muscle spasm. This was found by a simple x-ray of the abdomen, then I had to have an emergency colonoscopy, to find out the cause of the obstruction.  I'll let you know
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I TO HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM,I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT EVERY TEST THEY CAN THINK OF,AND ABOUT 14 DIFFERENT MEDS.DOCTORS ARE ALL SCRATCHING THIER HEADS,I HPE SOMEBODY IN THIS GROUP CAN COME UP WITH THE RIGHT ANSWER...HAS ANYONES DOCTOR MENTIONED POSSIBLE ADHESIONS????SOMETIMES MY PAIN FEELS LIKE IT IS PULLING WHEN I LIE ON MY RIGHT SIDE...
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I have very same symptoms as Pam and doctor can not determine problem. I would like very much a followup from Pam.
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Does anyone ever feel this discomfort or pain on the right side?  That's where it seems to be affecting me.  My mom says that I have the same symptoms that she had when she first began having trouble with IBS.  The doctor thinks it's stress or all in my head, because he can't find any physical reason for this.  Any ideas??
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I'm amazed to see so many people with the same problem which has not been diagnosed--I have so little faith in doctors. I had the same side pain like a sideache after running almost.  Drs. said I had gall stones & removed my gall bladder.  Guess what? I still have the pain. Also suspect cyst on ovary on L.side. I am nearly 62 & quit smoking 20+ years ago. I'm wondering if there is something wrong with my spleen, liver, etc. I've found it does very little good to go to Dr. unless you have already diagnosed the problem. If you all find out anything, I'd like to hear. I have 4 or 5 friends with same problem.
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I am a 39 yr. old female and 2 weeks ago started experiencing the very same symptoms as described above- pain around the left back area that comes around side up under rib cage and sometimes is on right side under rib cage. I have had an uralysis, x-ray of chest and stomach which has shown nothing. The doctor also told me to increase fiber; however, I exercise and eat a good bit of fiber and don't really think that is my problem. I went from feeling great to having these awful pains. I have been trying desparately to think of what I have done differently and it recently dawned on me that about 15 years ago I ate (probably on an empty stomach) several pieces of sugarless candy and within a couple of hours I had severe stomach and left side pains. It was obvious that something in the sugarless candy caused the pain and I have been very careful to stay away from or eat very little sugarless candy or mints. Several weeks ago I began drinking (a good bit) of sugarless mocha coffe drink with aspartame+ and acesulfame potassium (sweetners). I threw the can away 3 days ago. The pain is not completely gone but I do think it is lessening and less frequent. I hope this is the problem and out of curiousity are there others that have this pain and are consuming the sugarless products?
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For the most part I eat "health food" - and defintely buy products without preservatives or artificial ingredients whenever possible. I defintiely haven't been consuming anything with aspartame ( I heard years ago that the stuff was pretty bad for you). Although - the idea of something in food causing the pain is one I have been contemplating.  Someone mentioned citric acid as causing similar symptoms.  I do believe I eat/drink things that have added citirc acid.  Anyone else heard of or experienced this?

I too already eat a lot of fiber in my normal diet (lots of vegetables and granola / mueseli / wheat bran in the morning. I was also told to increase fiber when they thought I had IBS - which they still haven't given up thinking yet - even though I have none of the typical symptoms ie.frequent diarrhea and/or constipation and lower abdominal cramping.

Today the side stich was pretty bad - like I had just jogged a few miles with this incredible pain.  The muscles closer to the center of my abdomen were also hard like they were knotted or in spasm, yet the original source of the pain did not feel muscular - it felt more intestinal or stomach related.  Yet I didn't feel nausea or gas.

I am very frustrated and it really can get depressing to not know what is causing the pain, having made a number of lifestyle changes (no caffeine, alcohol, dairy; lots of whole foods and herbal supplements for gastro) with no apparent effect on my condition. And no definitive answers or theories from the doctors (including the response to my post here.)

I hope you've discovered what triggers it for you.  Mine pain hasn't left since Dec 1 of this past year. It is always there to varying degrees of diffusion, yet I haven't lost a bit of weight and my appetite is just fine, as is my enery level for the most part.

Again - keep us all posted, if you would, about what you discover.

Thanks!

Carol D.
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I have had the same problem since the early 80's been to many specialist and no knows what to do all they say is IBS now it affects my urinary tract and all they say is they want me to try alosetron or dicetel 50mg.  I know nothing about either drug and my family has colon cancer in it.  I don't understand why a colonoscopy and all the other tests can't give any relief.  I have to eat very small meals or I get sick.  It is getting progressively worse.
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I have the same runners cramp on my left side under breast side and back. Doesn't feel like the muscles but something under the rib cage. I also have sharp pains in my esophagus. I had an endoscopy done and everything was normal. I have a 15 month old
baby that requires alot of attention, stress doesn't help. I have
strange stabbing headaches and the pain will travel from one side to the other. I wonder if these are linked I am always in pain, as soon as one stops the other kicks in.
Anyone with any info. would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely concerned,
Sarah
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I have been having problems for almost a year now.  I was diagnosed with endometriosis.  The surgery didn't work so I was put on lupron.  I get my sixth shot today.  I was getting one a month.  I don't think it is working. I am sitting here in so much pain I can hardly stand it.  My doctor has been giving me darvocet for the pain, but says they are addicting and wants me to take only 2 a day if needed.  That just doesn't work.  She makes me feel like I should be better and it is in my head.  I don't know what to do.  Do you think I may have gastroparisis.  My lower abdomen is bloated and in pain and so is my back.  Any feedback appreciated.

Missjoshua
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I too have many of the symptoms listed above.  However, my left back and chest pain is mostly at night, especially in the early morning hours.  It started last Fall and progressed until I could hardly roll over at night.  The pain then started during the day also so I finally went to the doctor and found out that I had a urinary tract infection.  Was sent to a urologist who ordered a renal ultrasound.  Good news is that nothing was wrong with my kidneys.  Bad news is that I have gallstones.  Was sent to a surgeon who said that gallstone cause pain on the right side and not the left side.  He said I am not having enough gallbladder symtoms (symptoms) to have it taken out yet.  So, I don't know what to do next.  The surgeon told me to go back to my primary physician but she sent me to specialists because she does not know what is wrong with me.  So far my blood tests have all been normal.  Who should I see next?
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I am releived to see so many others are in the same boat as myself.  I started having a sharp "stitch" in my left side right under my rib cage about a year ago.  My rib area is very tender to touch but I don't feel it is the rib.  My dr. (back then) diagnosed me with Chostrocondritis (sp?) much to my agruing that I felt he was wrong.  He told me to take ibuprofin which obviously didn't work.  I went back to the dr. recently and he did an Xray on the chest/rib area whcih revealed no abnormalities.  I have not had a follow up appointment as I don't know what else to tell my dr.  I do have mild persistant asthma, but have never had this problem prior to last year.  I am 30 yr old f slightly overweight but very active (work out 5 days week)and otherwise healthy.. Recently (past few months) I begun to have reflux and frequent gas (burping) but am not sure this is related.  Sometime I experience mild bowel problems in that I feel constipated and may not have a BM for a few days and then I have soft BM's but I would not consider it diarrhea.  The pain is not as intense as it use to be when I first got it, but does feel like a runners stitch.  Anyone else have any suggestions?  Oh yeah, I have increased the fiber in my diet which helped to regulate my BM's, but the pain is still there.
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To Missjoshua:
Does the endometriosis actually cause you pain in your upper left side or only lower left?


To Michaele:
I have heard other people (including my chiropractor) comment that gallstones can cause pain on the left side, even though the gallbladder is on the right side. How did they find the gallstones - throught the ultrasound exam?

