Upper right back pain sometimes dull ... - Living with Fatty...

Living with Fatty Liver and NASH
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Upper right back pain sometimes dull abdomen uncomfortable feeling


Hi there. I'm 24 years old. Around 9stone and I've been having an uncomfortable feeling like a pain in my upper right abdomen (radiating to back ) for about a year now. I have been freaking out alot as I drank heavily between the ages of 18-22 while living abroad partying. Drinking huge amounts every single day over months at a time. I have convinced myself I have done damage. But my doctors dont think it is my liver at all. Last year I had all my liver function tests complete blood count, abdominal ultrasound and endoscopy done which were all clear. I've constantly been worrying about this and its causing me severe anxiety where I feel crippled some days and cant live life properly or enjoy my day just thinking about it. Because the pain has continued I've been going to the doctor and around 3 weeks ago had all my bloods done again( liver function, CBC etc) and I went and had another abdominal ultrasound done privately this time which were all also normal so basically they are putting it down to my acid reflux problems which was diagnosed with endoscopy.. I also have oesophagitis which I'm going to get surgery for to stop the reflux. . I dont drink much now maybe once every 6 weeks or so on a night out but I would drink a large amount ln that night out usually. I didnt drink for two months and last weekend drank one night hut a large amount and this back pain and (slight) uncomfortable upper rigjt abdomen pain has come back after not having it for a few weeks.

I also have slipping rib syndrome on the same right side I wonder if that would cause back pain but why would it get worse after drinking alcohol.

Should I be satisfied with the tests I've done and could it be reflux and gerd problems?

I am obsessing over it and because the pain is there i cant let it go.

Any advice much appreciated

26 Replies

Hi Rachel

I'm sure you know we can't give you a diagnosis but perhaps some information about how things work might help you. I know you understand that the heavy drinking damaged your liver. How much isn't known for sure but your tests don't suggest an active disease process so about the pain. The liver has no nerves so can't feel pain but it has a tough covering which has plenty of nerves. You probably have done enough damage to put stress into the covering, called a Glisson Capsule, so that you have some chronic irritation. When you do your drinking the liver gets bigger for a time which would increase the irritation. The liver also gets bigger when you eat so you might have noticed that as well. All of the nerves in that area come from the spine so it can be experienced as back pain which could be aggravated if you also have rib issues. You are young so it would be smart to take some care not to do more damage. Your tests suggest that you have OK function but alcohol is probably not your friend going forward.

Hope that is of some help.


Rachelgall90 in reply to nash2

Thank you Wayne

Rachelgall90 in reply to nash2

Hi wayne.

My upper back pain is driving me crazy so I called my doctor again today.(the front isn't really too painful just a weird uncomfortable feeling like there is something going on. My doctor said I really need to stop worrying as there is not one thing that suggests there is any problems with my liver. No usual symptoms and really is putting it down so acid reflux and maybe a bit of gastritis especially if it worsens after a night out. Hes told me to start taking my antiacids again especially if I plan to drink which i dont do often. He said it's especially reassuring that I've had all these tests(ultrasound and liver function done) last year and again this year and that the pain has always been there this whole time and if it were he liver surely something would have showed up by now.

He really thinks I would be wasting my time and money by going to a specialist as there is nothing to suggest it's a liver problem.

I'm going to start taking my esomprazole again and see it this helps the upper back pain

Ednoral in reply to Rachelgall90

Hi Rachel. Ya gotta stop drinking girl. Binge drinking is the worst and it sounds like that is what you are doing. Take advice from an old nurse who used to drink a lot and now has stopped forever. It's the best thing I've ever done for my health. I have NASH and don't know if I have fibrosis but I am feeling better and have stopped junk food and eat only whole foods. Best thing I've ever done for my liver.

is your blood work ok? What about doing a HIDA scan. An ultrasound will only show sludge or stones but not function.

Yes I've had bloods done on several different occasions. Two ultrasounds and one endoscopy

ok...as mentioned, the US and endoscopy will not show gallbladder function as the HIDA scan will

And what about liver would it show that better?

Thank you

Here in UK us in main test used to check for gallstones

yes.. mayoclinic.org/tests-proced...

Is that similar to an mri?

more like a CT scan. it takes several hours because you getinjected with a radioactive material and then scanned severaltimes.

Perhaps I should inquire about getting referred for one if the pain persists. Not even sure if my Doc would refer me as he really does not think my liver or gallbladder have any issues with all the previous tests hes done

is he your primary or GI?

I'm not sure what that means. I've just got one doctor

Are you in the US?

UK sorry should have mentioned. I just have one doc with is covered by the NHS healthcare system. I did go private to get ultrasound as sometimes waiting lists can be long

oh not sure how things work there. In the US you have a primary doc that you see for physicals, illness etc. But you see a specialist for specific issues. So you would see a gastroenterologist (GI) here for digestive issues.

I did see one last year it was the same story really put down to acid reflux and gastritis problems

I know from experience you have to keep trying, especially since it has been a year and you are still having pain.

Yes I will if it persists definitely. Thank you for your help

you're welcome! Good luck!

nash2Administrator in reply to Rachelgall90

Well, the doc is right that upper back pain is not likely to be caused by your liver. Not impossible but it would be unusual. It makes sense that you have caused some damage to your liver but if you are going to spend money on specialists the next one should probably be orthopedics or someone who deals with muscle/skeletal problems. If you stop drinking you will probably manage the liver issue as its own thing.

I had horrible pains last year when I ate anything or drank alcohol. I had the same panic. I went through the tests and bloodwork and they said acid reflux and gastritis, but my specialist ordered a hida scan. Turns out my gallbladder was failing. Have you tried asking about that? I had right upper quad pain that wrapped around to my back. And shoulder blade pain too. Sadly, gallbladder is removed and I still get some similar pains but not as bad. Still limiting alcohol and eating clean to help

Hi there thanks for reply.

I had two ultrasounds done one last year and one this yest they see no problem with gallbladder kidneys or liver. Did you drink heavy for a period of time? My past I partied hard for a few years dribking most days for months at a time that's what scares me.

Yep, I’ve had periods on and off of heavy drinking. But my bloodwork, ultrasound, and ct scan showed everything great. I didn’t have stones only a gallbladder that didn’t work. Hida was the only one that showed anything.

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