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Friday, 26 March 2010

Pain in upper right quadrant under rib cage discussion

Hi I am a 38 year old and have pain in the upper right quadrant under my ribRib cage pain cage which radiates to the center of my back. I excercise 3 to 4 times a week at the gym with cardio and mild weight. I am still about 15 lbs over weight (I was more over weight 2 years ago). This pain actually started about 8 years ago. About 6 years ago I had my gall bladder removed.
The pain did go away for several years. After the gall badder surgery, the surgeon did make a comment that my liver kept getting in his way and he had to move it a couple of times and that it is big, but he said it did not look abnormal. I was in a lot of pain after the surgery and he kept me overnight in the hospital. The URQ pain started up again about 4 years ago. I have had all kinds of tests in the past year. A hida scan (no CCK since I do not have a gall bladder) was normalNormal saline flush, bariumBarium enema
Barium ingestion
Upper gi and small bowel series
Barium sulfate swallow (I do have GERD and hiatalHiatal hernia
normal liver etc... I also had a sonogram of my stomach, liver and pancreas - all normal. I have had 2 blood tests in the past year for my liver and pancreas- both came back normal. This info is not directly related, but wanted to mention that I had a total hysterectomy in Nov 2003 but this URQ pain had started up again prior to this surgery. Sometimes its a dull ache, sometimes it feels like I have ran for too long (but I haven't), sometimes it feels like a mild charlie horse (it actually spasms).

My doctor has just prescribed Reglan a few days ago (I haven't started it yet). What other tests can be done, do you know what could be causing this pain? It's gotten worse in the past 8 months.

Thank you,

One consideration would be Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. This is a condition that can occur in those without a gallbladder.

Typically, Sphincter of Oddi manometry done in conjunction with an ERCP would be needed for diagnosis. If present, surgery or endoscopic procedures can be done to correct this.

The upper endoscopy would rule out many of the major upper GI diseases. You can consider a 24-hr pH study to evaluate for GERD or esophageal motility studies to look for motility disorders.

These options can be discussed with your gastroenterologist.

This is a continuation of my earlier post. I should include that I have been tested for H Pylori - negative. I had the upper GI test and abdominal X-rays - all tests came back normal. I have IBS symptoms (bowel symptoms). My appetite is healthy and I have occasional nausea when I miss my prevacid dose (my stomach burns). Thanks, Lena
by cherio, Mar 29, 2009 12:00AM
I am a 39yr old women and for the past three weeks I have been having pain in my upper abdoman , ribs and shoulder blades. I have had a CT scan and blood work and they could not find any problems with my Gallbladder ,liver and or Kidneys. I have also had soft stools. has anyone had this before
by meg818, Apr 06, 2009 12:00AM
I have had this exact same problem. I am 22 years old, of average weight and no other serious medical conditions. I have had this problem for a few years now. The pain is in my upper-most abdominal region. The pain is most prevalent when I'm laying down and have to urinate. In the mornings the pain is sometimes so severe it wakes me up out of a sound sleep. Even though I urinate, sometimes the severe pain persists. During the day it is not as painful, but still a dull pain. My doctor doesn't even know where to start since he thinks I am making this up. What should I do?
by slowzuki, Apr 08, 2009 12:00AM
My wife is having similar problems, don't start questioning youself as to if you're making it up. She had a rude doc say something along those lines while she was in the hospital and it was devastating on her morale. My wife's problems have not yet been diagnosed but hopefully over time we will solve it.
by gailatwork, Apr 27, 2009 12:00AM
I have had a dull nagging pain under my bottom right rib for several years. At first my doctor blew it off as nothing. This year he guessed it was gall bladder related - referring to the - "fair, fat and forty" connection. However after an ultra sound - that was not the case. They thought they saw kidney stones but after an x-ray test with dye in the kidneys that was ruled out.

The only thing they found in the ultra sound was "fatty liver" a lesion on my liver. Liver function is normal. I've been taking statins for over 10 years for high cholesterol and I have to wonder if this long term use has caused a lesion.