To Dawn:
I also had a doctor tell me chostochondritis migfht be invloved because my lower ribs were so sore, but I really didn't feel like there was something wrong with my rib. (My chiro didn't think I had an costochindritis, either.)  Most of the time my pain feels like a runners stitch, too. Although I also get a duller, almost pulled muscle-like soreness as well, that usually appears closer toward my center and down toward my navel a bit. Recently, too have been experiencing some mild bowel problems: gas, bloating, feeling of constipation.  When I have the bowel symptoms, my stomache, right int he center, also can feel crampy.  Starting to wonder if I don't have some form of IBS, even thought I don't have all the classic symptoms (diarrhea, constipation). The pain is also clearly different from what I experience with reflux (GERD) which I also have episodes of on occasion. Does any of this sound familiar?

I sawe a traditional Chinese doctor last week who thinks I have trapped gas in the intestine (probably at the splenic flexure area, where the intestine makes a right angle turn around the spleen just below the rib cage on your left side). He says the gas can cause the intestine to balloon out a bit and casue some soreness in the area.  Not entirely sure what I think of this theory but it's more than any of the traditional Western (allopathic) doctors have told me.

If anyone has any answers or cures (even partial cures!) sure would love it if you keep posting to this thread.

If anyone wants to email me directly my address is:  c_defeciani***@****
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sound like a digestive problem to me.  that can effect your spleen and if it becomes underactive, inflammation in the area can follow.  First, no meat, no dairy, no wheat and no sugar. If you have food sensitivities, you'll know about it fairly soon.  But it takes time for the inflammation to settle so eat Fish, olive oil, blackcurrent seed oil, evening primrose oil. No meat except lamb which will nourish the spleen and digestion. Take acidopholus culture in dry powdered form 3 g daily. Use bitters in herbal formulas from appropriately qualified people or buy Swedish Bitters from your local health store.  Most importantly take homeopathic Kali bichromium. Do yoga and tai chi or pilates.  Make sure your bowels are working really well. Take slippery elm and marshmallow tea regularly to soothe your digestion.  Do it now so you're not riddled with arthritis later on in life.  Drink celery juice - fresh every day.  Good luck.
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Thanks, Deidre.  I have been free of dairy for the past 2 months.  I don't really eat much meat except for chicken and fish (can't bring myself to eat lamb) so I do eat a lot of soy products (also lots of olive oil).  More difficult to cut out the wheat, but I'll give it a go.  I have been taking refrigerated acidophilus (with other probioitics) every day (2 capsules), with a glass of water first thing in the morning before eating anything.  I've also just started digestive enzymes.

Do you know much about homepoipathy?  I recently had someone suggest I take Nat Mur.  What is the Kali bichromium for?

Thanks so much for all your suggestions.

Carol D  :-)
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Hi again Deidre -

one other question I forgot to ask in my previous post:  do you know if they can test for an underactive spleen?  If so how (for instance, is it somethinbg that would show up in bloodwork?)

Thanks again -

Carol D.
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I have constant pain in my lower left side and back. I have had a
kidney stone test and it isn't that. I have been on Prilosec for
over 10 years. I do have Gerd and I don't have a gallbladder.It
was removed over 22 years ago. The pain worsen's at night usually
waking me around 3:00 AM and is a stabbing pain. It is even hard
to turn over in bed. I had pancreatitis 2 years ago as a result
of an ERCP in which the Dr. was attempting to place a stint to
hold the duct open and it dislodged an I ended up with an amalyce of over 3000 and deathly ill. This feels similar in pain.
I had a cat scan but haven't heard the results yet. Where do you
suggest I go for a proper diagnosis and treatment?

***@****
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To Carol and Diedre and others...

I forgot to add I have been a vegetarian for 12 years.  On rare occassions I eat seafood which is typically salmon or crab.  I do eat dairy, cheese and yogurt are the main culprits.  I do drink soymilk.  I should add that a few days before I began experiencing this pain "runners stitch"  I got intense lower ab pain that felt like gas.  It was so painful I was doubled over. This was all happening when my grandmother was gravly ill from cancer and I was stressed about her impending death.   I almost feel like it is "trapped" gas so there could be some truth to what the Chinese doctor said.  I noticed, also that the "stitch" is worse when I am full and feel like I have to make a BM (bowel movement).  (which, sometimes I do and sometimes I can't)  I have also noticed taht sometime when I try to make a BM I feel a lot of strain in my center abdominal area which, in turn makes me get a feeling of reflux/pressure in my diaphram area.  In addition, I think it gets worse about a week before my period and am wondering if this is due to hormal changes, which typically cause me to have more BMs around that time of the month, even before this pain started.  

CAROL:  did the Chinese doctor give you any ideas as to how to remove the trapped gas? and did he say anything about how long this could last?  Like I mentioned this is going on for about a year now for me.

Also, I do take yoga about once a week for 60 to 75 minutes as well as work out; bike, walk, eliptical trainer, step aerobics five days a week for 45 minutes and always stretch 20 minutes afterwards.  I am not sure what else to try.  But I do beleive it may be something intestinal and I feel it very well could be the trapped gas theory.  Any more ideas, please keep me informed.  My email address is ***@****  if anyone cares to email me directly.
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Well, somehow I feel somewhat better knowing that I am not alone in this. I am 53 yrs of age and reside in the Carribbean. I live a very active lifestyle and have eaten 'well' for most of my life i.e. lots of fiber, greens and meditterranean cooking with olive oil as my 'fat' choice.  I have had a history of diarrhea and some 10 years ago was diagnosed and cured for giardia after three brutle bouts of diarrhea ( I would lose 18lbs in a week).  The Lahey clinic outside of Boston is TRULY wonderful, however, I might add that my local doctor finally prescribed medications for giardia as a process of exclusion as giardia is VERY difficult to diagnose--it worked!!  During my menapausal years I was diagnosed, in France, as pre-diabetic and confirmed with the glucose tolerance test among many others.  This of course set me to artificial sweeteners i.e. 'Equal', much to my chagrin.  Four years ago, I again had a bout with diarrhea, this lasts for approx. 4-6 weeks and took me through yet another battery of tests- no conclusions.  My current scenario of symtoms (symptoms) started in August with exactly what is being described here: left quadrant pain just under the rib cage that feels much like a strained muscle and certainly a gaseous feeling.  Initially I took Deflatine, an anti gas tablet, muscle relaxant and topical gel similar to a Ben-gay, but with greater results.  In the area of pain I also notice an elevation in my lowest left side rib cage.  Being active, I merely attributed this to muscle strain, however, now I have experienced diarrhea for some four weeks.  All blood tests and stool samples are great.  I had an endo scopy last Tues. and am still awaiting results, but the doctor could not pass the left splenic flexure due to the incredible pain.  As I await the test results, I have stopped the artificial sweetener 'sorbitol' which I discovered was in my chewing gum and apparently known to be undesirable for intestinal disorders, I am taking a tranguilizer, Equanil as I cannot rule out IBS entirely and I am taking Questran (colestyramine) which a medical doctor friend turned homeopathic medicine has reccommended as he feels there could be a chance that the bile from the gall bladder could ultimately be the cause, albeit this is rare.  Also I ingest two other intestinal liners prior to each meal.  I can only eat very small quantities and at that I eat rice, poached eggs and some ground beef.  At this point after three days of this treatment, I am feeling better, in that the diarrhea has subsided.  I will keep you posted on my results and I will also check back on others progress.  I would definitely like to hear the tests results of Pam re: colonic splenic flexure.
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Started 2 years ago- nausea, stomach under ribcage pain-left side. A year ago burping. I burp all day, and now a pain in the jaw, sore throat. had fibroscopy and endoscope- nothing. Loosing alot calcium through the urine, white blood cells a little inflamed. I am a 48 year old women.   Thanks.
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To Dawn:

I've eaten predemoniately semi-vegetarian for nearly 20 years --to different degrees at differen stages o fmy life--, always ate fish and over the last 3-4 years have been eating free-range naturally raised chicken.

