Pain under right ribs radiating to back. Worse at night and when lying down

Hi everyone - I'm new to this, but can across it and was wondering if anyone could help! I've had really bad stabbing pains almost under my right ribs. The pain radaiats to upper back, shoulder blades and shoulde tips! It's worse at night and when I lie down! I read online about pancreatic cancer and have totally freaked myself out! I'm never away from the hospital and doctors but they tell me it's nothing. They won't do an endoscopy because they say I have nothing wrong with me. They've tested my blood twice and done two ultrasound scans and nothing is showing up! Please can anyone help, I'm going crazy here!!

16 Replies

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  • Sounds like the pain I had with gallstones. You should ask a doctor to check for this.

  • When there are no answers that is never fun to deal with... but as I was told long ago, (this is mainly because I have pain everyday all day with no answers) my Dr told me that if it was something other than what we already know, I would already be dead.

    While this was hard to stomach - it is also in many cases true, as in if it was truly serious or cancer or other, after 10 years plus of dealing with issues and pain, I would more than likely be dead, but you always need to rule out the issues.

    I have found in many cases just moving forward and trying to at least maintain a semi normal life helps.

    Also it is important for me to give tests etc a break in many cases it is all the tests and anxiety that also drives the symptoms.

    Does this pain reduce with any kind of over the counter meds like antacids etc?

  • I had this turned out had gallbladder problems. Had it removed and this aspect of my symptoms went. Doctors said nothing wrong for quite a while. Worth asking for a referral.

  • Sounds like gall stones - were your scans on your abdomen?

  • Hi. It could be pressure (wind) building up due to IBS. That can start at the bottom of right side ribs, and can be painful and a bit scary. I suggest checking out the other symptoms to IBS. If you think you have them, go and see a GP for diagnosis. Good luck

  • I have been having similar discomfort...last night it occurred to me that my ribs/spine may just have got stiffer there...i am aphysio. So i showed my husband how to mobilise them...it did stop the pain however it never lasts a long time. I will have to see how it goes. You could always see a physio to check it out?

    I also occasionally get discomfort like that from reflux when i lie down. Gaviscon stops it!

  • I had this and as others have said it turned out to be gallstones.

  • i have had a right-sided, under the ribs, itch/pain/ that eases up when i lay on it at night. i have had all kinds of tests done. in the testing, i found out i had bladder cancer. i had the tumor removed. but that right-sided pain comes back and is with me almost all day. i've had this for years and have been told it could be: post-hepatic shingles, IBS, gas, inflamed ribs. nothing gets rid of it and no test confirms it.

    i now just live with it, but will start a probiotic called VSL#3. that's all i know.

  • HI, I developed this pain in October 2014 and have been suffering since. Doctor said IBS I didn't believe him, I been hospital endless times. My weight was 12.5 stone in October by November i weighed 9 stone. My pain is under lower right rib, down to my right groin and right side. It never goes it aches all day long. I have had colonoscope, endescope, gall scans, kidney scans, liver scans, CT Scans, ultrasounds, endless blood tests, poo test and wee tests. 90% of the time I just get on with the aches, but sometimes all the pain goes, not for long 2 weeks the most. I have changed diet - didn't help. Sometimes for 4-5 days the aches are pretty unbareable but I have noticed this happens when constipated with trapped wind. Theres nothing you can do about this other than try to be comfortable. I find hot water bottle on side and round back helps. Laying in a warm bath and massage stomach gently to release some trapped wind, it does help. When it is quite severe only drink water, helps in so many ways. No IBS tablets work for me. Bread and eggs I eat very very rarely as it blocks me up. The endescope revealed a stomach infection, I took the tablets and that was the end of the feeling bloated problem I had for 6 months, drinking gaviscon and being very uncomfortable. My only problem now is the runs, constipation and the really annoying ache. I thought I would type all this to let you know your not alone and my experiance's which are still going on today in July 2015. Doctors have literally given up on me and are stumped as nothing works. I wish you all the best and if you need to ask any questions pm me and I try to help. Its very worrying I know I still worry today there is no getting used to the uncertainty feeling :)

  • Also mine makes no difference before the loo or after, pain level never changes, its constant

  • Whilst I sympathise it is such a relief to know others have the same.