It sounds like this typd of URQ pain is fairly common and hard to pin down the actual source.

by showtruck, Apr 29, 2009 12:00AM
I have very similar symptoms, except I am a 31 year old male. I first notice symptoms during a long distace car drive (Oct. 2005). It started with back pain directly behind the gallbladder, which felt like muscle strain. Within two weeks, I had a sunburn sensation below my right ribcage that has never ended. The sensation is always there with varying intensity. Two weeks after the sunburn sensation began (about 1 month after the original back pain), a physical, knotting pain in the gallbladder area of my abdomen. It felt as if I had a bloated organ, so I went to an ER. There, they did a complete blood count, urine test, multiple x-rays, and a CT scan only to say that nothing was wrong, other than a small amount of white blood cells in my urine (ie, kidney or bladder infection). Since then, the pain has intensified (knotting internal pain, sunburn sensation, and back pain) and I have went to a second ER. This time at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. They too, took a blood and urine sample and confirmed that all counts were within normal limits. This doctor did however palpate the abdomen and pressed on the exact spot that hurts internally, which caused elevated pain. He identified this spot as the area where the gallbladder and liver is located and said that I may have a growth/tumor on the gallbladder or possibly, gallstones. He suggested I go to a family practioner for ultrasound, since there was no emergency to be addressed at the ER.

I have not noticed an increase or decrease of intensity before or after eating. Also, when I sleep at night, it is more comfortable to sleep on the affected side.

Since Jan. 12, 2009, I have seen my family physician who sent me to a gastrointestinal doc for gallbladder testing and probably removal. After a hidascan, colonoscopy, an endoscope, and many blood test, there are still no answers- everything was normal. My GI specialist referred me back to the family doc for musculo-skeletal conditions. Not sure what other test should be done, will take any recommendations and let you know what we find out!
by jamoo, May 04, 2009 12:00AM
I have been having pain in the upper right side of my stomach and a buldge on the right side at my navel and my right side has been swollen since Sept. 2005. I have had every kind of test that is offered. My Doc. has told me that I may have to have my gallblader (gallbladder) removed and I have an appt. with a surgeon, but the Doc. still cannot explain the buldge I have, he told me the 1st time it was probably fat! Well, I'm not overweight. Something is wrong with me & I want rid of it. I have looked on the Web and noticed info. on a Mass, which seems to explain the pain and buldge, it read:usually with a mass-buldge there is some type of infection in the white blood cells and my Doc. told me the 1st time that my white blood count was slightly high,and I recently asked him about this and he still said he didn't know what is wrong with me, except PROBABLY my gallbladder, BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS BULDGE THAT HURTS!? Hopefully I will get a better diagnosis from the surgeon
by tlvillo, May 23, 2009 12:00AM
Unfornately - I am so glad I'm not alone. I've had the same URQ pain that everyone is talking about for the past 2 years. I had an utrasound and they determined I had gall stones. I have recently had my gall bladder removed (2 weeks ago) and the pain is now worse. It's a continuous subtle pain but at times is pretty bad. The pain actually wraps around to the right side of my back under my rib cage. I guess my only option is to go back to the doctor and start the blood and urine tests all over again. I also had a CT-Scan that showed nothing wrong with my kidneys or liver.
by NYgirl12566, May 24, 2009 12:00AM
I was looking on this site and found this condition. I suffered with the same pain for years and could not find a doctor to help me. I had my gallbladder removed years ago and still continued with the pain. I finally found a doctor to give me an ERCP and they found I had stones and sludge in my bile ducts. The ducts are connected to where your gallbladder used to be. They performed a sphinctorotomy (?spelling?) - it's when the cut the bile duct and put a stint to drain the bile. It is very minor and done under a local (like an endoscopy - the ERCP is almost the same exact procedure). Good luck.
by Enchante, May 27, 2009 12:00AM
The first time I noticed this pain in the upper quadrant, right side of my stomach was on a 10 hour trip and then again back home, another 10 hr drive. I have seen 2 doctors about it and one said it was too much stomach acid ( with out any tests) and the other wants me to have xrays and other tests. I have no gall bladder, also experience no heart burn yet the doc gave me Proactin which I have taken 3 doses of and no help there.
by Enchante, May 27, 2009 12:00AM
The first time I noticed this pain in the upper quadrant, right side of my stomach was on a 10 hour trip and then again back home, another 10 hr drive. I have seen 2 doctors about it and one said it was too much stomach acid ( with out any tests) and the other wants me to have xrays and other tests. I have no gall bladder, also experience no heart burn yet the doc gave me Proactin which I have taken 3 doses of and no help there.
by weathers, May 30, 2009 12:00AM
I have been stuck in this seamingly never ending cycle of testing for very similar problems. I have had horrible pain under my right rib cage that usually causes back pain as well. The pain in my rib cage is constant, burning, and feels like I have swelling of an organ. I have had hyda scans, drank berium, numerous sonograms, blood work, urine work, and test done on my stool (I guess to rule out bleeding ulcers). I am 26 years old, I am within normal height & weight range. I eat healthy and really don't have any other health problems. My most recent doctor thinks I'm nuts and that there is not a problem. He said that my gall bladder works fine and at this point has ordered no further testing. I have had this problem for 14 years. My attacks used to only happen once a year and last for 24 hours, but now they happen once every couple of months and last for 2-4 days. Often times they will cause vomiting and keep me completely unable to eat or sleep. I have tried removing fatty foods from my diet--I rarely eat anything fried. I have tried removing caffiene as well. Does anyone have any suggestions on a test I should press for from my doctor--or how to get him to send me to a gastro-intestinal specialist. Even any suggestions on possible diet changes or herbal remedies that have helped any of you. I am really becoming desperate and will be looking for a new doctor soon for help. Thanks.
by Brad2195, Jun 05, 2009 12:00AM
Is breathing difficulty present?.....I to have the sensation of burning in the rib cage area....other times it feels "knotted up" with the :sunburn" sensation.....anyways it's been 6 months and the pain with the difficulty getting a free deep breath is getting me a little worried.....mostly it's just annoying having to deal with pain from the moment I wake to the moment I fall asleep.......
by MrsNied, Jun 06, 2009 12:00AM
Hi... I have had the same pain in rib cage area about 4 years ago, been to several gastronologist's and they found nothing. My pain in the rib area started about a week after I had an appendectomy, was in and out of the emergency room and they could never find anything no matter how severe my pain was.

