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Found elevated liver enzyme level. Having deep tissue massage for scoliosis pain. Liver failure?

Apr 2013
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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 4747 Questions
Hello, I am female, 37, 5'8", 155lbs. I just got a call from my nurse practitioner to go over my blood work. She said everything was normal except my liver enzyme level. The AST was 191. I used to be a sosial drinker and overindulged more than I would like to admit. I recently quit drinking 3 months ago. Not even a sip. I have been on an exercise regimine with my personal trainer, started eating a plant strong diet, cutting out processed foods and all meat and dairy. I have lost 15 lbs doing this. I also have a XXXXXXX tissue massage once a week for my scoliosis pain. I am told toxins are released from this, not sure it would have an effect on my liver enzymes, but thought it worth mentioning. Anyway, The nurse said I should retest in two months so I must wait and see what happens then. I am really worried that my drinking history has damaged my liver. Is the level something that could be going down (might have been higher 3 mos ago) or is it something that could go up from here? I plan on sticking with my alcohol abstinence and I don't take Tylenol or Ibuprofen, however I am on Wellbutrin xl. Thanks for your time.
Posted Sat, 9 Mar 2013 in Liver and Gall Bladder
Answered by Dr. Ivan Rommstein 36 minutes later
In medicine we dont treat lab parameters,we treat disease and its cause. First, elevated AST is nothing you should be concerned about,especially if you dont have any other symptom.Do you have pain under the right ribs ,jaundice, fatigue or abdominal cramps?
This is only one of tests which shows us is there some kind of liver damage. It would be easier if you have told me other parameters such as GGT,ALT and bilirubin. If only AST is abnormal then you really dont need to worry at all.
It is wrong to think that AST is elevated only in alcoholic liver damage. Any kind of liver damage can be considered including viral,autoimmune, methabolic or bile ducts disorders. Also believe or not any kind of exercise can elevate AST or ALT because muscles consist this enzyme too. So if this massage you re talking about was hard enough to cause muscle distension or contusion then it can cause your problem.
Also there are reported abnormal liver findings as side effects of Wellbutrin,but very rarely.

So I think that if you even have liver damage it is minor.As you know liver has extreme potency of regeneration,even serious liver fibrosis is reversible when people stop drinking. More then 10 years of intensive alcohol abusing is needed for serious liver damage, and I am sure you re not one of them.
To be sure that your liver isnt affected you can do Ultrasound(it will see biliary siystem as well). Also repeat AST tests in few weeks and see is there progression but I am sure that there is nothing serious.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Found elevated liver enzyme level. Having deep tissue massage for scoliosis pain. Liver failure? 20 minutes later
Dr. Romic,

Thank you for your quick response and information. The only other number I could get was for the ALT which was 80. I am hoping that since I have been on a healthy diet and exercising with a trainer 3 days a week accompanied with the sometimes painful XXXXXXX tissue massage that my system is trying to detoxify. I will check levels again in a month and then again in two. I am not having any lower abdomen pain, or jaundice...and although alcohol was my first thought for the reason of the levels, after three months, I would have hoped the levels would be closer to normal unless like you stated, it is not alcohol related and could be something else. Thanks again for your help!

Answered by Dr. Ivan Rommstein 24 minutes later
Very good. This is slightly elevated ALT. Really dont need to worry. You dont need to even avoid alcohol so extremely. Just do lab tests every few months. Sometimes a glass of wine is better than antidepressive pills:)
Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Found elevated liver enzyme level. Having deep tissue massage for scoliosis pain. Liver failure? 22 minutes later
Haha thank you, I'm not crazy about pill taking and sure miss my red wine :)
Answered by Dr. Ivan Rommstein 25 minutes later
O. I prefer white wine more:) we have really good ones here. Have a nice day.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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