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Dr. Das, MD
Dr. Das, MD, Doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience:  MBBS, MD, with wide experience in all aspects of medical treatment, including cancer therapy.
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About ten days ago, I was leaning over the arm of a couch -

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About ten days ago, I was leaning over the arm of a couch - stretching, trying to plug something into an outlet - when I felt a very sharp pain on my right side/upper rib cage area - and I think I may have felt a bit of a 'pop' sensation at the time.
The pain persisted for several days, so I contacted my doctor's office. His nurse advised me that I probably pulled something - or might have cracked a rib. Either way, they advised that best approach is to give it time (since generally, they no longer wrap/bind broken/cracked ribs).
However, since the pain has increased over the past 3-4 days, an X-ray was done of upper right, which was negative. I have an appointment to see my doctor in a few days, but in the meantime, I'm concerned because (assuming this is a bruised or pulled muscle), I would have expected it to improve somewhat by now (or to at least be heading in that direction).
I'm taking Ibuprofen Q 4-6 hours -and applying heat. I'm trying to limit activity, but have probably done more bending and lifting than I should.
I'm wondering if this is a 'normal' recovery from a badly pulled muscle in that area - or if it's more likely that there's some other underlying problem that the 'pulling' has revealed or exacerbated. I have a history of kidney stones (X2), but neither felt like this - or persisted for more than a day before the stone passed. A CT scan (done about fifteen years ago) incidentally revealed gallstones, although I was told that they're common - and I've never had symptoms of any kind (unless what I'm describing is consistent with gallstones).
What is this likely to be? Would the X-Ray of the upper right show kidney stones (I believe at least some of the right kidney was visible)?
Hello,

Welcome and thank you for your question.

Since the xray did not show anything, you probably do have a muscle strain.

How long a strain lasts depends on the location and severity of the injury. In rib muscles, it usually improve within one to two weeks and are gone within four to six weeks. A severe strain can take 6-8 for a complete recovery.

It is unlikely that this has anything to do with kidney stones or gallbladder stones.

The Xray would not show kidney stones since only the upper part of the kidney will be visible.

I hope this helps.

If there’s more I can do, please use the reply tab and let me know how I can be of further assistance. It’s my goal to provide you with excellent service. Please rate me highly and provide me with feedback. Leaving a Bonus will be highly appreciated.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Is it usual that the pain (from a strained/pulled muscle) would continue to get worse over a ten day period, rather than begin to subside?


 


Why would you rule out a kidney stone or gallstones/cholecystitis?


Aren't the symptoms I'v described consistent with one or both?Trust me - I prefer your 'suspicion' that it's a just an injured muscle, but I don't want assume that my 'harmless' gallstones haven't grown/moved over fifteen years - or that a moving/passing kidney stone might manifest differently than what I've experienced in the past. I have a history of frequent urination - and sometimes have difficulty emptying my bladder, so I might be slower in recognizing the signs of a kidney stone than the average person...

Pain from a strained muscle should decrease over time,not get worse, unless you have been doing activities which have caused that muscle to remain active and prolong the inflammation.

You have described your pain as being in the right side/upper rib cage area and that you felt a 'pop' when it first started. this is not consistent with either kidney or gallbladder stones. pain from these conditions would not occur suddenly. They also do not occur in the upper chest area.

Kidney pain will occur in the middle of teh back or side of the upper abdomen and radiate down. Gallbladder pain will occur in the upper abdomen and radiate to the back or to the shoulder.

I hope this helps.

If there’s more I can do, please use the reply tab and let me know how I can be of further assistance. It’s my goal to provide you with excellent service. Please rate me highly and provide me with feedback. Leaving a Bonus will be highly appreciated.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I'm not sure about the 'pop.' It may have just been the shooting pain.


 


The pain I'm experiencing is on the upper right, under the rib (below my breast) but also wraps around the side and radiates slower, and it sometimes refers to my mid-upper back. I have also had pain in my right outer thigh, which can radiate down my leg. I don't know that the leg/thigh pain is in anyway connected with the muscle strain, since I have occasional lower back issues (a few weeks ago (prior to the supposed muscle strain), I rotated my pelvis forward and had to go in for an adjustment).


Not that I'm pulling for a gallblader diagnosis, the symptoms listed do seem to fit somewhat - and gallstone attacks are often described as 'sudden' onset. Even my kidney stone pain came on quickly (both times) - although it got progressivley worse over a period of few hours before they actually passed.

Please ask your doctor for a checkup and an ultrasound - this should help clear up any doubts about the source of the pain.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

 


I suspect my doctor will order a CT scan to rule this out - but if what I'm describing is still consistent with a pulled muscle, please let me know. Also, other than heat/Ibuprofen, can you suggest anything else I can do that might be beneficial in promoting healing and better pain control? Flexeril?

Yes, what you are describing is consistent with a pulled muscle.

Besides heat/ibuprofen, it would be best to avoid doing anything that may cause you to use the muscles on that side of the chest - lifting heavy objects etc.

Yes, Flexeril is a better option than ibuprofen.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Just curious: could pulling this muscle cause all of the symptoms I've described, including the thigh/leg pain?

No, the thigh leg pain is not due to the pulled p]muscle at the chest. radiating pain down the thigh or leg is invariably due to a herniated disc or Sciatica - pressure over the sciatic nerve at the hips or lower back.

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