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Old 11-17-2007, 04:38 PM   #1
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Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

I have had chronic pain for the last 5 months. I am hoping someone will know what this pain is caused from & what I can do to try to fix.

It is on my left side, in my back, between the 9th & 11th rib. It is horrible pain & I have posted everywhere, since there were other symptoms that I had besides pain (but seemed to be from other causes). I have had many, many tests, without a positive diagnosis. I have had an abdominal MRI which showed increased signal in the subcutaneous tissues of that area, which I was told by my general surgeon that there seems to be swelling in that area. (I had to see a surgeon to have an EGD/colonoscopy because of blood in the stool & weight loss — which ended up being caused by colitis, we believe).

This pain spreads through me to the front rib area also & also radiates up my back beneath my left shoulder. It is a constant pain that is less in the morning & progressively gets worse through the day. Sometimes it feels like Ben Gay is rubbed all over that area. Touching or pressure on that spot makes it all worse. When it gets really bad, it feels like something is being stabbed right through me. The pain is horrible & I have been on vicodin for 4 months. I want to get rid of this pain & quit taking these pills.

My primary care physician doesn't know what the problem is. She is now sending me to physical therapy (I hope it doesn't make it worse. I had SIJ problems years ago & PT made it all worse.). I will try anything though.

I did see a different surgeon for a consultation & he thought it was nerve pain, possibly from arthritis. (Kinda a weird area to get arthritis, I thought.)

I have had blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, IVP, CT scans, a bone scan, MRI, ultrasound, colonoscopy & EGD. The only things found besides the swelling were issues unrelated (colitis, mild chronic gastritis). They did find numerous ("too numerous to count") phleboliths, but those are just calcified veins & are nothing. This all started after having a pinched nerve in my shoulder, then a severe kidney infection. I was on Cipro for 3 weeks & then this pain started. They thought kidney stones, but nope. Then they thought spleen problems, but the ct showed otherwise. I also have ovarian cysts & nasal polyps. I also get headaches & neck/shoulder pain & palpitations.

I am looking for any input on what to do & what this could be. What could cause inflammation/edema/swelling in that area? Has anyone had this type of pain in this area before?

 
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Old 11-17-2007, 05:07 PM   #2
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

First off, what blood tests were done? If you can post the results and ranges, that would be helpful.
Did your bone scan show inflammation?

Second, you have colitis (correct?), pain, SI problems, and rib pain. Cross post in either the arthritis section or immune disorders, include tests info...
There are types of arthritis that can cause rib pain, by the way. Active arthritis there -depending on type, can possibly lead to the ribs fusing to the spine.

 
Old 11-17-2007, 05:34 PM   #3
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

I had all kinds of blood tests done. I don't have the labs, though, to be honest. Those are the only copies I don't have. They tested everything I believe. I guess I should get the results. I was told nothing was out of the ordinary, I don't have diabetes, thyroid problems or anemia. The bone scan was normal–no inflammation.

I am being treated for colitis, but the surgeon doesn't think it is ulcerative colitis. I am taking Azulfidine, but he said I could quit when this month's supply is gone. (He doesn't believe it will continue becuase I don't have diarrhea. I do go 2-5 times a day, though.)

Wouldn't arthritis show up on an x-ray or something? Or the bone scan? The inflammation is in the tissue, my pcp think it's a muscle problem. Myofascial she said. But she has no diagnosis. It's frustrating....

 
Old 11-18-2007, 10:04 AM   #4
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

You said you had an MRI.. on what? Was this done on your cervical and thorasic spine?
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Old 11-18-2007, 11:31 AM   #5
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

No, it was an abdominal MRI. Showed inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue in that rib area of my side/back. That's it. Nothing of my spine.

 
Old 12-11-2007, 08:28 AM   #6
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

Now I have been doing PT & they say I have mild scoliosis & problems in thoracic spine. One of my ribs is not connecting to my spine right, I guess. They are trying to move it back in with massage & exercises/stretching. They also did trigger point therapy on me because I had a bunch of muscle knots. But I am nearly done with PT & still no better.