Since January of this year I cut out all dairy, but doesn't seem to have made much of a difference.  I'm starting to add some back into mydiet a little at a time.

I've had the pain for 3 months now, and when it began I had been experiencing some stress at work, but it wasn't new:  I had an ongoing conflict with a colleague for the past year.  My abdominal pain (runner's stitch) showed up aroung Dec 4.

I do think my "stitch" is worse after eating! It just feels ike the pressure of a full stomach, with not enough room inside my abdomen- maybe because of gas? Straining or bearing down or laughing hard tends to increase the soreness (for awhile in Jan., even deep breathing hurt), and I also feel it in my center above my navel up to my ribs- the muscle there can sometimes feel rock hard and almost feels like it's pulled - but I know I haven't injured myself like that.

I, too, find it's worse about a week before my period!  Perhaps these are no coincidences being so similar to your experience.

The Chinese doc made me drink a tea (3xs / day for 5 days) that I couldn't get down after the second day.  They took my herbs/roots/etc. and are making them into capsules (easier to get down) which I need to pick up today. I will have to take 3 in hte a.m. & 3 in the p.m. for 2 months.  Will let you know how I fare.  He didn't tell me how or why the gas gets trapped there and how long it lasts.

Is your pain pretty much constant to varying degrees?

Feel free to email me directly at c_defeciani***@****. Also - where are you located?

Anyone else out there in the

Pam:  are you still out ther and can you tell us more about the splenic flexure diagnosis you received?

Mickie: Are you in the Boston area?  I am, but can't get a referral to a Dr. outside my HMO (Harvard Pilgrim). Can you tell me more about your experience at Lahey, if you've been.

If anyone out there is in the Boston area, I've been pondering starting a support group for this particular undiagnosed condition.  Any interest?

I'll keep posting here with any additional info I might get.

Thanks to all of you.

Carol D.
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It's amazing we can all be suffering from the same undiagnoseable disease!  I, too, have the same complaint; left side, lower rib cage, stitch-like.  I describe it as a pulling or popping pain.  I've had it for quite some time.  Over ten years ago, I was diagnosed with costochondritis (catch-all), but I would tend to think this pain is not the same rib pain I have at other times.  I happen to be getting my period now, but have never associated it with the pain before.  If it is gastro related due to bloated intestines or trapped gas, I guess the pain would be worsened with the increased size of the uterus and other bloating associated with fluid increase at this time of the month (this would, of course, on effect women!)

I'll check in again.  There is comfort in common ground.

E-mail ***@****
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Carol, Seems like we are two peas in a pod, so to speak.  The pain does vary, put is always present in some capacity.  I have also noticed that if I hold something against my left side, say for instance my laundry basket, I tend to flintch.  I wouldn't say the pain is unbearable, but it certainly makes me aware something is not right.  I am in the Philadelphia area.

Is anyone else experiencing numbness in the left leg?   I am and am curious if this is another symptom people are having.  I was trying to figure out if there could be a pinched nerve somewhere that would effect the abdominal area as well as cause me left leg numbness.  Of course they could be completely unrelated.  

I must also add, that sometimes I feel I have made an association betweeen the "pain/stitch" and other times I feel there is no association.  

I am trying to be more and more aware of things, foods, etc that make the pain more intense.  I just wanted to mention that Carol had metioned a "rock hard" feeling in the abdominal area.  I get that too.  I can't suck my stomach in and my stomach feels distended.  It is royal pain in the butt because it makes all my clothes snug around the middle.  I was wondering, I have been trying to loose weight and have been unsuccessful.  Is anyone else having this problem?  It seems most people are losing weight.  
As always, keep me posted on any breaking news.  Thanks and everyone hang in there.  Dawn
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Hi Dawn -

I don't get numbness in my left leg, but I do get pain. It has also been in my left hip for the past couple of weeks. I have thought about the pinched nerve idea, but I thought if that were the case, my chiropractor would've been able to fix me up.  It seems there is a direct connection between vertebrae T11, T12, L1, L2, and the spleen, large intestine, small intestine, stomach, etc.  Ther reason I thought I had something going on with nerve pain was because at the onset of this, my skin in the upper left abdominal area felt burning and "wiggly" or "crawling" (the only way I can describe the sensation), extremely sensitive to even the slightest touch (I understand what you mean when you say you flinch if the laundry basket brushes against your side!)  The neuromuscular massage therapist I saw thought that pain was caused by my fascia (the covering between the skin and over the muscles) was inflammed.

The problem I have with all the diagnoses is that no one seems to know what the underlying casue is.  Whay was my fascia inlflammed? What casued my abdominal muscles to spasm?  Was something pressing on a nerve (tumor, endometriosis, etc.) that casued the nerve pain?

We are definitely 2 peas in a pod when it comes to thinking one minute that there is a relation between the pain and something (hormonal changes, ovulation, food, eating) and the next minute not noticing any correlation. There is nothing consistent!  In fact -- Friday night I atually ate somne garlic anchovy cheese pizza and thought for sure I would experience some symptoms, but I was just fine (and I haven't been eating cheese in 2 1/2 months!)

I haven't lost any weight (haven't been trying to) and my appetite has been good all along, except for a few days when they tried me on naproxen and it gave me gastritis.  I'm glad not to have lost weight because I thought that would be a bad sign.  I weigh about 129 and am 5'5".

I had a 2nd pelvic ultrasound today (external and also with an internal probe through the vagina). Will have the results in 2 days or so -- but the tech did tell me that everything looked good to her. We'll see what the radiologist says.

Please keep me posted Dawn, especially because your case and mine seem to have so many similarities.

Again, feel free to email me anytime at c_defeciani***@****

Thanks.

Carol D.
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My son 14 yrs old has had severe upper left sided stomach pain.  We have done the blood tests and the cat scan.  He h as been vomiting off and on since thursday nite (3-9)   No one can help us  ;he is on a anti vomitiinng med which makes him sleepy and he is on a pain med.  He has not been able to return to school.  He just lies there and moans in pain and spasm.  The doctor's office told me to keep them posted.  Posted with what  The symptoms have not changed since last Friday.  I am hoping to have someone help me find a diagonsis.  They have given up??  My child is gettting some liquids for a few hours before he vomits so he is not completley dehydrated.  I wanted them to give him a iv drip last nite and admit him but they couldn't get in touch with our primary care physican and the physician on call said to send us home and see what happens.  I am frustrated please help if you can   please email me at my address ***@****  thanks
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I just got the last results of test after test today.  I was told I have spastic colon.  I know better.  Your symptoms are so much like mine we could be twins.  Mine started Nov 1998.  Had problems with my shoulder and associated pain in back to the shoulder.  Had surgery in May 99 for my left shoulder but pain in my back and around my rib cage never went away.  Just like you said, the pain is sometimes so sensitive, like burning and sometimes like freezing.  I told the last doctor that Librax and Prevacid didn't help so you know he told me to continue the Librax and Prevacid today.  Anyway, I have been injected four times in my back with steroids, taken every medicine developed for arthritis, even went to a shrink, thinking maybe it was in my head, then sent to pain management doctor, who wanted to do nerve block but I had to be in the burning pain condition at the time of the block.  