I had just had throat surgery about 4 weeks ago, due to swollen lymph nodes in my right side of neck and throat all the time. I went to an ENT and I was diagnosed with an ulcer in the back of my throat. Ever since 4 weeks ago when I had my surgery I have been having bad pain under my rib cage again. Also pain in the chest, behind breast bone, pain between shoulder blades, stomach aches and soreness. Not to add the pinching and stabbing pains in my heart I get to where I can't even breath. I was so scared I was having a heart attack one day that I went tgo emergeny room and they ran some test to check out my heart and the doctor says my heart was fine. I went to my PCP and he has been my doctor since I was a child, and I am now 32 years old. Everything my PCP has ever diagnosed me with he has always been right on. He diagnosed me this time with GERD!! I am still having swollen lymph nodes in my neck though and pain everywhere even after a week after the medicine. Hopefully with more time my symptoms will lessen. I hope this information will be helpful.
by MsMatthews, Jun 06, 2009 12:00AM
I too have been suffering from this.
For several years I can only describe the sensation as a balloon being blown up under my right lower rib cage, then slowly the air being let out. It is very uncomfortable for me. It has escalated into ruining my life.
Several months ago I started feeling bad, run down, I would get up out of bed from sleeping several hours, use the bathroom and literally go back to bed for severa more hours. I hurt everywhere. I was throwing up all the time.
That is the worst part, everytime I start to vomit, I have the taste of rotten eggs or sulfur in my mouth.
Last night I had another attack.
I talked to my Mother, she says she thinks it is my gall bladder.
That it sounds like what my sister had happen to her.
Well, I dont know. Because 4 or 5 weeks ago, my symptoms got so bad I could hardly stand it and I wound up in the ER.They did a complete CBC, LFT, X rays; the doctor said the only thing he could find wrong with me was my whiteblood count was slightly elevated. So he wrote me a general antibiotic for Septra and Cipro. ( I thought I had mono it was so bad )
Now, those medicines are really strong combined together.
The fever and extreme tireness are gone.
But, I am still hurting all over, have a horrible taste in my mouth, vomiting.
Short of going back to the ER, I dont know what to do. My doctor already thinks I am a hypocondriac.
by beautifulashes_777, Jun 13, 2009 12:00AM
Hi...I unfortunatley am experiencing similar problems but only for about two months now. For me it's been slightly different though. When it began I felt extremely full and couldn't eat anything for a few days and I tasted copper all the time. I've fought with constipation for about 4 years until a few days after I started feeling full, which all the sudden turned to extreme diarrea (diarrhea) but only lasted about an hour. My bowel movements are soft and fairly regular now but there is pain in my upper right abdominal under my rib cage. The pain has continued to 'grow' if you will, jumping around to all different areas, which I did not see mentioned above. At times it's under my right rib cage but other times it's below my stomach on the left, beside my navel on the right and in my back on both sides. At times it hurts to take deep breaths. I went to the doctor and my abdomin (abdomen) was sore in several places but mostly beside my navel on the right during the first exam. He ordered a sonogram of my gallbladder and liver, normal. A hidascan of my gallbladder, also normal. He checked my thryoid and pancreas, also normal. I had a CBC, normal. He checked for hepatitis and a few other things, all came back normal so he's referred me to a GI doctor. The doctor says he believes me but doesn't know what it could be but if the GI doctor doesn't find anything for me to come back and we would keep doing tests until we find the problem. He did give me Nexium to try but it didn't help; he also gave me some meds for IBS but they make the pain worse and last longer. If anyone has any advice or knows anything please let me know! After reading all the messages here I'm wondering if it will ever be figured out. (oh, and just so ya know...it does hurt worse when I eat but also hurts when I've not eaten. I do have the burning sensation and sometimes even a more pinpointed pain. Soemtimes it feels as if my ribs are pushing in on my organs or something...so I know how most of you feel) I had began to wonder if I were crazy or something myself so reading all this makes me feel better. Oh, I've also been referred to a Neurologist for possible Multiple Sclerosis so the doctor said it may have something to do with that but after reading this...I don't think so.
by XTexasStarX, Jun 14, 2009 12:00AM
I was here earlier while searching for an answer to the pain I have had under my ribs on the right side. I then went to another site and found an answer that made the pain better in a matter of a minute. I won't put a link, I'll just tell you what I learned. I'm not doing an ad :)

