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Pain between shoulder blades, had bloating and stomach pain. Could this back pain be due to gall bladder?

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Practicing since : 1997
Answered : 65 Questions
Hello Doctor,

I was recently in the ER with stomach bloating and pain in upper abdomen. After doing a sonogram the said they did not see any gall stones and after an endoscopy they found some gastritis. I was sent home with carafate and an appointment with a gastro doctor such as yourself.

Over the next couple days the bloating and stomach pain got better, not 100% but better. Then I started getting these sharp pains between my shoulder blades that are happening a few times a day and on last a second or two. No pain in front, under rib cage or anything like that. I told the doctor about it and my other issues and findings and he thinks it MAY be gall bladder and I have HIDA test next week. This will obviously tell us a lot, I hope. But it is 6 days away and I am in fear of a impending gall bladder attack. Everything else I read talks about pain that lasts several minutes to hours, not just a second or two, and is more in the front right rib than the back. Sometimes it will hurt when bending over as well, just as quick though. Do you think this back pain could be my gall bladder? Are these symptoms of an impending attack? Thank you.
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Vaibhav Banait 11 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

Considering your history of reflux and fundoplication in the past and that USG abdomen did not show gall stones, I would consider reflux and associated dysmotility as a cause of pain. This should be clarified by 24 hour Ph metry and esophageal manometry.

Properly done USG abdomen is very sensitive for gall stones. Hence with normal USG abdomen, the likelihood of gall bladder disease is very less.

Other causes for back pain include,

1. Spine related diseases
2. Muscular pains
3. Pleurisy
4. Aortic aneurism

All these differentials should be considered.

Hope, I have answered your query. I will be available for follow up queries if any.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pain between shoulder blades, had bloating and stomach pain. Could this back pain be due to gall bladder? 13 hours later
With something like an aortic anuerism...would the pain be constant or quick and sharp like mine? Front and back? The pain is less today than the last couple days with only a couple bursts as opposed to 8 or 10 as before. Also, they did a chest x XXXXXXX in first they were not sure if my symptoms were cardiac related and wanted to rule it out. But I didn't understand the chest x XXXXXXX that likely why they did one? thank you..
Answered by Dr. Vaibhav Banait 35 hours later
Hi and thanks again,

I understand your concern. The pain of aortic aneurism is usually a dull ache and can occur in front and back. Sharp pain may occur if the aneurism is expanding, or there is tear.

Chest Xray has limited use in the diagnosis of aortic aneurysm. But do not worry. Your doctor must have evaluated you for this. Had there been this possibility, they would have informed you and would have got a cat scan.

I enumerated the possibilities for your symptoms. Get evaluated for them, but avoid undue anxiety. Nothing will happen to you.

Hope this answers your query. Wish you good health and speedy recovery.


Dr Vaibhav Banait
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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