I have had all the tests you mentioned.  I also have a hernia in the center of my diaphram and I am thinking mine might be adhesions from surgery I had for gallbadder removal in 1976.  Had an incisional hernia in 79 and again in 91, both being repaired with surgery.  So I'm thinking I might have adhesions from all this surgery and the hernia.  I am at my wits end.  Like you I am active and eat right.  I'm so glad I logged on to this site tonight.  I have been crying because I feel so alone.
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Well - I just got back the results of my second ultrasound (this time they did both an external and a transvaginal which allows them to better see things, particulalrly the lining of the uterus). Everything is completely normal  So I guess I'm back to square one again with this thing. Part of me is glad that I appear so healthy from the results of all my tests, but the nagging abdominal pain really can get me down, too, thinking there's got to be something they are missing.

I am getting a second opinion from a Dr. who was scheduled by the company that provides short term disability insurance to my employer.  Not sure wehat kind of doctor he is but...we'll see.  Also still scheduled for a 2nd opinion from another gastro doc in mid April.

I'll keep posting if they discover anything (and even if they don't.) Hope you all will too.

Carol D.
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Well - I just got back the results of my second ultrasound (this time they did both an external and a transvaginal which allows them to better see things, particulalrly the lining of the uterus). Everything is completely normal  So I guess I'm back to square one again with this thing. Part of me is glad that I appear so healthy from the results of all my tests, but the nagging abdominal pain really can get me down, too, thinking there's got to be something they are missing.

I am getting a second opinion from a Dr. who was scheduled by the company that provides short term disability insurance to my employer.  Not sure what kind of doctor he is but...we'll see.  Also still scheduled for a 2nd opinion from another gastro doc in mid April.

I'll keep posting if they discover anything (and even if they don't.) Hope you all will too.

Carol D.
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I have had moderate to severe bloating for about a year now. I put on an extra 20 pounds in the past three years afetr cessation of smoking.I have been diagnosed with general anxiety problems. I have no gall bladder. The past few days have had left arm, shoulder and back aching and painful. Had stress and heart related tests a few months ago. All were normal. I too am much worse with the bloating, gas, and abdominal pain the week before my period. (not to mention the emotional plungs during that time) I recently started on soy trying to achieve natural remedy as opposed to HRT, which can cause weight gain. I am not extremely overweight, just 20 lbs.It is a relief to know that others share in this experience. God Bless
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I am only 22 and developed these same symptoms after beind diagnosed with Barrets Esophogous. I've had every test done - I've had the endoscopy 3 times and the condition has improved. But the question is - these spasm like pains in my upper left side of my abdomen. My gastronologist prescribed Pamine, a drug used for ulcers, but no alcers here. My condition began painfully : Ive tried prilosec, nothing. Prevacid - nothing - increased it to twice a day and no more nasty stuff coming up anymore. I've also relied on herbs lately too. Chemical sensitive herbs, acidophodous, colon guard and have prescribed meds for nauseau, stress, and stomach spasms. I havent go the biopsy results from the endoscopy surgery from a week ago.
Just thought i would share some insight. -  herbs really work and get some pamine. Ive found that it may be colic - some stone somewhere, I'm gonna follow up on this as well

g'luck
WV
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It is scary to see so many people have been undiagnosed with the same "stitch"like pain. I've had it for  a couple of months now. It is driving me insane. I also have IBS and fibromyalgia and depression. My problems started with diarrhea and a reaction of bloating and pain due to sulfites. It got so bad I've lost weight. My stomach hurts still but again there is no pattern. I'm on a sulfite free diet and tried no meat wheat milk etc but with little progress. I even find it hard to drink water sometimes as I am full of gas. The stitch never goes away and is sometimes worse than other. I've started physiotherapy around the same time this all started, walking every day. I'm wondering if there is a connection. I also have so much noise in my bowel after eating and of course a lot of pain, gas etc.

Doctors keep saying it's IBS and stress. I've had blood tests for liver gallbladder and pancreas functions, stool analysis, X-rays of stomach and bowell, all normal. My back hurts and the pain starts from my neck to my waist and all around the left rib. Got heart checked also. Seen a chiro but after regular visits, still no improvement. Tried yogurt tablets, eve prim oil even digestive enzymes..... HELP !
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Hi everyone,, Just an update on some of my symptoms.. The other day I had the worst pain I felt in a long while.  It caqme on very suddenly.  The pain in my left side was just as though someone had jabbed a knife in my left side by my ribs and began to twist it.. it was horrible.  When I tried to move the pain became so intense I just froze dead in my tracks.  A few minutes later, the pain vanished as quickly as it came on.. weird, huh?  Anyway, the following day, I think it was, I got the same sharp pain in my lower abdominal area.  The pain stopped and I felt instantly better.  Anyway, I am now in the first two days of my period and the pain in my side is worse.  I don't know if this is related or not as there are a few men stating they have the same pain.  But the pain is definetly more noticeable now.  Althought the pain has been worse I have had less problems with my bowel habits.  They have been more regular and "noram;" the past few weeks.  It is so bizarre.  I have been keeping up with adding fiber, whcih I fell has helped in some way.  I have not been getting my reflux nearly as bad in the past few weeks and am wondering if this is due to me stopping my asthma medication of Singulair or just because... Hmm.  Anyway just wanted to give an update.  Smiles to all and keep on chugging.  Dawn
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it's great to know that i'm not alone with these symptoms,and it's REALLY great to know that this is not in my head which is how all of the doctors i've seen make me feel.all the tests i've had over the last 3 years have been normal,but i still have the pain and bloating that sometimes is so bad i look 8 months pregnant.i hope they find out soon what causes this because it seems to be happening to too many of us.
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I have been shuffling through all these reponses and it reminded me of my own visit to the gyn.  I had a lot of bloating and vague pain in the belly, weight gain, intermittent diarrhea, and mood swings.  He attributes these symptoms to my premenopausal age of 46 and suggested low dose birth control pills.  It definitely improved the abdominal problem but made my irritability worse.  Apparently I am one of the rare women who have such a side effect.  I know others with similar experiences who had good results.  He stated that such symptoms are very common in premenopausal women(hormone swings).  I also thought about an article I read in the local paper about a man in his 50's with many of the same bizarre complaints in the abdomen but he also had numbness in various parts of the body and increasing forgetfulness.  It turned out that he had Pernicious anemia which is a result of Vitamin B12 deficiency.  He now receives shots and is much improved.  Hope all of you resolve your problems.  It is very frustrating.
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I have the same symptoms as most of you, left side cramp-ache-spasm. I have had an endoscopy for esophagal
pain ( no reflux, or burping, just pain) came back normal. I have what seems to be a pinched nerve in my shoulder area, have been to chiropractor, the x-rays show a slight curve in the center of my back but doesn't seem to be enough to cause this side pain.
I have been having adjustments for awhile now and the pain is still there. Getting worse. I also have these strange headaches
aches, and stabbing pains, my scalp is super sensitive where the pain is. I wonder if these are related? Had CT Scan/normal.
Had 2 chest x-rays/normal and blood work normal.
I wonder if stress plays a part in causing this? My symptoms started near a death in my family back in July99 that left me devistated. Anyhow I am still searching for some answers.

Sincerely,
Sarah

Something is going on here, all the Docs seeing us need to get together with our charts and histories and figure out what this is!!!

PLEASE EMAIL ME WITH YOUR COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS.
THANKS
***@****
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I went to my local herb shop awhile back thinking I might need to
detoxify and cleanse my body, while talking to the lady there she told me about this new alternative way of diagnosing by looking through your eyes called Iridology she said the iridologist comes every three months and I could try that to see what direction that pointed me in. The owner was telling me how the iridologist could see things that have happened to you  in the past, broken bones, surgeries etc. and can tell you whats wrong with you now.
This Iridology sounds like some high tech fortune telling to me

I am like all of you though with this side pain and wanting to know what it is. I found out she was going to be in town today, so I went by to see what she had to say about me.