First I had my gallbladder out 17 years ago.

The page I read said it may be something called trigger pain. It said to feel along the ribs until you find the spot that is tender. Then massage that area. I did it and the pain was better with in a minute. I can take a deep breath now. I balled my hand into a fist and kind of leaned into my fist on my side, massaging the area.

This will not be the answer for everyone, but why not give it a try.

Texas Star
by bedders, Jun 16, 2009 12:00AM
I am also suffering with similar annoying symptoms for months now. Pain/dull ache in right rib cage and below like nad stitch. Comes and goes with no prior warning. Ranges from uncomfortable to excruciating. When it is bad it fels like it is hurting all across my chest and back. Had blood tests on liver and kidney, scan for gallstones and now a chest x-ray. All clear but still waiting on chest x-ray results.

I suffer really badly with my sinuses and getting colds and it appears to be worse when my sinuses are bad, but the doctors have said there is no medical link. Also seems to be worse if my sleep pattern is disturbed?
by NormalGuy, Jun 16, 2009 12:00AM
I was having the exact same problem as most of you are speaking about since I was nearly 11 years old. There was never anything anyone was able to do to correctly diagnose any of the problems I had. It seemed that if all I ate was fruit, it would go away for a while, but then inevitably, after some time (maybe months or weeks), it would be back once again. And I was in the category that a lot of you are in where the pain was so bad at times, that if I had a gun, I am sure I would have done something permanent to myself.

For relief, I have found that alternating between almost scalding hot showers and sitting silent on the toilet in the normal position, to work to stop the pain in about 30-60 minutes most times.

