How long did it take for your liver pa... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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How long did it take for your liver pain to go?

mayk19 profile image

Hi there, those who have had liver pains / back pain, how long of abstinence was it before your pains subsided or went?

(All bloods / ALFS / LFT / CT / MRI / FIBRO) clear but just pain

Thank you

38 Replies

Hi 👋 The liver has no pain receptors. If all bloods and scan ok, I'd ask GP fir another explanation if you think that it is something to do with the liver.

Have they investigated Gallstones as a possibility? Just a thought.

I hope you can get some more info soon.

Take care 🙂

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to Kji378

Hi, thanks for reply. Yes scanned for gallstones it wasn’t that. I’ve had pain for two year next month. Even with four months AF last year, started drinking more in July and it’s back big time although never went. Physio got rid of it on the day, or for a while - which I think was just treating symptoms. Maybe it’s that sack think giving me another warning

Kji378 profile image
Kji378 in reply to mayk19

Hi...got the right person now. Doh!The Glission capsule thingamajiggy? Do you mean that? That's not very good Liver language or terminology sorry. 😊

Well at least you've got the Gallstone box ticked, so to speak.

The Physio sounds interesting,

If you are still drinking, stay off the pop. It's proved it works. Good luck. 👍

Kji378 profile image
Kji378 in reply to mayk19

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful at the moment, I'm sure tomorrow you will get some more info and advice. 🙂

BlueAster profile image
BlueAster in reply to mayk19

Hi, I was interested in the type of physiotherapy you were able to access for this. Sadly I think detailed treatment for this type of pain, usually isn’t available for the majority because of the grey area of what’s treatable by this. I wasn’t sure if you also had shoulder pain, referred from the liver/ gallbladder region and if they realised this was the case rather than assuming the pain derived from the shoulder itself?

Also did they work purely on pain relieving techniques with something like a TENS machine or did they work on things like freeing the surrounding connective tissues/ fascia or reducing phrenic nerve irritation? Lots of questions!

It’s interesting that so many have this pain but physiotherapy is rarely mentioned!

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to BlueAster

Hi there, the Physio was for back pain. I have private healthcare, so I went back to GP after four months of not drinking as I still had the back pain, they sent me for an MRI and found issues in my 13&14 (disc?) which the consultant said injections or surgery wouldn’t help. I asked time and time again - can a problem in my back really cause this pain across my front and under my ribs and I was assured that it could and was normal. Maybe I had both at same time - who knows. So they were not treating “liver” pain with physio. Does that help?

BlueAster profile image
BlueAster in reply to mayk19

Yes thanks, I just found it interesting as you don’t come across forum members talking about physio very often for pain referral related to the liver/ gallbladder but so many of us have this. It’s obviously because the source of pain is considered not to be treatable by this. Back pain radiating across the ribs is definitely possible if it relates to the middle vertebrae but that’s a different thing altogether.

I’m pretty sure my pain is due to all the structures around the liver, including membrane, diaphragm and nerves, being really irritated and almost tethered, after my liver being inflamed a while ago. It’s now a normal size but the pain persists. Obviously physio can’t treat liver disease but there is a place in pain reduction and getting structures to move freely. Hope yours feels better soon!

Sorry I've just read your profile posts. My apologies if you already know my first reply.

Oh I'm replying to the wrong person. I think I should lay off the caffeine and put my glasses on...sorry Falco. 😂

Falco1 profile image
Falco1 in reply to Kji378

Not sure what's going on, but all cool 😀

Kji378 profile image
Kji378 in reply to Falco1

It's my fault, I was trying to reply to this post, then thought to myself, Oh I better read their history, incase there is more to it than just stopping drinking, but clicked on your profile instead. Does that make any sense? 😂 No harm meant..my fault being shattered.

Falco1 profile image
Falco1 in reply to Kji378

All good😀

Kji378 profile image
Kji378 in reply to Falco1

😊👍

A while. At least a month or two, and still occasionally get it a year later. We call them my "green days" 'cuz I look green in the face while it happens.

The system really had to clear out and I had to get my other health issues under control. Clean diet helped a lot.

