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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 17557
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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My husband felt a sharp pain then he felt tightness and

Customer Question

My husband felt a sharp pain then he felt tightness and discovered what feels like 3 tight strings that run vertically from his right rib cage to beside his belly button. We went to the Doctor and has had blood tests, X-rays & they can't find anything wrong. But they are painful and don't got away
They feel like they are just under the skin in the muscle layer. Our chiropractor was also baffled.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

Hello from JustAnswer.

It certainly is possible that someone can have muscular pain in the muscle of the abdominal wall, which would most often happen from a muscle strain. When this happens, there is usually no abnormalities found on blood test or x-rays and the only findings are tenderness on exam.

Has he tried any medicines to try to relief the pain?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
but we are wondering what the 'strings' are & if they will go away?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He also gets very itchy and the itching gets worse when he drinks. He has had a severe, itchy, hot, red rash/eczema for the past 6 months. None of the antibiotics, anti fungals helped and then this symptom of the strings suddenly appeared
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Drinks alcohol I mean. Especially worse when he drinks wine or hard alcohol
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His liver was slightly enlarged when he went to the Doctor & he is awaiting an ultra sound
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry for the delay, but I temporarily lost my internet connection.

If the strings are in the area of the tenderness in the muscle layer, they are likely from tightened muscle fibers related to the muscle problem, such as a muscle strain. It is also possible that a string sensation could be related to inflammation, and if it is is the skin layer, rather than the muscle layer, this would be more likely. In either case, they will typically diminish as the underlying cause improves.

It is common to get itching of the skin associated with liver disease, including liver disease associated with alcohol consumption. When this happens, it would not be surprising if the itching is worse after ingestion of alcohol. Itching also is common with eczema, and it is possible for eczema to be worse from alcohol consumption, but this is less common than worsening of liver symptoms from alcohol consumption. However, the evaluation of the liver will provide a better picture of his liver status.

For tenderness in the muscle layer, there are a couple of options. The most commonly used would be one of the anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, although GI irritation is a common side effect to these medicines. It also may help to use a muscle relaxer, but these are only available by prescription and you do not say whether he has been tried on a muscle relaxer. It also may help to apply moist heat to the abdominal wall, which has a direct effect on reducing inflammation.

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