Over the years (31 years old now) I have managed to fast a few days, and it would be gone for a while. Through doing my own research and observation, and through sheer cooincidence, a friend that has problems with constipation let me try a few tablets of his. From a place online named GHC health:


I have now been a full time user of these tablets, and while taking them, I have not had any more occurrences of the pain. When I went through a dry spell, and was not taking them, I found that too many espressos or coffee drinks brought the symptoms right back within a few weeks. But it I just moderated my coffee intake, I could get away with only using the tabs every few months or so.

I have recently bought a Green star Juicer, and have found that I can get the same great results simply by going on a juice fast for one week, every 6 months.

My assumption of this problem is that it has something to do with constipation, or some form of obstruction of the large intestine. The reason I say this, is because there was a time when I was having a nice hot shower, and the pain started shifting from upper-right abdomin (abdomen), to center, to left, then started to drop as though it was descending towards the backside to be pooped out! The process took about 30 minutes from the start ofthe pain's movement, to ready to dump.

Now combining that experience with understanding what the Oxy-Powder in the above link does, it makes sense to me that the pain is some form of bowel distress caused by an impaction or adhesion or something with the fecal matter.

Anyhow, I would highly recommend you try that supplement at the link above. It was kinda pricey, but the fact that it helped my pain go away on a semi-permanent basis, I couldn't put a price on that!! Also, a whole body cleansing has done me good as well, to help clean out my liver and kidneys. Here is the link to their cleansing system.


Please post back here if this information helps any of your conditions.
by spruefamily, Jun 26, 2009 12:00AM
I am going through a similar situation and am awaiting results of bloodwork. I just wanted to comment that my gastroenterologist tested me for celiac sprue which is inherited and my father and sister have it but it just started getting more recognized in the United States. When my father got diagnosed I did research and there is another country that tests all children for this. I remember reading that Irish and Italian descent are prone to it. Sprue is an allergy to Gluten which is wheat products which can be found everywhere. Even in chicken broth. The other poster said that the symptoms subsided when they only ate fruit but maybe it is because they stop eating gluten products.?? My father couldnt hold anything in and the doctors had no clue what was wrong with him. He always had cramps and other similar problems. He thought he was dying of cancer and then finally he went to another doctor who recognized it right away because his wife had it. My sister also has it but did not have diarhea (diarrhea),rather she just had cramps everytime she ate and even when she didnt her stomach and abdomen would bother her. You may want to investigate this. Like I said I am unsure if that is the reason for all of my pains, hopefully I will find out when the tests come back.
by jasonfish, Jun 26, 2009 12:00AM
I am a 37 year old male and have had this pain off and on for the past 3 years. I first noticed the burning sensation below my right rib, but then about a year ago, the pain started to appear below my left rib occassionally as well. Then, the pain would go away for a couple of weeks or months, and then reappear. Has anyone also had the pain on the left side as well?
by Dusklover, Jun 28, 2009 12:00AM
Hello All...I'm not a doctor but 2 weeks ago I ended up in the hospital following a bout with pain like many of you seem to have. It was diagnosed as pancreatitis. I don't know if it was acute or chronic...but it was maybe my 2nd attack. I saw my regular doctor Monday and she discussed my case with her GI friend at the PolyClinic here in Seattle. After reviewing recent blood work and her relaying my symptoms to him, he thinks it is a Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, considering my gallbladder is gone. This dysfunction can lead to attacks of the pancreas! There is an invasive surgery they can do to MAYBE relieve the problem, but I'm told it's a bad diagnosis and a bad surgery. My doctor told me today the idea is to prevent it from coming back. They believe this can be done via frequent, small, low fat meals. She suggested I see a nutrionist to assist in my diet. She left me with the comment that "you will want to be very, very good." When there is a problem with this organ it is extremely difficult for it to digest fat. If the sphincter is malfunctioning, the digestive enzymes from the pancreas will back up into the pancreas and it will digest it self. None of this is good! If I have another attack, I will be referred to one of two doctors in the Seattle area who deal with a possible Sphincter of Oddi issue. I'm scared so I will definitely stick to whatever diet I am told to stick to. So far, so good...I am eating low fat on my own, smaller, more frequent meals and I'm doing pretty good. I hope all of you find answers to the cause of your pain. You may want to mention Oddi to your doctors. I did on Monday and when my doctor called me today she started out by saying, "I wish I'd said what you said on Monday...it would make me look a lot smarter".....Good luck everyone.
by cowgirlTEXAS, Jul 03, 2009 12:00AM
I am 35 yrs. old and I have had my gall bladder taken out, I am having pain right below my right rib cage, when I bend over adn I am sitting on the floor and I lean over it is like having a charlie horse very sharp pain, if I straighten up and push on it, it feels like it moves out of the way, I am going to the Dr. Wed. but if anyone as had this please responded back please, and my back does not hurt at all.