    I have a patch on my back I scratch when the pain and itch builds up under my right ribs. So weird!

    Doctors have given up on me too.!

    I have tries products with Simethicone in in UK you can buy Windeze and Deflatine which helps a lot with wind and swelling. Other than that I find myself constantly rubbing or pushing at my right side!

    Worry or stress really contributes so wonder if antidepressants low dose might be the answer? Just feels wrong having to drug yourself?

    Any ideas?

  • I realize this thread is over two years old now but I stumbled across it during a sleepless night and was wondering if I can find some answers here. I have been suffering from a chronic pain in my right side, it spans from my belly button all the way to my spine, just below the ribs. It's been going on for over 7 years now. Started out as a pain that I felt when sleeping on my right side (it appeared when there was pressure on that area from the weight of my body from sleeping) and then developed into a constant dull aching pain throughout the day. I am a female, 28 years old now, 49-50 kg, healthy lifestyle.

    I have been through many many tests and in the process of trying to find out what the cause of my pain is, I have been diagnosed and treated for gastritis, Barrett's esophagus, lactose intolerance, and finally I saw a neurologist that said it was neuralgia and prescribed lidocaine patches. I use those scarcely as I felt I was getting too dependent on them for relief, and I felt like without them the pain somehow felt worse. I'm not one hundred percent convinced this is the cause of my pain, but I gave up on it and tried to cope with it day to day. Some days are worse than others. My pain hardly ever leaves me, and is usually dull 2-3 and constant, but sometimes it gets worse 3-4, and other times I get what I call an "attack" and it feels like a series of stabbing pains that could leave me in tears and unable to finish a sentence and lasts for a few minutes, and then subsides to the dull pain. I can't sleep on my right side or on my back, and if I do, it's to give my left side a break and it usually leaves me in more pain and wakes me up. I wake up in pain everyday and it takes a toll on me and drains me of energy and frustrates me. Any kind of additional pain caused by an injury would bring me to an extremely aggravated state as I am already constantly battling this pain.

    I am not sure what I'm hoping to achieve by writing this, but maybe someone figured out something useful during these two years, that can help me and others find some relief. Any help would be much appreciated!

  • thanks for reviving this issue. I suggest you look into "Hepatic Flexure Syndrome" or its better know left sided partner "Splenic Flexure Syndrome". Also solutions for "slow transit colon" may be of use to you. I will list some below.

    First know that your colon is not shaped like it is shown on biological textbook pictures. It bends all over the place. Especially at the right side is a steep bend. Air easily gets trapped there causing build up, swelling and pain. Sometimes extreme pain.

    Drs cannot do much about it except give you something for the pain.

    You can do much about it when you think of the mechanics involved: bendy colon + air + food.

    Bendy colon: you can coax the air bubbles along by putting your body into positions where air -wanting to rise up- is coaxed along the bends. Lie on your right side, turn to your back, raise your pelvis to the ceiling. Massage your stomach. Do yoga belly rolls. Kettlebell swing. If you want try to get a virtual coloscopy: a CT colon scan, to find out how your individual colon bends and twists. Your dr will tell you it looks normal meaning there are no strictures, polyps or thjckness of the walls. Never mind, you just want to take an overall picture home to study the bends.

    Air: reduce it. Try to swallow less when swallowing (don't know how. Have been told a speech therapist might help). Stop feeding the bacteria in your gut which fart. That's FODMAP diet. And fibre, bacteria feed on fibre. Now there will always be a bit of air, you cannot eradicate your bacteria (well you can with laxatives and anti-biotics but don't because it will frustrate your digestion even more).

    food: stop eating bulk. Look into a "low residue diet" or a "reduced fibre diet". Don't listen to laymen saying you need fibre for health or constipation. Only listen to an intestine doctor. He will tell you fibre is needed solely for colonic function and only in about half the cases when bowel movement is not regular. The other half needs less fibre because fibre tires the shit out of their system.

    Well, now that I have written a whole chapter I might as well tell you about my case: I woke up every night from my birth after 4,5 hours of lying down. Didn't matter when I went to sleep, where I slept or when I ate what. I woke with a jolt, in sweat and with dull pains in the right side.