She pretty much told me what I was feeling. She said that I have a SPIROKETE BACTERIUM PARASITE    via blood born, caused by an insect bite ( tick, mosquito etc. )  She said that it was hanging around my spleen and that was why my side was hurting.

She put me on      SpiroKete (to kill the parasite) 2 bottles
                  
                   Aloe Vera Detoxifying Formula



When I am through       Herbs of Light Blood & Lymph Cleanse
taking those I have    
take                    Clean Start   (both to wash the parasite
                                        out after it's killed.)

All of this is all natural, herbal, so I am going to give it a try, what can it hurt. Nothing else has worked.

Will post again after I complete the cleansing and let you know how it worked.

Feel free to email me if you want to if you have heard of Iridology to discuss situations etc.

***@****
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You guys have no idea how happy I am that I am not alone with this. I'm 22 years old and I've had The pain in my left side for about 6 months or so. The pain is so bad that It stops me dead in my tracks. It's right at my rib cage goes to the side and to the back. At times the skin feels almost like it has sunburn. It's very sensitive. I also have pain in my esophagus. I get pain in my legs, my bones ache, I also get sharp pains in certain spots on my head. Not a full headache just stabbing jabs in one area at a time. It is just so weird. It's really hard to live like this. I go to the doctor so much they know my voice when I call to see if the doctors are in. You know it's bad when the doctor remembers your name before looking at your chart. I see two doctors at the same office and it seems to be that both of them think it has to do with stress. I use to be on medication for Panic Disorder. I stopped the meds. almost a year ago. Now they want me to go back on them for the pain. I think I'm going to start them this week sometime. I just don't think that it's all in my mind. But, it won't hurt to try. I really hope it works. And I've noticed that the pain seems to be worse around the time I get my period. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. If going back on the medication (Paxil) works for me, I'll be sure to tell you about it. Like I said before, I am so glad that I'm not alone with this. People think I'm nuts when I tell them I get sharp pains in my throat of all places! Please email me if you have any information on this strange thing we all have.
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Hi everyone,  I see there are a few new people to the site, I'm sure much to your dismay.  I saw Steph made a comment about a B12 deficency.  I have been a vegetarian for 12+ years and sometimes vegs can lack B12.  However, I get my blood tested almost annually and ahve not noticed this to be a problem.  Someone sent me a thing on Ovarian and Primary Peritoneal Cancers whcih have similar symptoms.  Also, I hadnt thought of it before someone else commented it.  I also get sharp pains in my head, like a headache and they come on without notice and disappear without warning.  They usually don't last very long.  I don't know if that is related.  I have been getting those type headaches for sometime now, even before my ULQ pain/runner's stitch.  Anyway, hang in there.  There has to be an answer to this.  RIGHT???  Dawn
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HI I READ THAT ONE OF YOU WAS TOLD TO GO TO LAHEY CLINIC, IN BURLINGTON, WELL I WORK THERE AND THEY ARE INCREDIBLE DOCTORS. I WOULD GIVE IT A SHOT IF I WERE YOU. JUST FOR A CLINIC, WE HAVE PATIENTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD INCLUDING BERMUDA,SAUDI ARABIA ETC. GOOD LUCK TO YOU.
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I, too, experienced many of the same symptoms as mentioned thus far.  Left upper quadrant pain radiating to my back, left back pain, left arm burning, pain down in my left hip area.  In the beginning, severe nausea and severe pain.  This went on for 4 months, with 2 hospitalizations and 30,000 dollars in medical bills.  I saw 2 gastroenteroligists and had every test imaginable with no answers.  Finally, my family doctor really listened to me as I described the excruciating pain.  He nailed it!  Because the pain was only on one side and NEVER crossed the midline in the front or back, he concluded that it was Shingles.
I did not have the typical rash that goes with it.  He said in 15% of shingles cases there is no rash.  He prescribed Elavil, which is anti-nerve pain medication (50 mg.) and I haven't had a symptom since! I suffered so much for 4 months!!!   There were times when I thought I would rather die than endure the pain.
Hope this helps anyone...it's worth a try, anyway!
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I have all those symptoms too - but the pain is in the upper right quadrant just under my rib cage. It feels kind of like a sore muscle and will hurt sometimes on initial movement like taking a breath, but then I can't make it happen again. It also happens on its own without movement.

I find it very interesting to hear about the side and back pain that people here talk about --I have that too- especially in the morning when I get up--I can hardly walk. I wonder if there is a correlation?

Had ultrasound to see if it was gallstones, but no it wasn't  that. I had endoscopy (where they look around the esophagus and into your stomach with a little camera) but she says only that I'm inflamed. She says it's GERD due to a weak sphincter muscle between the esophogus and stomach. She says that the acid splashes up into the esophagus and causes a contraction, which results in the pain. But I don't have the GERD symptoms (no heartburn or acid taste/feel) that I've read about.

I took Zantac, that didn't work. Now taking a 20mg of Prilosec twice a day. For a few days I was OK, but even though I'm still taking it, the pain has come back everyday for the past 5 days.

I've been putting up with this persistent pain for 6 months and am tired of it. Somedays I don't have it- I can tell right away if I will get it because it wakes me up at 5am and I feel it throughout the day. Most of the time I have it, but there have been about 3 times where I've been free of the pain for a few days.

I don't know what to do - the doctor says I can have surgery to tighten the sphincter muscle.

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To all,

   My wife experiences this very similar problem and has
been treated successfully by John Mathias, M.D. in Houston.
He is a neurogastroenterologist practicing near the Womens
Hosptial of Texas.   He is the only one I have found who
listens to these types of symptoms and knows what to do.

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Thought I'd joint list of sufferers to show how widespread this is. I wonder if all have had 'keyhole surgery' which requires use of gas to inflate abdomin (abdomen). Otherwsie all the symptoms are exacly as stated by sarah. Can it be realted to the diaphym. does anyone else have their voice affected during the worst of the spasms especialy while lying down?

Regards to all
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I have been searching all kinds of sites to find information regarding left arm and shoulder pain.  I went to the doctor recently for stomach problems and was prescribed Axiphex. I have been on the medication for two weeks and it does not seem to be doing much good.  Stomach is still bloated - bothers me all the time.  But, the main problem is a throbbing pain in my left should that extends down my arm.  Had a stress test a year and a half ago - all was okay.  It seems to get much worse when I don't eat.  Any ideas?  I am so tired of this!!
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I, too, began having severe stabbing knifelike pain under my left lower rib cage about two months ago.  It was so painful I couldn't even touch the area lightly.  Three different Doctors, and two emergency rooms diagnosed it as a "muscle strain", and gave me pain pills (which I found out later compounded the problem even more).  I knew it was my colon, but not sure what was wrong.  Today I finally got the answer:  colonic splenic flexure distention (the same as Pam, see Feb 19 message above).  My Gastroenterologist described it as the opposite effect of a P-trap in a sink drain, only instead of water in the bottom of the drain keeping gas from traveling back up the sewer pipe, the gas is in the "top" of a P-trap, with stool keeping the gas from moving.  The gas just balloons against the rib cage, and causes pressure and severe pain in the rib cage.  The problem is compounded with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS--aggravated by stress), or constipation, or pain killers.....anything that slows the normal bowel movement process.  The "cure" is to move everything along, either through adding fiber (i.e. Metamucil, fresh fruit, etc.)or by taking Milk of Magnesia or other laxatives.  I still experience intermittent pain, but it is usually now a signal that I'm getting blocked.  I suffer with IBS, and reflux (GERD), and take Prilosec, Propulcid, and Metamucil daily for same.  Now Prilosec is being taken off of the market, so will just keep increasing the fiber and drinking water.  Good luck!
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I hope this might help. I have recenetly developed symptoms described above.  I correlate it with a trip that I had to Greece.  During my stay in Greece I started feeling some of the sensations in the upper left hand quadrant of my abdominal area.  I did not think much of it at the time associating it with a change of diet.  However, since my return the symptoms have not discipated.  Could there be a correlation between air travel and this disorder?   I wonder if pressure changes can affect the bowels?  If someone has any experience on this or knows if this does occur, I would appreciate a response.

