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Back pain, stomach pain, ibuprofen, hot pad, massage not working. Treatment ?

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I am a male, age 34, height 5'6", and weight 152 lbs. I have not had any major medical issues in the past, and I excersize regularly and try to take good care of myself.

A few days ago, I woke up with a mild pain in my back. I thought I must have just slept on it wrong and it would go away. The next day, I awoke with a mild pain in my back and a mild pain in my stomach (kind of just below the ribs maybe on the right side a little bit more than the left).

That night, I went to bed, and had sharp pains in my back that came in waves. It seemed to help things if I rolled over and slept on my stomach.

The next night, I continued to have sharp pain in waves in my back if I slept on my back, but if I rolled onto my stomach, I would immediately start having sharp pains in my stomach which would come and go.

The next night, I had sharp pains in my back and stomach (somewhat alternatingly though it seemed like most of the pain was in my stomach), and it didn't matter what position I slept in.

I have no pain during the day even while standing or lifting things, though I do feel sore and a little weak probably due to the fact that I am not getting good sleep because of the pain. I think I also might be starting to get a fever.

I tried taking ibuprofen, using a hot pad, and getting a massage, but nothing has worked. What's going on? Thanks.
Posted Sat, 21 Apr 2012 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 42 minutes later

Thanks for writing to us.

Having sharp pains in stomach and back both not affected by posture are more likely to be due to abdominal causes which are causing a referred pain to the back rather than a primary problem in back itself.

Such pains can be due to plenty of reasons and it is difficult to find the cause based on history alone. Careful examination and investigations like blood counts, ultrasound examination, urine and stool tests are equally important in coming to a diagnosis.

I would like to have some more information regarding your problem to give you an informed opinion.
1. Do you have this pain constantly at all the times or it comes and goes?
2. Any relation to food intake or passage of urine?
3. Is the pain colicky?
4. Is the pain so severe as to initiate vomiting?
5. Can you pinpoint the origin of pain with your one finger? Please try to describe the point of maximum pain.
6. Any history of constipation?

Meanwhile for pain continue doing a hot fomentation and take light easy to digest oil free food.

Awaiting an early response.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Back pain, stomach pain, ibuprofen, hot pad, massage not working. Treatment ? 8 hours later
Thanks for the response. I have limited Internet, so I will get straight to answering your questions.

1. It started with pain during the day the first two days, but now I only have pain at night when I am lying down and sleeping. Even then it comes and goes. It lasts a few seconds then goes awa. During the day, there is no pain, and if I stay up all night, like now, there is no pain. I also took a nap once during the day for 30 min and I was laying down, but there was no pain.

2. No pain eating, urinating, or having bowel movements. However, my appetite has been less than usual and sometimes I feel like I have something in my stomach (i.e. I feel full) even if I have not eaten.

3. If by colicky you mean it starts and stops, then yes. It does not feel like a spasm or pressure. It's a sharp pain in both the stomach and back.

4. I have not vomited at all, from the pain or otherwise. But it is strong enough to wake me from sleep every time it happens.

5. I am generally groggy from sleep, so it's hard to pinpoint the exact location. In my abdomen, I think it starts on my right side right underneath the bottom rib then radiates across the stomach. On the back, it is also on the right side, about mid to two thirds of the way up, just to the right on the spine.

6. I have had constipation before in my life, but it is not a regular occurrence. I am not constipated now and I have a bowel movement twice a day.

Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 1 hour later

Thanks for writing back.

Your description is a detailed one. It seems that you might be having gall stones or at least mild inflammation in your gall bladder or pancreas. The exact diagnosis needs an ultrasound scan and complete blood counts.

You could get the tests done under guidance of a physician. Till the time you see your physician, avoid having oily or spicy food. Try bland food more frequently.

Sincerely hope this helps.

Wishing you an early recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Back pain, stomach pain, ibuprofen, hot pad, massage not working. Treatment ? 15 hours later
Do I need to see a doctor immediately? That is, will this be life threatening? I am traveling and won't be back to US until Aug 2. I am also in and out of countries in Easter Europe and not to certain of the quality of health care not to mention the language barrier. I would like to wait until I return home if this is not life threatening.

Also, I have found that when I sleep sitting up as I have done on a red eye flight and a might train, there is no pain. It is only while laying down. Also today I laid down for about a 5 hours, and I tried to pin point pain. There surprisingly was none, but as soon as I laid down it I felt discomfort in my stomach. The best I can describe it is that it felt like acid in my stomach. It actually felt like a warm/burning feeling. Is this consistent with what you diagnosed?
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 7 hours later
Thanks for writing back.
The problem you have does not seem to be an emergency and you can wait for investigations till 2nd august if no other complications arise. Gall stones may also cause acid like feeling in the stomach. As you are travelling you can take some general measures like-
1. Eat soft, bland food: toast, bananas, crackers, plain rice, cooked carrots, boiled potatoes, baked chicken ~ no skin, etc.
2.Take broth, soup, fruit juices, soft fruits, or vegetables.
3.Avoid the following foods: Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.), Cold drinks - stick to warm tea or water as long as symptoms persist, Raw fruits and vegetables, fried & greasy food and fast food, spicy food, caffeine,etc.

Sincerely hope it will help.
Wishing you an early recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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