Thank You
Texas Girl
by Bob T., Jul 09, 2009 12:00AM
To: Texas cowgirl
What did your doctor say about your charley horse pain under your rib cage. That is a similiar problem I have had and it getting worse. I've told the doctor before and he didn't know what to think. Have another appointment this coming friday.
by TexasAngel, Jul 19, 2009 12:00AM
Wow, I have been trying to explain my pains to my doctors and they just look at me like I'm crazy. Yet everyone here has pretty much summed up everything I'm feeling. I am 31 years old and had a hysterectomy at 27. About six months after my surgery I started experiencing this pain and actually ended up in the hospital for 4 days. They ran every test they could think of and everything came back normal. I just lived with the pain which is under my rib cage on the right side, right over my gallbladder. About a 1 1/2 years ago, I couldn't take it any longer and went to another doctor who diagnosed me with shingles. He prescribed Neurontin, which actually helped with the pain temporarily, then I did some research and nothing I was experiencing lead me to believe that it could be shingles. I ended up in the hospital again, they ran more tests and that doctor said it was Pluracy. I've had pluracy and this feels nothing like that. The sad thing about that is that the nurse came in and told me that that is what the doctor tells people they have when she doesn't know. (Comforting huh?) My symptoms:

Pain in the upper right of my stomach, right below the rib cage, muscle spasms and more and more frequently, I get what feels like a charlie horse (this becomes worse when I haven't eaten and happens almost everytime I sneeze or cough) . Burning sensation and the area feels numb to the touch when it's burning. The pain now often "jumps" to my lower abdomen on either the right or left side of my belly button. And seldom it does hurt on my upper left side below the rib cage, but not that often.

It is getting worse and worse and usually end up doubled over on average 10 times or more a day. Before I spend another dime with the doctors, I was curious if anyone had some sort of clue what this was. But apparently we are all in here with a bunch of pain and no answers. At least it's nice to know I'm not just crazy.
by madams, Jul 28, 2009 12:00AM
I was sitting here at work at my desk and decided to start surfing the net to find what might be wrong with me when I came across this messageboard. I was searching for pain under rib cage on right side. As i read these posts i was glad I wasn't the only one out there. I actually have been in the ER and have been told those ever so famous lines "There's nothing wrong." I have had my pain for over 9 years now. I had my left kidney removed in 1997. I had sufferred from Kidney stones for years and often thought it was my kidney.

As I got older and more familiar with my body i knew and the doctors knew it had nothing to do with my kidney. My Gallbladder has been checked and I have had numerous tests. At this point I just deal with it. Except today I decided to look once again on my own to see if i found anything new.

Right now I'm experiences a sensation as if i have bubbles under my rib cage and it's quite painful. As if they are moving around bloated. I don't have gas, and it's not constant. But it is painful when I feel it move.

I too have experienced the sunburn sensation, pain in my back, sharp pains in and around the liver and gallbladder area. This is so strange to me but i'm so glad there are many more out there who are also experiencing the exact same thing as me.
by Crampster, Jul 29, 2009 12:00AM
The pain I deal with is more like a pinching unless I have a major episode... then it is under the right ribcage and travels to the back and sometime up to the right shoulder. Have surgery on monday hope this will take care of the gallbladder issue. However I suffer from IBS also which really has not been giving me too much problem lately but I worry about something called dump syndrome which you can get after gallbladder is removed ... you eat and everything goes right through you... I need to stock up on immodium I guess.