Kindest regards,

Dave Roach
***@****
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I have been experiencing this same pain.  Mine started in dec. 99, I had severe pain in my left side which I could not distinguish if it was originating in my back or my side.  I figured it was a cramp from something I ate and didnt worry about it.  Then a couple weeks later I had been doing some gardening and heavy lifting/dragging.  Again, same type of pain only 100X worse.  I would wake up in agony feeling like something had ruptured.  The only thing that seemed to help was sitting in the tub with hot water.  I did this for two days before going to the dr.  He told me I strained my back and gave me pain killers.  I no longer had the horrible pain, but I did have a nagging pain.  I went to the gyno, because I was getting married.  I didnt really relay the problem because I was still thinking I had a strained back that was healing. The exam and pap was all normal. A few days later I started having severe pain in the groin and the same abdominal/back pain(just the nagging one).  I ended up with a bladder infection which they said was honeymoon cyctitis.  I told them I had this before I had gotten married and that I had not had sex, but they seemed to not hear me.  The pain in my groin and urge to urinate subsided with the antibiotics.  It's now 6 months later and the nagging abdominal pain is still there.  It hasn't gotten any worse but has not gone away.  The only thing that aggravtes it is lifting or straining it.  My hip has some pain in it which spreads down the back of my leg to my knee and ankle.  I have tingling/numbness in the skin of my back, and if touced in the right spot I have pain in the vert. in the nape of my back on the left side.  I have an appt in july with my doctor.  I am struggling with this because my father had pancreatic cancer and my mom had systemic lupus...both of these could cause abdominal pain in the area I have it in. I know that I have not ruled out causes yet, but after reading the posts and all other articles/books I can find on abdominal pain i am confused by mine.
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Hi Sabrina -

I also couldn't help thinking it was pancreatic cancer or something life threatening. I also first felt the pain in December of 99.  I'm currently standing by the guess that it might've been shingles withou skin eruptions (zoster sine herpete) and that upper left side pain I'm experiencing is post-herpetic neuraligia (PHN) an so started taking Elavil (20MG now) in May, and it seems to have helped, although at the moment I'm having a bit of a flareup and think that possibly my dose needs to be adjusted. I've since let go of the idea that something is wrong with my pancreas because otherwise I have felt relatively healthy with the exception of the constant nagging pain, tingling, burning, and related pain in hip, groin, mid back, etc.  I have an appetite and haven't lost any weight.  I can't relate the pain in any way directly to eating.

I still feel like it's somewhat a mystery, but the anxiety of thinking it was something life threatening only made my pain worse (not to mention I couldn't sleep and was crying all the time out of fear and panic). Be sure you mention your family history to your doctor and get him/her to rule out the life threatening possibilities. That will set you more at ease, even though they might not be able to determine exactly what is going on. They can, however, tell you what ISN'T wrong with you!

Hope this helps -

Carol D.
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Dear Sabrina,
    If it's any consolation, I had two CT scans with specific slices of the pancreas and they were perfectly normal. My father died of pancreatic cancer so when I developed this horrible pain in my back in Nov. 99, that's the first thing I thought of.
I was also tested for Lupus, and that was negative, too.
Like Carol D., the doc is assuming that this is the shingles without the rash and the resulting Postherpetic neuralgia.
I am on Elavil, 50 mg. each night at bedtime and my pain has been completely controlled with this.  I went to so many doctors and had 30,000 dollars worth of tests.  I wish they could have thought of this earlier!  I know you'll want to rule out certain things for your peace of mind, but from what Carol D. and I are reading on these boards, there's an awful lot of this type of pain going around!        Sincerely, Debbie
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It is such a relief to read this. I have been sick for over a month now and out of work. I am only 20 years old and the dr's are treating me as if I am crazy.  For over two weeks now I have had pain off and on in my upper left side. I tried to look it up online but could not find any info. except these postings.  Does anyone think it could be some rare or little known about disease? all the symptoms sound so similiar to each other, and to mine, yet no doctor seems to be able to help.  I am at wits end. I have missed so many classes at college and been out of work for over a month.  I'm supposed to go back tomorrow, but I feel no better. I don't know what else to do, but I wish all of you the best of luck.
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Dear Blaine,
    We have all been in your shoes...thinking we were crazy and the doctors treating us like we were.  If you have had all the tests to rule out anything serious, ask your doc to try the shingles theory and start you on Elavil.  It can't hurt you and
if it takes away your pain, then that is your answer.
                                        
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I am so glad I came upon this sight.  I have been having the same left side pain for just over a year now. It goes around my side and into my back - at times I even have trouble sleeping on my left side at night. I get a "full" feeling just under my rib cage.  I have been to my regular doctor and also a GI specialist. I've have the blood tests, ultra sounds and my stomach scoped as well. The only thing they could say was "You have alot of gas build up where the large colin turns on the left side." My doctor is in total frustration as she can't seem to find an answer either. I eat a very healthy diet - lots of soy and vitamins, minerals and herbs too. They tell me I'm a very healthy 40 year old - but I can't stand this "ache" any longer. If anyone knows any answers - please help.
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I HAVE ALSO BEEN EXPERIENCING SIMILAR SYMPTOMS.  EXTREME DISCOMFORT IN THE LEFT SIDE OF MY CHEST, UNDER THE RIBCAGE.  LOTS OF PRESSURE AN ALMOST CONSTANT THUMPING FEELING.  HAVE HAD ALL KINDS OPF TESTS EVERYTHING COMES BACK NORMAL.  I ALSO HAVE MUSCLE SPASMS IN MY CHEST FEELS JUST LIKE A CRAMP YOU GET IN YOUR FEET SOMETIMES.  THE CONSTANT GURGLING AND THUMPING IN MY CHEST TENDS TO BRING ON A ALOT OF ANXIETY AND THIS SEEMS TO AGGRAVATE THE PROBLEM.  I HAVE BEEN VERY DEPRESSED.  I'M NORMALLY A VERY ACTIVE PERSON BUT SINCE THIS STARTED OVER A YEAR AGO ALL I WANT TO DO IS BE LEFT ALONE.  NONE OF THE MEDICINE MAKES ME FEEL BETTER AND I'M NOT SURE IT DOESN'T MAKE IT WORSE. IT REALLY IS A MISERABLE FEELING.
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My husband has also been suffering from similar symptoms. He has also had all the scopes, x-rays, mri's, upper/lower GI's. symptoms started in Feb.  Lower back pain for about 2 weeks, then localized in the left lower back, radiating into the left abdominal side and under the left rib cage.  As of now, no definite diagnosis.  Local dr. just wants to put him on slepping pills and nerve meds. But just like everyone else, his pain is real, not imagined. At the end of March, he began have muscle spasms in the left lower back and also spasms in the side.  No one can explain.  So, this doesn't seem to be only a female problem.  Hope someone soon can find relief, so that you can pass the FIX on.
   Thanks
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I have some of the same systoms except all of amy apin is onthe right side. It started in my right flank about where my kidney is and like the othere I thought it was a kidney stone, I have had 5 of them in the past and past all of them. I;ve had all kind of scans, test, blood work and they can't find anything.  so please keep me posted on what results anyone finds.
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I have pain similar to what is being described here. Upper left abdomen, under the rib cage. Just on the left, not on the right. Feels like a punch to the solar plexus, only more to the left. Also sometimes feels like a runner's stitch. My stomach is a little distended. The pain is usually a dull, constant ache, but occasionally there is a sudden intense stabbing pain that makes me cry out. It just lasts a few seconds.

