Jun 09, 2011
For the past 2 years, almost every month, I become immobilized due to sharp pains when inhaling and exhaling. This episode lasts for 3 days (exactly) and is concentrated on my left side of the body and back. Here is the outline of what happens chronologically:
On day 1, I wake up feeling something on my upper left back. The pain is not specific to any spot, but feels like a muscle knot. By the afternoon, the pain starts to get worse and begins to move downward. This pain mainly originates every time I inhale/exhale and forces me to take shallow breaths. By the evening, the pain is to the level that forces me to stay in one position for the remainder of the night. During the night, the pain is excruciating because with each breath, a sharp pain shoots throughout my left side, and around the left side of the rib cage. It is not until I start to control my breathing by taking shallow breaths, calm down and eventually pass out.
On day 2, I wake up with the same pain. I do not move around or switch position in bed since with every breath, the pain gets worse. During the evening hours, the pain begins to diminish and I begin take bigger breaths.
On day 3, the pain is at its last stages. I cannot do much physically, but can concentrate on something else other than my breathing patterns. By day 4, it is as if nothing has happened to me, and i am back to feeling 100%. Throughout these days, I most likely work from home or take a Paid Time Off because there is no way to do work with these symptoms.
The whole episode always lasts 3 to 3.5 days. I have been to a neurologist, neurosurgeon, pain specialist, rheumatologist and an acupuncture specialist with no definite answer as to what is causing this. Up until a few months ago, the only medication that seemed to take effect was Advil. One of the doctors prescribed me to take 4, 200mg of Advil every 6 hours. This was helpful in making my system relax and made falling asleep a little easier. One breakthrough that I have had was to take a prescribed steroid called "MethylPrednisolone" (4mg). This took away the pain in 6 hours and proved to the rheumatologist that it is an inflammation. Although this was good news, I cannot base my treatment to be reliant on this steroid since taking this will harm my body more in the future.
This has started 3 years ago and has been happening almost every month (with a little less frequent during the summer time). When I was at the age of around 8, my parents tell me that I had the same type of symptoms but after migrating to USA, they went away for some time. Throughout this ordeal, I cannot breath normally, laugh, cough or do any action which involve breathing (which is about everything). Please let me know of any thoughts or questions. I would like to hear any advice from anybody.