I also have been seeing a D.O. (osteo) who has been doing manipulations on me. He said I am hypermobile & my joints are loose & that's causing the rib to come out of place.

The bone scan just said normal bone scan, didn't show any inflammation.

I am lost now. Not sure where to go or what to do. My PT said I should tell my doc about the scoliosis... Should I get with my PCP or my D.O. for that? It seems like my back is causing all this pain & I am not sure where to go from here... Maybe I need to visit a chiro?

 
Old 12-11-2007, 08:36 AM   #7
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

mmm.... have you had an MRI of your thoracic spine? I'd want to know what those disc look like. I'd want to be sure you don't have any bulges or herniations. It's rare, but always possible. I'd skip the chiro for now. It sounds very frustrating, but stay the course. Please keep posting and let us know your next steps. I'm a thoracic person, too and we're an unusual breed!
- Margaret

 
Old 12-11-2007, 01:19 PM   #8
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

I am not a Dr but it seems to me that this is a muscle issues. Didn't you say that when touched it hurts more? And that in AM is better than later in a day?

If this would be related to your spine or bone it realy does not matter you touch or not - does not make much difference for pain. And arthritites, spinal problem can get even worse at night.
I am dealing with it many years by now. For muscle pain (which can be very very painful) I had cortisone shots done in a muscle tissues - helped.
Never helped when was injected in a knees of spine. I also was on a good muscle relaxers for years and anti-flammatory meds.

YOu need a good Dr who will finaly diagnoses you or at least try different treatments. So far be careful with lifting or twisting your body. What kind job do you do?

 
Old 12-11-2007, 01:45 PM   #9
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

OK - I was rushed when I posted earlier. I'm definitely not a doctor, so please keep that at the front of your mind. I don't have all your symptoms, but I share some of them. After circling around many dr's and other practitioners, it was discovered that I had a herniated disc at t6-7, along with bulges at 2 cervical levels. If you look at a dermatome chart, it explained my the placement of symptoms exactly. I have muscle fatigue by the day's end I don't know why - because of the weakness caused by nerve impingement? But I do. I have tenderness and pain to the touch along those dermatome lines for sure. The more I move, the more it hurts. That's just why I think a spinal MRI would be a good idea. Perhaps cervical and thoracic? The reason I'd stay away from the chiro for now is in the event that there is something amiss with your spine or ribs, a chiropractor could inadvertently cause more damage. Their intentions are very good, but without all the information, they can exacerbate problems all too frequently.

OK - more than my $.02!
- Margaret

 
Old 12-11-2007, 05:25 PM   #10
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

Oh, man! I don't have insurance & already have TONS of bills & really didn't want to do another MRI. I just can't afford it. But the pain is driving me crazy. I don't think I can take it anymore. It never goes away. I get pain down my arm, too.

I have been told it is nerve pain & will just take time to heal. How long?

I guess I just don't know what to do at this point. I did call my PCP & left a message pertaining to what the PT said. I need guidance because I am so confused. I know you said I should continue with what I am doing, but it seems to be in vain....

The pain is mostly at that rib & you can follow it all around to the front. When the PT did the massage, there was very tender area on one of the vertabraes.

Twisting is VERY painful. Driving where I have to turn-around to back up or something is just horrid. The exercises the PT gave me are so painful, too. I am lost. I hope my PCP will get back with me & try to find out the cause. Since I lost so much weight, they were worried about cancer. Now that colitis was found, they don't seem to care as much about this pain. They would if it was them enduring it, that's for sure. I can't live with it anymore.

 
Old 12-11-2007, 08:44 PM   #11
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

Sounds like it might be thoracic disc problems.

 
Old 12-11-2007, 10:57 PM   #12
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

Any chance you can look into resources for insurance coverage? Maybe a family member or a good friend could help you with this process?

The more you describe your symptoms, the more you sound like a thoracic disc problem.