Wish you luck checking in to your pain.... I don't know that I ever felt bubbles.
by nanita, Aug 07, 2009 12:00AM
WOW, it feels good to know I'm not going crazy, I've had the pain that most of you describe and the doctor doesn't seem to know what's wrong with me. Had a bone scan, checked liver, gall bladder, kidneys and nothing other than fatty substance in kidney. Couldn't see the pancreas- have been very concerened as all of my mother's sibling including her and my grandmother died of some kind of cancer... The pain at times is unberable- hadn't thought until now that when I have that pain my back hurts as well---
by Celerity, Aug 11, 2009 12:00AM
I have had similar symptons to what you all have described for years. I haven't found anything that stops it completely, but some things help. Antacids, such as Tums help take some of the pressure off and reduces the pain, but doesn't stop the pain. The pain is sometimes triggered if I go too long without eating. Then when I do eat, I become very bloated and this makes the pain worse. If I skip breakfast or wait too long to eat lunch, I can expect the pain to begin. It also triggers and is especially bad when I have been sitting too long, for example extended travel, and more so if the chair is too straight. A reclined position with lumbar support seems to help. Other times, pain seems to coincide with bouts of IBS during which times I am constipated. My IBS I generally feel is stress related.

Frequently, the pain is accompanied with all over aches and fatigue...sort of fever and flu-like symptoms even though there is no fever.
I have had a HIDA scan and the person conducting the scan indicated the gall bladder emptied very slowly, however this wasn't stated at all in the report to the doctor who told me everything was "normal."
by Deeman34, Aug 14, 2009 12:00AM
I have had the same pain off and on for the last 18 months. Dr test show nothing abmormal except a fatty liver. It bothers me more when i drink alcohol for extended periods so I thought it was my liver. I have started to take "liver restoration" vitamins and herbs and it seems to help. I think stress is a factor as well. Good luck to all.
by middleagelady, Aug 20, 2009 12:00AM
Not that this is the answer for everyone, and be sure and have all the medical test needed, but I had this problem and after many test and numerous doctor visits a massage therapist found a twisted rib. I also was diagnosed with a fatty liver. After the rib was put back into place I felt better, every now and then it acts up, usually after yard work, or other activities that involved a lot of bending and twisting.
by grumpybrat76, Aug 22, 2009 12:00AM
WOW...it is so nice to know I am not alone I am a 30 y/o female...I have been having pains like the ones described for about 5 years on and off. I have had so many tests...I should probably glow in the dark...All my tests come back normal. I am getting so aggrivated that they keep saying nothing is wrong. I am having the pains now, and had to sleep with a heating pad all night, tossing and turning.I was in bed all day yesterday in pain. It gets hard to breathe, and it feels like my rib is broken or something. I was supposed to get my gallbladder out about 4 years ago, but they decided not to do it, and after tests again, they said nothing is wrong, but there was something wrong before. I don't know what to do, I have tried to take gas pills thinking that would help, but it doesn't...any more suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks...
by redcloud, Aug 25, 2009 12:00AM
I am posting to this to share my experience with a very similar pain condition to posted ones(see below for pain description). My condition began about 18 years ago; treated for awhile with beta blockers etc., no help whatsoever. Eventually, I was diagnosed with hepatitis C. For several years used interferon therapy, which always reduced viral load to undetectable; during these times, pain subsided. Eventually, after three viral recurrences, the combined use of an antiviral with interferon and now HCV free for 7 years. Pain condition improved markedly, but took a long time. Even jog now - physical vibrations in a car were debilitating at height of problem during HCV infection. Point is, there were always correlations with the HCV and degree, location, and type of pain (maybe indicating swollen liver, stretched Glisson's capsule, I don't know). Now, okay, except when I a) drink coffee, b) do not get at least 7 hours sleep, c) eat spicy food, d) fasting (possibly overworking the liver - just a theory) e) mechanically jar my body excessively like in springless pedicabs jumping speed bumps, f) experiencing emotional dissonance, even just a little, g) drink alcohol, h) poke my liver with a finger. Sounds a lot like gastrointestinal problems, right? I have had my GI probed to kingdom come; all normal, looks fine. I have more theories about what is going on in my liver (which has mild necrosis from HCV), but I am not a medical professional, and will spare those. When I digress from a-g (don't think about probing my liver), the pain intensification can last on the order of an hour or so (like when getting emotinally unbalanced), or many weeks (like when drinking coffee). After HCV terminated, my tolerance for a-h is better, but I have to be very careful, always, or pay the consequences. My working solution is a healthy diet, avoid problem foods (coffee is a clear problem, alcohol is forbidden -- no way for me, not in any form or quantity). Lots of water helps when I respond adversely to coffee or tea; lots of water is good in general for my condition (I am such a dope to drink coffee ever with its effects on my condition; continually moving into an absolutely purist diet; vegan 6 years btw). This is a nasty pain, worse physical sensation I know; even when present only moderately, it undermines nearly every aspect of my consciousness like wood in fire. Still, I am not sure about this/my problem's roots and keep an open mind - been fooled before.

