Back pain with fatty liver? - Living with Fatty...

Living with Fatty Liver and NASH

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Back pain with fatty liver?

MJVJ profile image


I was recently diagnosed with "moderate fatty liver" after having 2 ultrasounds. Blood tests all came back normal. My symptoms were a dull ache in the upper right quadrant going on a couple of months. Every doctor I've seen says to lose weight and not worry too much about it and to see them again in 6 months. Unfortunately, this pain isn't going anywhere and I'm struggling to figure out if it's worse than they think it is.

My specific question is about back pain. I see back pain listed in all kinds of places for fatty liver, usually more on the worst-case side of things. I have pain in pretty much the same position as my "liver pain" but in my back muscles. This pain gets worse WITH MOVEMENT. Does that make sense that it's connected to the fatty liver? If I wince or twist my back I can feel it hurting in correlation with my movements. Is that the type of back pain that people experienced with liver problems?

Thanks in advance!


23 Replies
nash2 profile image

Sources of pain are often hard to isolate. Right upper quadrant pain, under the ribs, is common with advancing fibrosis. For some it radiates to the back but since yours is tied to movement of your spine it suggests nerve pressure from some kind of disc issue but that is just speculation. Just so you know, ultrasound isn't really very good at diagnosis fibrosis so given your discomfort, if it was me, I'd try to get an evaluation by a specialist. Primary care docs are often very poor with liver diagnosis.

Good Luck



Sorry to read that you are struggling. I have Nash with some fibrosis. My liver is so large it stretches the capsule around it which causes the pain as this has nerves in it which the liver doesn't. The pain then shoots through to the back and also right shoulder and between shoulder blades. Please take care Lynne

HLPV profile image
HLPV in reply to

Does your back pain hurt with movement or stationary?

I am newly diagnosed with a "mildly enlarged liver" (presumably fatty liver) after one ultrasound, and am constantly wondering the same thing about the degree of damage because of the pain. I will say that so far, when I stop eating any sugar, the pain starts to subside after about 48 hours. I am guessing that maybe it takes that long for the inflammation to start to subside after being aggravated by the sugar?? As soon as I eat sugar, the pain increases within minutes (about 30-60 minutes)! I don't know if it's my imagination or not. I don't think it is because I truly don't have time to think about it too much with my job. I have given up sugar for the most part, and am eating far fewer carbs as well. Your question about movement interests me because of my job. I am a rural mail carrier in the U.S., and after sorting mail for about an hour in the office, the next 6 hours are spent sitting in a car, twisting my torso to grab mail from the left, but most of my action is right-sided. Twisting and reaching to the right with mail and packages in my right hand to about 420 mailboxes, 6 days per week. I often wonder if I am aggravating the inflammation of the liver. The back pain is also on the back side of the "liver pain" and down lower as well. I have to wonder if the movement required by my job is making this worse.

Hello40 profile image
Hello40 in reply to MissRona

I am in the same boat. At 39, and recently told I had mild fatty liver in ultrasound, I’m very worried bc I have a lot of pain. Mine is in the center of the back and really is almost always aggravated. I’ve lost 35 pounds, am eating really clean and yet the pain is so bad. I hadaprosvooy recently and the liver is enlarged on the left side and the right is normal but it does appear as fatty liver. I’m due to get a fibroscan but my hepatogist has be waiting a few months. I see him again soon and am going to try to push him to get it done sooner. This is a terrible and painful disease.

Hello40 profile image
Hello40 in reply to Hello40

Do you eat fruit? I’ve cut sugar otherwise and am wondering if I should eliminate fruit as well.

MissRona profile image
MissRona in reply to Hello40

I do eat fruit, but I wonder the same thing. I try to be conscious about how much fruit I am eating and have tried to cut back. An orange is now my dessert, whereas it used to be a fruit bar which is much more concentrated in simple sugar. I'm guessing it's probably a good idea to keep an eye on how much fruit and the concentration of sugar in the fruit...watermelon vs. banana. It sounds like you have been working really hard (losing 35 pounds!!). Keep up the good work. I really hope the hepatologist can give you some answers and guide you in the right direction. I also hope you get some relief from the back pain. I have lower back pain now, but I don't know if it's job related or liver related or a combination.

Jlg19 profile image
Jlg19 in reply to Hello40

How you been doing??