The pain goes away sometimes, and I'll be fine for several days, but then it suddenly is back. I haven't been able to relate it to eating, or not eating, or anything else. I don't usually have any gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea or diarrhea, but it does kill my appetite because I'm just so uncomfortable.

It's wearing me out, frankly. It's making me tired and worried. I don't think my doctor is going to figure this out. He wanted me to have an ultrasound of my gallbladder, but I didn't have it done because I thought it would be a waste of time and money, since my pain is consistently on the left and gallstone pain is on the right.

I'm interested in hearing whether anyone here has gotten a diagnosis or found an effective treatment either from traditional or alternative medical practitioners?
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I am 45 with the same systoms as the othere ...mid-back pain going around under my right rib , thought it was kidney stones I've had 5 of them and the systoms are the same ,blood in my uruin and sharp painsbut they have done all kinds of test and x-rays and nothing shows up except the blood. I've been in the hospital 4 times in2 months and they can't find anything... they are now rechecking my gallbladder thinking it my be that . Just pray they'll find the problem and get it straighten out.. I can't even work a full shift hurting like this.
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I've just gone onto the net and have been searching for info on leftside stomach pain.I too have this stitch pain expecially premenstrually..but now(7months later) all the time. Gyny can't find anything, family doctor suggested endometriosis(unlikely considering I have 5 children and certainly no fertility probs. I have a family history of colon cancer..but doctors say no other symtoms (symptoms) therfore not worth doing colonosscopy(sp)..I'm worried I've got something really wrong but noone will listen.I'm 39 will this go on forever?

Comments welcome.
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HAS ANY ONE GOTTON ANY REAL ANSWERS ? I HAVE HAD THE PAIN UNDER MY LEFT RIB CAGE FOR FIVE YEARS. I ONLY FIND RELEIFE WHEN I LAY ON MY LEFT SIDE. I MUST WORK AND TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY. IM 53 YEARS OLD AND HAVE BEEN TOLD IT WAS A MUSCLE STRAIN. DIVATICULITIS. ENLARGED LUNG. WHICH I HAD INJECTIONS FOR IT HELPED SOME BUT THEY ARE SO PAINFULL YOU NEED TO TAKE OFF WORK AND STAY IN BED WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TD ALL THE TIME PLEASE HELP AS I DONT WAUNT TO GO ON LIKE THIS. HELP CATHY
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Wow, was I gald to find this.  I have had this pain for about 6 yrs. now.  I have no medical coverage and even if I did I do not trust doctors.  I live on axid, I take them at least 3x's a day. I get the over the counter and 2 at a time.  I am in pain all the time. I too only get relief when lying on my left side. I try to ignore it as much as possible.  This is a hard thing to do.  I believe it can be stress related.  I have had so much stress in my life maybe this is the result.  
If any one dose get any ans. I would love to hear about.

Thank You All!
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I just returned from the doctor and was diagnosed with chostro condritis.  they say it is an inflamation (inflammation) of the sternum.  I have been told to ice and use anti imflamatories.  Extreme pain in the chest and back.  I am a double mastectomy patient with double reconstruction.  does anyone have any suggestions
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Well, reading all these replies have made me feel better.  I went to my doctor, and told her of persisting pain, and she told me, "You know, honey, sometimes when women have their periods, they get abdominal pains."  I almost laughed.  I am 25 years old, and I think I would know what cramps feel like.  They do not last 6 months, and they are not under my ribs.  At any rate, it's good to know it's not all in my head, and I feel better knowing it's probably not some horrible cancer.  Did anybody get an actual diagnosis that seems accurate?
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Well, reading all these replies have made me feel better.  I went to my doctor, and told her of persisting pain, and she told me, "You know, honey, sometimes when women have their periods, they get abdominal pains."  I almost laughed.  I am 25 years old, and I think I would know what cramps feel like.  They do not last 6 months, and they are not under my ribs.  At any rate, it's good to know it's not all in my head, and I feel better knowing it's probably not some horrible cancer.  Did anybody get an actual diagnosis that seems accurate?
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i have pain in my upper left side below the ribs. the pain is uncomfortable and when you push in that area it is tender. no fever, a little nausiated, no vomiting though.
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Gosh  I guess it's not all in my head.  Iam 41 and have experienced the same pains too.  I have had the colonoscopy, barium enema, endoscopy done too and all he can say is it is IBS, probably caused by stress. I DOUBT IT!  My life is fine, my job is fine. He put me on hyoscyamine  .375 mg twice a day.  I tried this for 4 months and it didn't help. So I took myself off it.  I guess I will just live with the pain.
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These symptoms sound so familiar. I started with this about 2 years ago out of the blue. I did some excercises one night (sit ups push ups and jumped on a trampoline) took a bath and went to bed and it started. My heart was going fast, tongue felt like it was swelling, a wave passed through me and it felt hard to breath. I went to emerge and they gave me some pills that doped me up. For about three months I would experiance the wave feeling, fast heart rate and break out in the shakes. I also felt like my flesh was burning through out my ribs neck and head. I also had diareha and frequent urination when these symptoms were happening. Now I always have a sore neck, burning on the left side of my ribs and it feels like my neck is swelling in the front. I still get the diareha especially after eating. I have had blood tests, heart ultrasound, ultrasound of thyroid pelvis and abdominal regions, exray on spine neck ribs and lungs, gastroscopy, barium enama, and urine tests for hormones. All they found was a little acid reflux and a bit of scoliosis in my neck. I am tired of living this way. I feel tired all the time and don't feel good. I am only 31 and feel like I am 90 sometimes. If anyone has any answers I would appreciate it. My family doctor tries to push valume and antidepressants on me all the time, I just need to find out what is going on with me not cover it up.
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These symptoms sound so familiar. I started with this about 2 years ago out of the blue. I did some excercises one night (sit ups push ups and jumped on a trampoline) took a bath and went to bed and it started. My heart was going fast, tongue felt like it was swelling, a wave passed through me and it felt hard to breath. I went to emerge and they gave me some pills that doped me up. For about three months I would experiance the wave feeling, fast heart rate and break out in the shakes. I also felt like my flesh was burning through out my ribs neck and head. I also had diareha and frequent urination when these symptoms were happening. Now I always have a sore neck, burning on the left side of my ribs and it feels like my neck is swelling in the front. I still get the diareha especially after eating. I have had blood tests, heart ultrasound, ultrasound of thyroid pelvis and abdominal regions, exray on spine neck ribs and lungs, gastroscopy, barium enama, and urine tests for hormones. All they found was a little acid reflux and a bit of scoliosis in my neck. I am tired of living this way. I feel tired all the time and don't feel good. I am only 31 and feel like I am 90 sometimes. If anyone has any answers I would appreciate it. My family doctor tries to push valume and antidepressants on me all the time, I just need to find out what is going on with me not cover it up.
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Hi, I am a 22 year old male and have been having various digestive and other problems with my body for about the past 7 years. I think its probably just my body, but i seem to eat better than alot of people I know, and I get much sicker than them. I get wind pain, bloating, indigestion, acid reflux,
constipation every day. Its really hard to live like this and i'd really like to get better.
> Over the last week i've had this weird feeling - cramps and pains all under my left ribs in the stomach area. I can feel alot of movement going on around there. Also, for the past 2 months or so, I have had this sore discomfort around the lower to mid area of my left ribs. What kind of
tests can i have for the stomach? Having xray and ultrasound tommorrow

