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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes pain, burning sensation and numbness near the rib cage and spine?

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Dr. Dariush Saghafi

Neurologist

Practicing since :1988

Answered : 1708 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 3 Mar 2018 in Brain and Spine
Question: I have had a pain in my right side, around the rib cage spreading to my stomach and to my spinal cord. Skin is sore to the touch, burning an occasionally sharp. It is more pronounced on the actual rib cage area, but has caused some numbness and stinging in the middle of my stomach. I thought I pulled a muscle, but this has lasted almost two weeks. I did take a Midol to see if it eased the pain and it did, but not 100%.
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Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Need to be examined for possible GI disturbance

Detailed Answer:
Good afternoon.

I have read the description of your symptoms and believe your best next move should be to seek an examination that will focus on the GI tract and system. Specifically, your symptoms are most consistent with some type of acid reflux or gastric/duodenal ulcerative condition. You've not mentioned anything that tends to accentuate or alleviate the pain such as either eating, changes in position while bending over, lying on your back, or changes if you go on to one side vs. side.

If you see a non-GI physician they may be able to localize the pain even a bit more for you since a good abdominal examination is certainly in order and can be performed with the intent of trying to isolate exactly which organ may be involved.

After the appropriate history as well as use of medications, tobacco, and alcohol are obtained there very well may be the need to perform bloodwork to see if you are anemic, have any elevations in liver enzymes, or may be also obstructed somewhere such as in the gall bladder, etc. A GI specialist may be able to complement the initial workup by ordering other tests such as a barium swallow, CT of the abdomen, or Ultrasound of the abdomen.

I would caution against taking much in the way of over the counter pain relievers until you know for sure whether or not there could be an ulcerative process in play since many of the analgesics such as midol contain ingredients that can exacerbate this picture. The fact that your case seemed to improve is no guarantee that such medication is entirely safe and so I would be cautious about the use of anything along those lines until you've been tested.

Also, the great mimicker of all abdominal pain and discomfort should also be looked at and not forgotten which is the appendix. Though your symptoms are not entirely classic for an acute appendicitis believe me when I tell you that I've witnessed (even in my own family) more bizarre presentations of abdominal discomforts which nobody would even a nickel could possibly refer to an appendicitis and lo and behold...one was discovered. Therefore, never ever say, "It can't possibly be an appendix" when discussing right sided flank or abdominal pains/discomforts which seem intrusive and don't go away after a period of time.

Certainly, things outside the GI tract could also be considered but the likelihood that symptoms are being referred in the region you state make deeper female organs such as ovaries, uterus, or fallopian tubes a bit more unlikely. Likewise, your symptoms are not consistent with a kidney problem though I wouldn't be opposed either to a simple urinalysis and physical examination to include the posterior regions of the trunk where the kidneys are most accessible to examination.

If I've provided useful and helpful information to your questions could you do me a huge favor by CLOSING THE QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback along with a 5 STAR rating? Again, many thanks for submitting your inquiry and please let me know how things turn out.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 16 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Dariush Saghafi 2 hours later
Appendix has been removed
Food does not cause heartburn/acid reflux etc
Pain is more towards the upper right side of abdomen or chest area
I had a full physical 3 weeks ago, all blood levels are normal - I just work crazy hours and don’t have time to a physician this week
Could a cracked rib cause the pain? I was given a really big bear hug recently. Painful but nothing that made me think I was injures
doctor
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 14 hours later
Brief Answer:
Trauma cannot be ruled out

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for the updated information. On the basis of those facts the idea of an ulcerative lesion is much less likely than previously thought in my previous answer to you. And you are right to point out that any further problems with an appendix would be virtually miraculous if that were to be the case seeing as how you'd have to regenerate one....and we know you don't have the DNA of a salamander.....right? :)

Certainly the history of having had a full physical exam several weeks ago with normal blood chemistries, etc. is reassuring. Trauma is a possibility if you received a really "big bear hug" but that is something that could only be ruled out using an X-ray. Also, if the pain you're describing were due to trauma my impression is you would've pretty much known this right away at the moment you got squeezed as opposed to some time later.

Still, under the circumstances, an X-ray would not be an unreasonable thing to get done. Perhaps, there is a rib that is only bruised as well.

If you haven't already tried you may place a warm compress over the area that is bothering you for 15-20 min. several times a day and see if that offers you some comfort from pain.

I guess I might also counsel you to try and not put yourself in any other instances or circumstances where BEARHUGS are likely to be applied.....at least for the time being! LOL...

Cheers!

If I've provided useful and helpful information to your questions could you do me a huge favor by CLOSING THE QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback along with a 5 STAR rating? Again, many thanks for submitting your inquiry and please let me know how things turn out.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/drdariushsaghafi for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 26 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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