    At age 37 my adrenals gave out, tired of having to supply for decades an unnatural high in anti-stress hormones while at the same time I was robbed of healthy 8 hour sleep. We've looked at all possible causes of insomnia since then.

    It turned out to be what I described above: stuff getting trapped in the ascending colon. I took the measures I described, including the CT colon, and now I sleep for 6 to 7 hours nightly. I also eat my protein/dinner around noon and eat only sweets after 3 in the afternoon. This because it takes about 4,5 hours for stuff to move along the small intestine (after having been in the stomach for about 1 hour). This way I have most of my food already in the colon by the time I go to sleep. So when I lie down the small intestine does not supply the colon with stuff, making it build up during the first half of the night.

    My CT colon scan can be viewed at flickr: flic.kr/p/UwnT5G and you'll see: it looks "normal" and the doctor said: "I don't think it's your colon." But it also shows where function is hindered: many folds at the start of ascending colon and a bend folding in on itself at the Hepatic Flexure. This is a hard budge I can feel when I lie on my back. I often massage it (hard) and I feel victorious when gurgling occurs. Or gas passage.

    It may not be the obvious faults a dr. will look for but it is the cause of my problems.

    You go and feel victorious now. Steeply reducing fibre and gas producing foods will give your colon a rest soon and hopefully reduce the pain. Take painkillers too to find solace. Then device a trial and error plan to find out if this is what you have and what tips might work for you.

    PS I need to do two things to sleep through the night: eat right and vacuum my bed every other day (dust or dander sensitivity). One of these will not suffice?? I'm puzzled by the link although I have heard of acupressure points in the colon and the one for sinuses being right at the hepatic flexure. (All other causes for insomnia (sleep apneu, psychological factors, bed routine, blood sugar etc. have been ruled out).)

    PS2 sorry to say: you are in danger of draining your adrenals too. With the constant pain and stress. After age 27 the glands reduce in functionality. Please start fortifying your adrenals: calm down now. Get out of Fight or Flight. This can be done by daily meditation or tricks taught by Reverse Therapy or Gupta Amygdala Retraining. These are all tricks to try and invoke The Relaxation Response.

    This is not mumbo jumbo, you need to find a way to calm down your nervous system all the while while still in pain.

    Your adrenals need physical support by way of: vit C, glandular minerals (I take Multigland from Biotics) and no more kicks from caffeine or adrenaline. Other minerals are important too: Zinc, Magnesium, Molybdenum and Lithium. (the mineral not the drug). Vit D is essential too. As is Progesteron (both for men and women. Cortisol is made out of Progesteron).

    Monitor your blood pressure. While your adrenals struggle it will be all over the place. When they tire it will become low. Doctors may compliment you but remember that blood pressure exists to push nutrients into your tissues. Blood pressure 95/70 is too low to function optimal. Your tissues will get mal nutritioned. You can asses their state by having your hair analysed.

    If your adrenals give out there are still solutions: hormone replacement therapy. I am on cortisol myself. Hydrocortison. Without it I can no longer function. I also take Progesteron (not for female stuff) and Florinef (to hoist up blood pressure). I got my life back at age 45. But rather I'd wish I had taken care of my adrenals when I was 28 like yourself.

    Don't underestimate how unhealthy stress is to the body. Get rid of anything and anyone causing you stress. Even if this is your family, your job or living situation. You may need to be quite ruthless and selfish for a couple of years when it comes to social conventions. You'll be happier for it, I promise.

  • This is exactly my symptoms. Any word or new diagnosis?

  • Is the pain get worse when laying down on the right side?

  • I also asked about them, My doctor advised against antidepressants, he said "that's not the way to go is it, you will become dependant on them" Easier said than done I know but try not to let it get you down, I too constantly rub and push on the right side, I had it now for 9 months constant with maybe 3 weeks in total break from it. I pretty much ignore it now where possible and am learning to live with it, but sometimes it can really dig away at you and drag you down. I found a 2 weeks coarse of 2mg Diazepam helped me but after, the doctor refused to give them to me due to addictiveness, the pains came straight back. These tablets relax all the muscles, super addictive but surprisingly they worked but are not too be taken long term I am told. He is aware they did work a lot but also said they was not the solution. Maybe ask your doctor about them, 2 weeks relief I had on them.

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