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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Okay, so I realize that I am posting this on the "Back Problems" board - which probably means that we all have "back" on our mind and that skews our opinions - and as I write this I am trying to convince myself that my problems are spine and not GI - so I am not being very subjective either. But here goes :)

I should start by saying that my back has hurt for many years prior to the events I am going to describe - but never to the point I would do anything about it. A little bit of rest and I seemed to get better. I had a few back injuries that I fully recovered from as a teenager. Prior to 2007 my back pain was lower right and a good massage helped relax the muscles and made it feel better.

In July of 2007 I had pain in my lower right back bottom most rib. The pain sometimes moved forward to the bottom rib in the front of my chest on the right side (in a "C" shape from front to back almost). My primary sent me to a GI and he did a ultrasound (no stones) and then a HIDA (5% rejection). So he removed my Gallbladder in late 2007. Pain Persisted - got worse.

Then the GI did an ERCP and decided that I was borderline SOD (sphincter of oddi) dysfunction - so during the ERCP they cut the SOD to loosen it in early 2008. Pain persisted. By this point - the pain had spread to most of my right abdominal area - It comes and goes and moves around. I never had any of the nausea or vomiting usually described by SOD / pancreatic patients - just a lot of pain - to the point where pushing on ribs hurts.

In Mid 2008, out of my own curiosity I convinced my Chiropractor to order an MRI of my spine. The Dr. who read the films diagnosed a spur at T5 and a bulging disk at T7 (might have locations backwards). Saw a neurosurgeon next and he decided that I was not a surgical candidate and sent me to a neropath(? or something like that non-surgical). The neropath decided he could not help me as the nerves were not being effected and could not cause my abdominal pain (which I focused on in our single meeting).

I stopped seeing docs out of frustration. Pretty sure I have had a few surgical procedures and lost/damaged organs that I will need - for apparently no good reason. I saw a PT for as long as my insurance would allow in late 2008 - and found that rolling my back on a 8" foam cylinder (along with chiropractic manipulation and heat) helped considerably - but never completely.

Now, Mid 2009 - pain persists. The foam roller is not making any further improvements (things getting slightly worse) and I do it 2x per day. My back (right-lower) hurts a lot, and so does my right chest / abdomen area (pain moves around) - sometimes hurt to breath. Occasionally I'll notice tingling in fingertips on one side or the other, for a few day and then it goes away (usually left). My chiropractor has noted a couple of times that the rib-head around T5-6 was out and he pops it back in.

I struggle with describing/diagnosing this pain because it is so general and unclear. Some of my current symptoms match biliary / pancreatic dysfunction (run to the bathroom after I eat, loose stool, especially with fatty foods, etc.) or the after effects of several related procedures (phantom gallbladder pain is common). And other pain I described above is certainly is back related.

If I have learned anything it appears that I am the only person concerned about my pain - most doctors are quick to ignore it or medicate. Seems like they all approach the problem with whatever tool they have in their hand (screwing in a nail, etc.) and take little time to consider if it might be a problem other than their particular field.

I appreciate any help you can offer. I am so tired of being in constant pain - I am ready to start running the Dr. Gauntlet again - but am afraid of new useless procedures and need perspective / experience on where to start so I don't get my spleen, colon, brain (or whatever else some would-be hero convinces me might help) removed next :)

Here goes:
1. Does this sound like a back problem? pain moving around? Back pain in the abdomen? Ribs feeling sore to touch?

2. Could it really get this bad in a matter of 2 years?

3. Why did 2 back doctors reject helping me? Is my description odd? Should I start over?

4. What does a spur and a bulging disk cause? pain wise, what do they do?

I try to laugh, but frankly it hurts,

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