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to BlackberryFan

Ahhh many thanks. Gosh that’s quite a strong effect going green. Hope your recovery carries on. In that time how are your bloods?

Hi.

My experience for what it’s worth has been approx 2 to 3 months for my drinking related pain to go. Rhs flank and back pain/ache. That is with me doing plenty of exercise, not drinking at all and dropping some weight. Probably just need to stop the drink but mentally feel a lot better with the exercise as well. But with no definite liver disease diagnosis myself (clear bloods and ultrasound) I just know the certain cause and effect. After my first pains I gave up alcohol for 18 months then started drinking again pain free for a year eventually building up to a bottle of wine plus a beer or more say 5 days a week. Thought great can drink again but 12 months later same pains , possibly a bit worse returned. Gave up drink repeat lots of exercise etc , pains go but after 3 to 4 months this time. About 6 months on stupidly had a bottle of wine and a pint one night and next day pain ache started and got worse. Now back on exercise etc and 3 weeks on pain is easing a bit. How long before it gone for good this time I will have to wait and see. But in my own mind I am now certain of the connection between my drinking and pain despite no medical diagnosis.

Spoke to gp but they are reluctant to do any further tests given clear ultrasound. On one hand I am lucky no obvious problem (cirrhosis) can be seen on my scan so hopefully it is just a sensitive liver rejecting alcohol after many years of regular drinking above the recommended levels. So now it is alcohol free forever for me but its taken me the best part of 4 years to fully accept the connection. Guess everyones story is different re alcohol related pain, liver damage and time to recover. Just need to accept the connection, if you continue drinking it seems the pains in my case at least , return worse and take longer to go each time as I guess the liver becomes more sensitive and upset, so stop the drinking and hopefully recover is the way to go.

My pain has given me many months of misery and worry. The drink isn’t worth it. Best of luck.

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to Oxman

Hi Oxman, sorry to hear of the stress you’ve been through, but also - your post has given me real reassurance, and kicked my dumb part of my brain, to accept what’s been nagging away at me. It sounds like you and I have exactly the same scenario. I know I’m drinking to much, accepted them medical your ok and it’s back pain, despite knowing full well that drinking 5 bottles of wine a week is wrong (my consumption same as yours) . Even everyone around me was saying it’s not your liver - as they don’t want to face the fact they are drinking to much.

Thank you - I know it’s got to end now, otherwise I will end. Damn shame - I will miss a nice glass of red, or a cold beer on a warm day.

Thanks once again for your help.

Dd4560 profile image
Dd4560 in reply to mayk19

What kind of pain do you guys experience? I get a pinching pain in my abdomen area, northeast and northwest of the belly button, basically where my liver is located. I also get back shoulder blade pain (left and right), which I guess is less pinching, more like dull pain. I had it last year, it went away when I stopped drinking, eating better, and exercising. Now it came back after an unhealthy August and September.

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to Dd4560

Hi DD, my pain is back shoulder blade, dull “I’m here pain” right flank below ribs but moves down to pelvis and sometimes to belly button area. Sometimes lower right flank. Moves around a lot Hope that helps - good luck not drinking - day 16 now. Pain had started to subside but come back today big style.

Jebediah454 profile image
Jebediah454 in reply to Oxman

Your pain sounds exactly like the pain that's causing me stress. I'm still waiting on the doctor offering me an ultrasound.

Does the pain start at the shoulder blade and almost pierce through to the front rib cage and cause a dull sensation? It also wraps around the side of the ribs and sometimes causes pain down my lower side under the ribs.

My doctors are convinced it's not my liver due to perfect bloods but I know after 4 or 5 years of really heavy drinking and a further 4 or more years of pretty heavy social binge drinking that my liver is in danger

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to Jebediah454

Hi Jebediah, yes almost exactly like that. Not so much piercing though, but certainly wrapping around from lower shoulder blade to ribs. I went with physical cause for a while - but with periods of abstinence - (4 months) it went away. Then 2-3 months back at around 40 units some weeks it came back. - this is even with perfect bloods, scans etc. I'm 100% sure its an early warning system - in some ways we are lucky who have this, as many dont - and only discuses too late that there is an issue. I'm listening to my body now. good luck with yours, hope you find resolution.