Oh, you've got to find some help for yourself and not let this go on too long, OK? Those nerves only hang in there for so long before they permanently get grumpy. It sounds like you have "radicular pain." That is that pain radiating around your rib cage. I know it well. Argh.

 
Old 12-12-2007, 05:36 AM   #13
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

Sounds simuair to what I am experiancing, rib pain, scapula, upper chest, shoulder & that pain in the ribs is god awful, it swells & have not been able to wear a bra since may, god forbid something touches that area. not much helps but ice or hot packs. So far I have been told it can come from the thoracic spine area, done doc even mentioned the c-spine & now they are looking in the the shoulder & yes I have had the palpatations that have sent me to into ER. Scary! The pain is spreading on the left side & can go up the neck, it is a weird tingling sensation, & the rib even upper left chest area swells with alot of muscle spasms. No one as of yet has found the root of the problem but little things are showing up in tests. It is frustrating & meanwhile I am loosing the use of my left arm. I have an appointment with an surgeon at end of the month & praying he discovers something. For some reason every one who has a problem simulair to this is has a hard time finding an diagnosis. I feel for you & am going to start asking alot of questions before my next appointment I want to go in prepared as I can to this surgeon. I have had this almost 3 years & in may it became constant. I know it is linked to an injury, I had to really think back & I remember hurting myself moving into my new home. I hope you find out something it is a terrable thing to go through, I can tell you at times a small dose of valium works to calm the muscles down & helps with the fear of the palpations, that should not be ignored. I also take pain meds but some days they just don't work well. I am very active so for me this is so hard & every now & then I do scream out of pure frustration, can't even make my own bed at times. Don't know if any of this sound familair to you but hopefully you get to the bottem of it. For me it is getting worse & pain is radiating further into ribs & back. Good luck, Sammy

Last edited by sammyo1; 12-12-2007 at 05:55 AM.

 
Old 12-12-2007, 07:43 AM   #14
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

So, if it's thoracic disc problems, how does it get fixed? I know I definitely don't go to a chiro or osteo for manipulation, right? What can they do for this type of problem?

Without insurance I am stuck. I go to a clinic with a sliding scale, which really helps. I don't make enough to purchase my own insurance, but have medicaid pending. I hope it goes through soon. I was told by the hospital financial assistance lady that I do qualify & she helped me apply. Now I have been waiting over 2 months & still don't have the determination. Hopefully soon.

I did NOTHING that I know of, but during that severe kidney infection I had a very high fever & the shakes (BAD) for 3 days before I went to urgent care. The PT said they don't run into that often, but maybe the severe shaking from the fever did something?

I don't know anymore what to do. How do I pursue this? I called my PCP yesterday & let her know what the PT said. I still haven't heard back though. So now I am lost.... what do I do?

 
Old 12-13-2007, 06:24 AM   #15
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Re: Left Side Back Pain Over Lower Ribs – Inflammation – HELP!!!

I am so sorry you have no insurance, I know it can be a long wait for medicaid. We are in a state that is hanging by a thread financially. Look as far as I know you can hurt yourself & not even know it, or injure yourself & problems can pop up later on. With those symptoms It could be a number of things. Took me forever to figure out what the heck caused mine, but then I remembered back to hurting that area when moving in, never ever had any problems before that & continued to lift with my job & I am a very petite person. I don't know if there is any way you can hurry this medicaid process along, or if medicaid will go back & cover expenses if you were to try to seek help now. I know my neice has cancer & even she has to wait for her medicaid to kick in & she lost it for the stupidest of reasons. I feel for michigan residents & thank god everyday we have jobs. Pray for the insurance to kick in soon & inquire if there is a way to hurry it along, remember not all doctors take it so you may end up with a wait if you need to see a specialist, at least once you get it your primary can start to run some tests. You will need some testing done I am sure to try to determine the problem. Make sure your primary will take your medicaid. Are you on any meds? Not all meds are real expensive, if not you may want to inquire at the clinic you go to about something to try affortable to keep you comfortable. I will keep you in my prayers good luck, Sammy

Last edited by sammyo1; 12-13-2007 at 06:28 AM.

 
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