Sndrlm profile image
Sndrlm in reply to MissRona

stop eating the sugars and carbs.

Jlg19 profile image
Jlg19 in reply to MissRona

How you been feeling?

Arian2 profile image
Arian2 in reply to MissRona

Tell your doctor to do auto immune hepatitis test as well. Sometimes exercise can make things worse in SOME people with auto immune hepatitis.

Tests Antibody test ,anti smooth muscle test and IGG

My doctor showed me where the liver is -on left side just below ribs. I do have gallstones and he told me if I have an attack it would cause pain on right upper side - front or/and back. I hope you can get some relief soon.

Magsmc29 profile image
Magsmc29 in reply to nettl1

I have an enlarged fatty liver but I was told that you can't feel pain from your liver??

nettl1 profile image
nettl1 in reply to nettl1

Seems like I see lots more posts with gallstones and liver Disease. Must be related. Good luck to you!

I have hemochromatosis and Nafld.. i get pain in left upper

Thanks so much for all the replies, everyone!

I took it upon myself to get a fibroscan to see what was what. I've been drinking a lot the past couple years and thought I'd take this time to check it out.

My fibroscan came back as 5.5. The charts tell me this should be F0 but the doctor is calling this F1 mild fibrosis. I so received a CAP test and it was 310 which suggests a very fatty liver.

If anybody has any advice or insight given these scores please let me know but I'm going to take this as a wake-up call and curb my drinking to try and get ahead of any major problems.

I was recently diagnosed with fatty liver and my pain started in my back. I thought maybe I pulled something and kept asking friends for back massages because that seemed to help at the time. After a few weeks of the back pain, the pain moved to my front upper right abdomen. I've been dieting hardcore and working out which has helped with the abdomen pain but now I'm having back pain on my left side but only if I skip a meal or eat a little later than usual. This is so weird to me because as soon as I eat the back pain goes away within 15min. It seems like fatty liver can effect people differently and is pretty difficult to diagnose.

Jlg19 profile image
Jlg19 in reply to kbova

How you been doing?

Jlg19 profile image
Jlg19 in reply to kbova

Hope your feeling better. How you been? Me to in pain. No answers. Horrible.

Me too - on the left constantly. More bloods next week. Only being monitored by the GP.

Sugar is an inflammatory-creates inflammation which in turn creates pain. If you have back pain you should get checked for back problems, herniated disc, etc. The reason there is no medicine for a fatty liver is because it is not deadly. Pretty much your liver is obese and just like your body being obese the only real cure is exercise and diet and just like obesity it can cause other diseases that can be deadly if you continue to eat/drink things to increase the fat. The reason that some skinny people have a fatty liver is because they are eating to much sugar and the liver can not process it as fast as it is being given it even if your metabolism is burning it fast which in turn stops you from gaining weight. The liver is self rejuvenating and will heal its self eating healthier and exercising will assist the liver. Treat your fatty liver like you would fat on your body. I have primary biliary cirrhosis I have a hepotoligist (most doctors are not very knowledgeable about the liver they can only give you basic suggestions/treatment and if your condition needed more attention ie life threatening or debilitating they would refer you to a specialist /hepotologist) my condition is deadly and there is only 1 medicine to prolong my life span. I also have a fatty liver but 90% of the world has a fatty liver it is somewhat normal. I constantly ask questions and research so some of what I am saying comes from the hepotoligist at upenn in philly and the other from research. A fatty liver can cause fatigue just like being over weight can cause fatigue and other symptoms. Sugar, just an fyi carbohydrates are also sugar so it could be sweets or bread and Alcohol is sugar hence why you can have a fatty liver and not drink. As long as your liver is producing bile and you slow down your intake of sugar in all its forms and exercise so that the bile produces to push that fat out you will feel better and your fatty liver will lesson and eventually go back to normal. Unfortunately my body doesnt create bile in my liver so I have to take fake bile but will never 100% be as effective as a normal person and with exercise and diet i no longer have a fatty liver but still have Pbc which eventually will cause liver failure/cancer but I stay positive

This is exact the same condition I have and I was about to ask exact same question. I have non-alcoholic fatty liver.

5hank you for all the great advice. I eat oatmeal in the mornings everyday, not from a box but I cook raw oatmeal and have it with yogurt. Is that carbs? Is oatmeal cooked from raw a bad carb to have with fatty liver?

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