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Had abdominal pain and stiff neck. X-ray showed multi-level degeneratives. Suggest

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 1979
Answered : 2457 Questions
For the past 1 1/2 yrs. i've been trying to figure out what is wrong with me! It started with 3 episodes of abdominal pain (More to the left of the belly button) within a month. The first and third was only the pain with dry-heaving & the second time was abdominal pain with vomiting & diarrhea. The ER visit said there was inflammation in the small intestine. My bloodwork looked normal except for my platelets which dropped to 45,000. Just over the past year I went for a bone-marrow biopsy,Hepatitis, HIV (3 months after possible risk),upper scope down the throat,MRI,colonoscopy and CBC once a month. My platelets have stayed between 45,000-90,000.My symptoms starting with the abdominal pain have grown over time.6 months into it my bottoms of my feet were very painful & my hands were very crampy. This lasted about 3 months then started to improve on it's own but never back to 100%. About 10 months since the beginning my neck became very stiff and hard to turn and my shoulders sore as well. The x-ray should showed multi-level degeneratives. My neck has been a problem still for the past 9 months. I do not or NEVER did smoke or do drugs but i do drink on the weekends mostly. I am not on any medications and have not taken anything,not even aspirin in over a year. Since the start of 2013 i have been going every 5 weeks for a vitamin B12 shot. At one point my Vitamin D was low at 22.3 & i was a positive XXXXXXX 1:1280. I was and sometimes still get very fatigued. I have seen Multiple Doctors (Family DR,2 Hematologist,2 Rheumatologist,2 GI's,Neurologist) and just feel like i'm passed around with no new answers to the cause. I am in my mid 40's and felt like i was still in my 20's and then my world turned upside down that one night when i woke up with the abdominal pain. I haven't been the same since. I never had any issues in my life and overall a pretty healthy family. I'm Living in pain/discomfort with no real answers or treatment to help. Please help me, i can't continue living in pain,this is ruining my life with my wife and kids cuz' i'm not the same.
Posted Tue, 18 Jun 2013 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. M Y Shareef 9 hours later
Hi there!

I am Dr Shareef, a general surgeon with special interest in gastro-intestinal problems.

I have gone through your history. I would like to know a few details from you:
1) Your dietary habits, that is if you eat frequently from outside, and if you go frequently for fast foods.
2) A little information on your bowel habits will also be helpful in opining on your problem.
3) I would also like know all the results/reports of your investigations including the colonoscopy and MRI reports.

I presume that the pain in your joints is not a lot as you have not taken any aspirin/pain killer in over a year’s time.

By the time you send all the information to me, I would suggest a few things which you can do:
1) Go for a morning walk and regular exercise within your tolerance limits.
2) Take a high roughage diet and plenty of liquids.
3) You can consult a physiotherapist if you feel like, as he can guide you how and what kind of exercises you can perform to improve your quality of life.

I hope these few things will help you up to some extent till we figure out more in detail after getting all your reports.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had abdominal pain and stiff neck. X-ray showed multi-level degeneratives. Suggest 7 hours later
Thanks Dr.
1.) My eating habits are not the best. I do eat out all the time. I'm always on the go so i look for something fast and quick.
2.)My bowel habits seem normal but i have become extremely gassy over the past few years.
3.) All my test results from my colonoscopy,bone-marrow,upper-scope,hepatitis,hiv,have come back negative. My CBC looks good other than the platelets being low. I did notice my glucose level going up recently between 109-117 but no one ever said anything to me about that.
The things that raised a flag were the 3 severe abdominal attacks (within a month) that showed inflammation in the terminal ileum from the CT scan(Dec 2011) and from an MRI 9 months later(Aug 2012). I've had Low platelets ever since this started more than 1 1/2 yrs ago,from 45,000-90,000. My platelets used to be in normal range when i looked back at previous history results before this all started. Something caused them to drop in my opinion.I also had a Positive XXXXXXX 1:1280,low vitamin D 22.3,lower b-12(IN the low 400's),bottoms of feet/palms of hand pain that came 6 months after.A few months later the pain went to my neck/shoulders. The pain became unbearable and still is. The only reasons i haven't taken aspirin is i was told it could lower my platelets even more and also cuz' i am VERY STUBBORN and don't want to take anything unless i can be told what is causing this. All i am told is i have ITP cause of the low platelets. I have a high tolerance for pain but i am tired of feeling this way. I shouldn't have to live in pain. I was athletic growing up and even thou i don't workout, i was still pretty active. I am in my mid 40's and felt like i was still in my 20's. Then after one night of waking up with stomach pain my life turned upside down and within a matter of a few months i felt like i aged 20 yrs.What other things could cause the platelets to drop so low? Can bad eating habits cause a landslide of problems like these problems i am having? I was never asked by any of the Dr.s about my eating habits but i always felt like it may have something to do with my stomach cuz' that was the first problem.The stomach pain has gone away but after the attacks it seemed to linger for months of just having that feeling that something is off there. Plus always feeling full of air and gassy is something new in my life.This neck/shoulder pain has become too much, Please HELP me get my life back!!!!!!
Thank you
Answered by Dr. M Y Shareef 3 hours later
Hi ! Thanks for giving some valuable information which was needed to come to a nearest diagnosis of your condition. As per your food habits are concerned, I feel that you may be sensitive/allergic to gluten, which is found in many fast foods containing wheat, pasta, etc. This is not easy to diagnose, and the best way is to exclude all kinds of fast food you consume in outside eating joints.

It is best to have home cooked food or carry the same with you if you are that busy. Gluten sensitivity can give rise to all the symptoms you have described including your joint pains, crampy feet and hands and over and above, your low platelet count.

I suggest you to consult a gastro-enterologist along with a dietician on this aspect of the diagnosis, which possibly might not have been considered until now. The gastro-enterologist will be able to diagnose with few biochemical tests along with a possible repeat endoscopy with biopsy of the intestinal mucosal wall, while the dietician can guide you on your food that you can consume pleasantly.

Also your food habit from outside needs your physician to exclude co-existing amoebiasis which is very common. I am hopeful that this will resolve your problem and you will start feeling the same way as before.

I would like to hear from you about the final diagnosis and result thereon. If you have any more queries, do not hesitate to ask me. Otherwise, I would wish you to close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish you an early recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had abdominal pain and stiff neck. X-ray showed multi-level degeneratives. Suggest 2 days later
Thank you Doctor! Just to be clear,if it is a sensitive/allergic to gluten. It is possible for it to cause severe abdominal pain (3 Episodes -1 that led to vomit & diarrhea),hand/feet--neck/shoulder pain(that has lasted 9 months),Positive XXXXXXX 1:1280,fatigue,Inflammation in the terminal ileum,low vitamin d and B-12, high glucose, and LOW PLATELETS ????? I appreciate your help that is staring me in a direction to hopefully getting my life back.Thank you again
Answered by Dr. M Y Shareef 18 hours later
Hi ! I do realize your concern. Yes - it is possible to have all symptoms you have stated along with a low platelet count in gluten sensitivity. That is why I had asked you about your dietary habits in the first instance. It is usually not thought of and is under diagnosed. If your treating doctor excludes this part, then I hope you will get relief.
Wishing you an early recovery. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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