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Can a liver inflammation cause back and shoulder pain?

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General & Family Physician
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Can a liver inflamation cause back and shoulder and arm right side of body pain and can large doses of vitamin C relieve the pain?
Age 65 and average weight, lots of exercise and drink water and eat a healthy diet. No medical history of any note. Parents were healthy until close to death at 94 and 97.
Posted Mon, 16 Apr 2012 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Tulasi Raman.P 31 minutes later

Thanks for your query.

Yes, liver inflammation can causes pain in the right shoulder, back and arm. This is because liver inflammation can irritate the diaphragm which lies just above the liver. This irritation of diaphragm could be responsible for the pain symptoms you are experiencing.

Though Vitamin C is known to provide relief for chronic inflammatory pain, for liver inflammation (hepatitis) it is always best to go for hepato-protective medications like Liv 52 etc.

But before you start on any medication I suggest you get the Liver Function Test done to know the extent of liver damage following which appropriate therapy can be initiated.

Dietary advice would be:
1. Drink plenty of water
2. Avoid high protein and fatty foods
3. Limit or stop alcohol consumption
4. Take simple fruit juices to XXXXXXX your daily calorie requirement

I hope my answer has been adequate and informative. If you have any follow up queries I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Can a liver inflammation cause back and shoulder pain? 1 hour later
I doubt that I have hepatitis. Could this just be a mild inflamation or a virus of some kind? How does one contract hepititis and what are the symptoms??
Answered by Dr. Tulasi Raman.P 10 hours later

Thanks for writing back to me.

I think your question is slightly reverse. As I understand you are trying to relate your shoulder pain with the hepatitis. You should actually say your symptoms more and describe them so that I can tell the possibilities.

Hepatitis is a medical term given for liver inflammation, it need not always indicate a serious condition.

Hepatitis can occur due to the following:
1. Alcohol intake
2. Viral infection
3. Drugs (medications)

1. Nausea or vomiting
2. Loss of appetite
3. Fever, usually low-grade
4. Abdominal pain or distention
5. Yellow discoloration of eyes, urine.
6. Fatigue etc

As suggested earlier you will have to get Liver Function Test done. Based on those reports further treatment can be initiated.

Wish you a speedy recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Can a liver inflammation cause back and shoulder pain? 14 hours later
I have back and shoulder pain radiating down my right arm. I went to Urgent Care on Monday night because the symptoms had been going on a few days. I thought it might relate to a car accidednt I had a few years ago when the same type of pain developed, but it was both arms and almost the entire back. It took months to resolve with a program of physical theraphy.

The Urgrent care nurse practioner when she listened to my heart said she heard a flutter which she said could be the sign of a stroke because women usually ignore pain and then are victims of heart attack and stroke. She then sent me to the ER where the doc said if I had experienced ther heart fllutters and I had noticed a couple over the weeks that I should see a cardiologist and that my EKG was better than his.

I then saw this holistic doctor and he said all I neeed to do is take heavy doses of vitamin C because he was sure I have an inflamation of my liver.He also thought the liver panel was a good idea to be sure. I have been consuming lots of water and about 8000-10,000 mg of vitamin C but I still have the same pain or perhaps a very slight reduction. It might have decreased from a level 8 on a 10 point scale to a level 7 or I might be just getting used to enduring it.

With so many opinions I don't know what to believe. What do you think?

Hope you can help.

Answered by Dr. Tulasi Raman.P 8 hours later

Thanks for writing back.

Your symptoms of back pain, shoulder pain is mostly due to a condition called Cervical Spondylosis. I believe you have been misguided into thinking that it is due to liver inflammation. Though liver inflammation can cause the same but in your condition it is probably irrelevant.

Cervical Spondylosis is a degenerative disorder in which there is abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones of the cervical spine.

More common symptoms are:
1. Neck pain (may radiate to the arms or shoulder)
2. Neck stiffness that gets worse over time
3. Loss of sensation or abnormal sensations in the shoulders and arms
4. Weakness of the arms
5. Headaches, particularly in the back of the head

Diagnosis can be confirmed only by a proper physical examination and with the help of few investigations like:
1. X-ray Cervical Spine, lateral and PA view.
2. MRI Cervical Spine
3. EMG

So I suggest you consult a Orthopedic Surgeon for the proper examination and confirmation of the diagnosis.

Treatment would include:
1. Physiotherapy - To learn exercises to do at home
2. Analgesics (pain killers)
3. Cortisone injections to specific areas of the spine

If the pain does not respond to these measures, or there is a loss of movement or feeling, surgery is to be considered.

Regarding your heart condition, it is difficult to hear an heart flutter even by a experienced doctor. It is usually detected in an EKG tracing. Flutter can cause stroke but it is not a sign of stroke.

During the flutter episode you will experience palpitation (abnormal awareness of ones one heart beat). If you have experience such incidents its definitely better to get a Cardiologists opinion.

Vitamin C can be safely taken in large quantities, the usually prescribed dose is 1000mg per day. But you are taking 10,000mg which in my opinion is quite unnecessary. At this doses it may cause kidney stones, so you better stop taking such high doses.

As I have mentioned earlier Vitamin C can reduce inflammatory pain a little but Vitamin C by itself will not relieve your pain completely.

I hope my answer has been adequate and informative.

Wish you a speedy recovery.

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