I have been diagnosed in the past with candida, IBS, and one
naturopath recently told me a have a 'hot' liver (dysfunctional i guess). It is quite hard even to go about my daily work and study having to live with all this all the time. I was wondering if you have any clues about what i have or what i could do about myself. Thanks alot, Chris
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Going through similar pain.  Very similar.  Had all the tests not much to report.  I stumbled across thoracic outlet syndrome.  May explain pains that are actually muscle skeletal rather than organ trouble.  It has to do with over exertion or trauma that slows nerves or arteries moving through the Thorasic (Upper back, Shoulder neck area) that cause back shoulder spasms and the pain radiates to arms, legs, and hips.  Therapy is more massage and chiropractic unless it is severe enough for surgery.  Good luck to you!  ***@****
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I am 27 and have been suffering from these EXACT symptoms for a week. I have a history of kidney stones, so that was my first guess (and the diagnosis of the first dr. that I saw upon finding blood in urine).IVP was negative. I saw a urologist yesterday who said there is no blood in urine now, could be cystitis or pulled muscle. I disagree (too high for ovarian problem, no problem with menstral cycle). I am scheduled to have a pelvic ultrasound tomorrow - should I even waste my time? Last year at this time I began suffering from severe chronic chest pains (radiating out my back) - it was misdiagnosed as GERD, then costrocondritis (sp?), and then written off as stress related. This pain lasted 10 months before it ceased. For that, I had a gall bladder ultrasound, endoscopy, and upper GI? Is this left side pain another mystery illness that I have been blessed with? It worsens when I am sitting - as long as I am on my feet moving, I feel OK. It almost feels like a baby kicking on that side and sometimes there is swelling/bloating under my left ribs.
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I have had the upper left quadrant intermittent pain for years with stomach bloating at night for years as described at length.  A few days ago ia episode occured and I got xrayed during a bout of pain.  Sure enough a HUGE pocket of gas at the splenic flexure.  Treatment - take simethicone daily not just during the pain and so far no more belching, no more pain  and am hoping for the best.  This doesn't answer why the gas forms but it is effective and harmless treatment since simethicone is not absorbed it just reduces the bubbles.
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As the original poster of this message I thought I would check back in.  I want to reiterate that I did various forms of natural/alternative treatment: ie chiro, accupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine/herbs, neuromuscular massage therapy, insight meditation. None of it made any difference as far as having an effect on the left side pain (although I'm sure they were good for my body in other ways!)  Also ate a strict vegetarian diet with lots of soy and fiber!

To another poster: I, too, thought of thoracic outlet syndrome but my chiro ruled that out. Although I have experienced back, neck and shoulder pain in the past, this upper left side pain is very different and in a very different location.

So far the only thing that has helped at all has been to take low dosages of Elavil which is a tricyclic antidepressant that has been found to also treat nerve pain.  I am taking this based on a lot of my own research, a lot of searching around these kinds of forums on the internet for months on end, and finally getting some confirmation from the doctor who examined me on behalf of my employer's short-term disability insurer as well as from a referral to a gastroenterologist that I could possibly have had shingles without the skin eruptions and now the pain I was feeling was "post-herpetic neuralgia.".  Both these doctors mentioned that Shingles without skin eruptions was a possibility -- especially because I had had chicken pox as a kid.

Now - while there has never been any kind of definite diagnosis or proof from test results, I am going with this theory because I have been fairly pain free for the past 3 months since taking Elavil AND becasue recently I attempted to wean myself off of it and about 3 days after stopping it completely, the same old pain returned almost as intensely as it was before.  Very exhausting!

If you've had all the major tests done to rule out life-threatening illness, please talk to your doctor about shingles without the skin eruptions (zoster sine herpete) and Elavil -- if and only if you have had chicken pox in the past.  You cannot get shingles without first having had chiocken pox at some point in your life. (and you cannot "catch" shingles from another person - it is a virus that lies dormant in your body if you have had chicken pox before.)

Also - to the person who wondered about the pelvic utltrasound: I had 2 within the course of a couple of months -- one external and one transvaginal.  Neither showed what was causing my pain, although initially they saw a small cyst on my left ovary which the gyno immediately ruled out as causing pain up so high.  However, a workmate who described suffering from similar pain had an ultrasound of her gall bladder (even though the pain was not brought on by eating, etc. and she had none of the other symptoms of bad gall bladder, especially because her pain was also on the left and the gallbladder is on the right.)  After the ultrasound of the gall bladder, they told her her gall bladder was completely shot (she is only 30 yrs. old) and the surgeon who removed it said it was the third worst gallbladder he had ever seen!  Go figure!

Hang in there! And don't stop bugging your doctor until you find something that works for you!

Carol D.
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Hi Carol and others,

I have had the "bubble" on the left side for a long time. I have read some articles about peppermint oil capsules for treating IBS. I have been trying them this week and they seem to provide some relief.

I, too, would rather have a diagnosis, but a treatment that is not harmful that works would almost be as good. I am hopeful.

Good luck to you.
Maureen
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I have had the same symptoms for about four years now and have had all the tests mentioned above.  The catchall, if everything else has been eliminated is IBS (Irritiable Bowel Symdrom).  As my doctor explained, it is thought that the muscle of the bowel becomes irritated and thus the pain.  I am just trying Dicetel to see if this will do anything.  However I think that this condition may be with me for the rest of my life.
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Hello there i am writing cause i have lots of the same symtoms (symptoms)..I have severe pain in my left side that hurts so bad when i move breathe, have sex,bend over... And its been like that for a year now...I am scared to go to the doctor cause iam a raid to here any bad news....Well i am just 24 and have so many problems that i cant even get to tell on here....I was just womdering if anyone had any other advice....Thanks so much ...

April Lynn West
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Someone help!
I gave birth to son Nov. of 1999.  Every since then, my life has not been the same.  I suffer from the following symptoms: upper left quad chest pain, pain in the left arm, pain sometimes in my right arm, back pain, neck pain, pain in left leg sometimes, burping, had the acid taste once, bad indigestion.  Have been to a Cardioligist and had a Echo done.  Tons of EKG's to due fluttering feeling in chest.  Sometimes experience an anxiety feeling but heart is not beating that fast.  What in the world could this be?  My doctor doesn't know where to go next.  Had a kidneys, pancreas, and liver checked out.  Everything fine.  A little fat on liver though.  Should I start looking at possible GERD or esphogus problems or even digestion problems.  Any GERD victims out there who experienced these symptoms?
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Great topic.  I wish it was continued.  Notice what a stupid answer the forum doctor provided.  You would think they had a little sympathy. for those who suffer.
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I, too, would like to see more on this thread. I spent a night in the ER last week when these symptoms hit me suddenly and didn't go away all day. Had a cat scan and lots of blood work. They looked for lung clots, looked at my gall bladder, kidneys, spleen, stomach, and intestines. Everything looks fine!

I was in excruciating pain. It's been days, and I'm home from work, on pain killers, and worried.

The ER doctor suspected shingles, as he said "we've ruled everything else out" but I have no rash. That can happen in 15% of cases, right? Well, my baby didn't catch chicken pox, although he did have a fever over the weekend. So maybe that is it, we just haven't broken out in the rash yet.

Symptoms are:
numbness on the left side of my abdomen
at the same time, touching my abdomen there can sting and really hurt
pain, at the worst, was on par with unmedicated labor pains (I've had 5 unmedicated child births)
the pain wraps from the front left to the back - on the left - mid to upper abdomen
I
feel like there is something IN there - just under my lower ribs, on the left side. I can FEEL the presence of something, sort of like the way it feels when I'm pregnant and move - it feels solid in there.
My upper back is sore, actually, now it's extending from my neck to my hips.

All pain is still on the left side only.

I would like to hear from others with these symptoms.
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A related discussion, frontal ultrasounds was started.
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