Intermittant right rib and thoracic back area pain anyone? Sluggish gallbladder???

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Anyone else have this?  I haven't had a HIDA scan yet but I have had this off and on for a year and a half.  Can't figure out if food causing or something in my spine.  Could it be sluggish gallbladder???  Had one ultrasound and several types of xrays.  May get another ultrasound but gastro thinks it won't show anything. It's nerve pain most of the time like needles sometimes real sharp sometimes crampy. 

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30 Replies

  • Posted

    Same pains.

    With me the rib pain is thoracic. Just started physio today, the physiotherapist says my spine is stiff in that area and started mobilisation and exercise. I will then start the hospital gym and may have a nerve block injection if mobilisation doesn't work.

    I have lumbar and cervical problems (which are probably contributing to the stiffness)  and also gastritis. Like you I have been confused about how much of  the pain was from my stomach and how much from my spine. The pains I had when he was working on my thoracic spine highlighted my middle/upper back, right ribs, shoulder and shoulder blade pain and even down my arm was very painful.

    The stomach pains must be the upper stomach, chest and back discomfort along with the bloating and burping.

    Two separate things.

    Hope this helps. 

    • Posted

      did you have an MRI?  I know I have bulging discs but they are in lumbar region.  I was told thoracic disc problems are not as common and MRI might not show them.  I just don't know.  I guess I'd be somewhat happy if I just had an answer!!!  I too an doing physical therapy but mostly for my lower back.  It's gotten better but she's giving me a few simple mid back stretches too - some exercises hurt and pull on that area.  I just don't know what I have.  I have scoliosis I was told - back is a mess for sure.  Menopause is when most of this stuff started.  The rib thing is driving me insane.  Did you have gallbladder tests?

  • Posted

    Yes I had upper GI ultrasound, all clear. 

    My spinal problems/oesteoarthritis also started around menopause.

    Hip replacement November 2013 

    Emergency laminectomy L4/5 spinal stenosis July 2014

    Micro discectomy L4/5 August 2015

    Anterior cervical discectomy C4/5/ & C5/6 May 2017.

    I haven't had a thoracic MRI (frightened) , I think the surgery is very difficult in that area and wouldn't want it so what's the point. Also just because there is a bulging disc it's not necessarily the source of the pain. My lumbar discectomy did nothing for the pain despite a bulging disc.

    Just hoping the physiotherapy helps. I will start Pilates when I can exercise safely again. I have tried it before and found it really helped.

     I think the secret to spinal problems is to keep moving if you can.  I refuse to let it get the better of me but the constant pain is very difficult sometimes.

    I think posture plays a part, all my hobbies entail looking down and years of computer & phone use don't help.

    Ask your physiotherapist what she thinks of Pilates.

    • Posted

      wow you have been through a lot.  I spent most of my career sitting at a desk/computer so I know my posture needs work - I'm working on it and PT gal is helping. 

      I walk and/or do elliptical almost every day I too need to keep moving.  Some of the exercises I do are yoga type stuff.

      Did you have a HIDA scan - that's the one test I may need - I hate tests they are notfun and are expensive

    • Posted

      PS one more question when your pain in ribs and back is flared up does a bra hurt - mine does it's awful.  Docs first thought this was shingles without rash.

    • Posted

      Yes Scruffster my bra does hurt when I have a flair up. It feels like it's really digging in on the right side and I keep trying to adjust it.  I have quite a small frame and a large bust and wonder if this has caused some of my spinal problems and discomfort . 

    • Posted

      I injured my tailbone when I fell on black ice.  Chiropractory made it worse and caused intense pain and burning sensations in my spine and the pain flare ups became more frequent.  I avoid any strenuous exercises and stick to walking and swimming.  If I get pain I take Nurofen and try to stay as mobile as possible.
    • Posted

      That sounds awful.  When I first started with this in late 2015 I tried chiropractor also because I had gone before for my lower back but it made this worse.  Walking and elliptical for me also.  I can't overdo anything any more - have too many aches and pains.  I just wish I could rule out that this was an organ causing this.  Hugs to you all.

    • Posted

      Pain in ribs that causes a bra to hurt, could be costochondritis .  I had this for three months after the stress of the chiropractory. 
    • Posted

      Yes I have often thought this too.  Ortho doc said no.  I think it's some sort of neuropathy but sure don't know what is causing it.  Not sure gallbladder issues cause needle like pain.

    • Posted

      Gallbladder pain is felt on the right side.  By needle like pain do you mean a pins and needles sensation or a sharp pain?  I would see a different doctor.
  • Posted

    No not had a HIDA scan. My endoscopy found erosive gastritis and a small polyp. I had 3 months treatment with a PPI. A repeat endoscopy found it had greatly improved but not gone. I still have symptoms but the past 3 wks I've taken a daily acidophilus. This has helped but I think I'm always going to have this weakness and have to be careful. Not been back to GP since last endoscopy, sick of doctors 😖.

    • Posted

      I am sick of doctors too they all look at me like I'm crazy and for past yr and a half have told me that it's most likely muscular/skeletal but I don't know if i believe it.  I have to wear extenders on my bra so that it's looser.  This needle like pain is bad today.  Just wanna cry.

    • Posted

      I was told by my doctor to change my wired bra to a non wired one when I had costochondritis.  However, in the end I didn't need to because the pain cleared up in the timescale to doctor said it would.

    • Posted

      Sounds familiar I wish someone would diagnose me already!!!  I was down to wearing bra with no extender a couple months ago then this flared up again.  I can't imagine if this was an organ like gall bladder that it would go away for six months.  I'm just so frustrated. 

    • Posted

      Gallbladder pain is felt on the right side of the abdomen.  Ribcage pain seems a bit high to be gallbladder related.
    • Posted

      oh how I wish I knew what it was.  Most of the time it's like needles but sometimes worse.  I'm going to have ultrasound just to make sure.  it's such a strange thing it's sometimes on both sides of ribs and back.

    • Posted

      If it is pins and needles, it could be nerve pain.  However, pain on both sides of the ribs and back sounds like costochondritis.  This condition can be diagnosed simply by a phyical examination or by X Ray. 


    • Posted

      When this thing started over a year ago they took chest and spinal xrays no one could find anything.  I'm going nuts not knowing what it is.  I wish I could find a good doc.  Not even sure what kind to go to next after the ultrasound results come back.

    • Posted

      I think costochondritis sometimes hurts when you breathe. That could be a clue but not sure if this always happens. Pippa, did this happen to you?

      Spinal problems are dealt with by both orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons. My specialist is a neurosurgeon.

      Nerve pains can be burning, tingling, sharp, dull, heavy,light, shooting, along with numbness and pins and needles also over sensitivity. They are individual to you and because the source can be nowhere near the pain difficult to diagnose.

      My side pains sometimes move to both ribs and feel like a tight band, but not often. 

      You could google dermatome map for nerve pathway information.

    • Posted

      When I had costochondritis, I had no pain when breathing. I just found it extemely painful to lean on, touch or when someone hugged me. Even carrying a pile of clothes to the washing machine caused pain.  I was told that stress can cause costochondritis and make it worse when you have it.


    • Posted

      I just don't know - I need to find another doc for sure.  sometimes it feels like something swollen on right side esp when I try to reach up high like this morning.  I just looked up that map - interesting mine is definitely on the right but also goes all the way around middle of thoracic area like a band.  I just want answers like if I hve infection in gallbladder or something I want treatment.  I wish I had answers.  I don't sleep well and that doesn't help.  Thanks all

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