Jebediah454 profile image
Jebediah454 in reply to mayk19

Thanks mate. I think I'm at the stage when you first got the pains. It's been about 8 months but in the last few months I've drank about 3 or 4 bottles of wine max. It's always aggravated by drink so I'm certain as much as you are that it's my liver either saying there's a problem or letting me know there will be if I drink any further.

Hopefully I'll get my scans and will be all clear

Good luck to you also

You will miss the wine and getting tipsy to start off with but it gets easier. For me it was relatively easy as the worry re pain / discomfort Is too much. Also going to the gym regularly changing your habits and lifestyle has its benefits. Lost weight more easily , got a new routine and can honestly say I don’t really miss the wine and occasional hangover now. But if like me you slip up , start drinking and pains return you know why. Guess the liver can be pretty sensitive and unhappy/inflamed for some people despite still functioning well enough to not show on blood/function tests. It’s worth giving it up to stay healthy and you can still be happy.

Took me about 5-6 months of no drinking before the pain in my right side went completely get the odd day but only if I eat to much rubbish . My liver was inflamed and I think it presses on other organs which causes the pain or the “sac thing” !!

What does surprise me with Liver issues is there is no treatment. It’s simply stop drinking and wait.

Yes , for the alcohol and fatty liver related conditions it seems largely to be a case of a lifestyle change - lose weight and stop putting the aggravating alcohol into your system and you should stand a very good chance of gradually getting better. Unfortunately it’s not got the simplicity of taking an ibuprofen for a headache and feeling better a few hours later.

So for all those interested. I’m a physio. The nerves that come out the side of your spine run around the rib cadge. Each nerve follows each rib. Ribs 11 and 12 are right at the bottom. The nerve can be compressed by anything compromising the hole where the nerve comes out. This can be inflammation, disc protrusion, arthritic change in the joint, strained inflamed capsule around the joint. If the T11, 12 nerve root is affected on the right it can cause right sided rib pain. This is usually associated with movement and sometimes sustained postures ie sitting and slouching for long periods. I have had great results by mobilising the spine in this area and giving exercises depending on what I feel the cause is. The other thing to consider is any sort of swelling in that area can cause the lower ribs to flare and therefor possibly irritate the same joints mentioned. I see this a lot in pregnancy also. There are many other ways pain can appear in that area through trigger points in other muscle groups. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s certainly possible pain in the area is musculoskeletal but if it gets worse with drinking increases or food related probably not.

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to Kettl

Hi Kettl, many thanks for reply - yes that was exactly what I have / may have / also have - looked at notes T11/T12. I think however in the end I’ve got two things going off at once - but I preferred the musco skeletal reason as that meant I could keep drinking….. excuses excuses and now I’ve realised it’s both

Yes definitely. In terms of visceral referred pain, I think the blurry area comes when the cause of the pain, has on paper been resolved medically, but the knock on effects of having this for a while, keeps that pain process going via other structures that may be treatable with physio.

I’ve had ‘gallbladder ‘ pain for 14 years!!!!

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to deanw41

Gosh no ! Really? Have they scanned it?

deanw41 profile image
deanw41 in reply to mayk19

They have just found two stones!! They were missed on previous ultrasounds. It depends who you get on the day and how they interpret and their experience. I was told that by a Dr!!

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to deanw41

Wow that’s terrible, did you only have ultrasound or also CT / MRI scans?

deanw41 profile image
deanw41 in reply to mayk19

Just ultrasound....

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to deanw41

Ahh, ok... i had CT and MRI so i guess would have spotted it there if that was my issue

deanw41 profile image
deanw41 in reply to mayk19

I have a well distended Gallbladder apparently...🤷‍♂️

mayk19 profile image
mayk19 in reply to deanw41

Sorry to hear that - are you under treatment?

deanw41 profile image
deanw41 in reply to mayk19

Just clean living!!!

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