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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 31601
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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Pressure under lower ribs, left side, back. Uncomfortable

Customer Question

Pressure under lower ribs, left side, back. Uncomfortable enough to prevent sitting or lying straight - must keep left side stretched.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
How long has this been going on? Any trauma involved? Any burning on urination?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Started about a year ago, but has been happening more frequently lately, no trauma I can remember, no burning.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
does the pain radiate around the side either from the back to the front or vice versa? Has a doctor ever evaluated this with an MRI?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
There's no pain, just pressure and some swelling. I have had ultrasound and CT which showed no problems, however on the days of both exams there was no pressure or swelling...
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
If not pain, can you tell me what you mean by uncomfortable? Does this seem to be from inside your abdomen?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I mean there is constant pressure like as if there was a balloon under my ribs. If I lean left it feels more pressured, if I stretch the left side it feels a bit relieved.
It's not inside abdomen, I would describe it more as outside or on-top and behind? Hard to describe, best I can say is pushing out from under the ribs.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
Is it constant? Any change with eating or bowel movements? Has your doctor had any thoughts as to a cause?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It is constant when there, but can go away for a week and come back for another week, doctor (and a very good one, I think) was honestly baffled. Although he was able to confirm the swelling.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
there is something like a lump or bulge in the left upper quadrant of your abdomen?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Sorry, forgot to say bowel movement don't make any changes and movements are regular and trouble free.
In return to last reply, yes upper-left and at the back only.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
OK--assuming you don't have an abdominal hernia (and that doesn't sound like the case here), the only thing left is a referred "pain" from the spine--perhaps a disk problem in the upper lumbar or lower thoracic area. I'd get an MRI of the thoracic and lumbar spines to check for that. That said, this could potentially be from your colon as in irritable bowel syndrome, so I would also consider colonoscopy.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Would it not be safe to say the spinal problems would also cause pain directly at the site of the problem?
Also the colonic thing sounds more probable to me, can I ask you for any particular reasons that lead you think IBS? (I will have to go off and read up on IBS now, as it is something I've never encountered before)
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
Well, first--any problems with constipation, diarrhea, excess gas?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No, bowels are trouble-free.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
Well, I was trying to determine whether this was an intestinal problem versus a problem with the exterior--the abdominal wall, for example. Although this could be a sensation from the colon from excess gas from something like IBS, without any other symptoms like the ones I mentioned, that's an unlikely diagnosis. And yes, there can be a disk problem with no symptoms in the spine or disk area themselves.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Now I have to look up 'abdominal wall' too :)
Ok thanks, ***** ***** something more to go on now. I hope to convince someone to let me go in for a scan when the swelling is up. That's interesting about the spine, I'll mention that too.
Thanks again,
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
Welcome, George, but keep me in the loop as to what happens here.

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