Develop a positive outlook once on top of this enough to have breathing room (I understand how very very very bad this sort of thing can be. The problem can be viewed as a sort of a barometer that most do not have about "wrong living" which encourages improved habits and lifestyle. Like maintaining mental equanimity, eating a good diet, etc. It is a quality of life, accept and find the balance.

PAIN DESCRIPTION: sensitive in upper right abdominal quadrant, focus under rib in region about 4-5 inches from sternum, usually dull ache which can become a burning sensation that accompanies persistent pain in right should and upper right arm (always exacerbation seems to be related to one of a-h above), radiates into back and side in the vicinity of liver, usually okay, but always a sensation inside, there broadly, under the rib. Sensitive to pressure all along lower rib, around to the side.
by phj40, Sep 05, 2009 12:00AM
I too am having similar pains in or under my ribs, mostly on my right side but sometimes on the left as well. I occurs when I bend down or over and it feels like a charlie horse. I have not seem a doctor as of yet. I thought I would research it first thinking this can't be uncommon. I am not a coffee drinker, but I do love my diet coke. I am about 20 pounds overweight and moderately active. It appears, however, that although this is common, no one has actually diagnosed this spasm. I thought it had something to do with having two children in the last 3 years. I even hired a personal trainer thinking I could work out the kink. Maybe it has something to do with the diet coke I consume. I will have to give my doctor a stab at solving this mystery and keep you all posted.
by FlankedbyPain, Sep 12, 2009 12:00AM
I too have suffered from the very same pains all or most of you have described, for many years. When all the tests came back negative and the doctors started telling me it was in my head and started recommending anti-depressants I took my health into my own hands. After much research I decided to try the natural approach, first I started with bowel cleanses but I still had the flank pain. I found a site www.curezone.com that describes in detail and old holistic remedy for flushing the liver and the gall bladder(Dr Hulda Clarks Liver Flush). It's simple enough ..epson salts, grapefruit juice, and olive oil...simple nothing poisonous. anyhow long story short the method is simple enough, fast for a day or so and then drink a bunch of oil and grapefruit juice. The next morning you'll expel (thru your ***) a half a cup of emerald green stones. I've done it a half dozen times now over the course of three years and just about every time I get around a half a cup or so of pure emerald cholesterol stones out of my liver and gallbladder(these stones won't show up in an x-ray or soniscan). I always know it's time for another treatment when my stool starts to turn pale and light orange and the flank pain comes back, that�s the tell tell that your Liver is once again getting clogged with the stones(now they are not stones in the conventional sense they are about the consistency of a bar of soap that�s been in the bath a while). So friends take your health back and at least TRY the liver flush. At the point most of you are in (where I used to be) you have got absolutely nothing to lose. The one thing I must stress is that you must do this multiple times because your Liver and gallbladder are clogged with these things...get some out, more fall down from above. Give it a try and take a cup of the stones to your idiot of a doctor that says it's all in your head.
by terriw, Sep 17, 2009 12:00AM
You might want to visit this site that talks about

Also, the IBS symptoms can be helped sometimes with Questran from all that I've been reading.

My husband was born without a gallbladder. We found this out after a lot of testing for gall bladder problem symptoms...but all the pain under the right rib cage like so many of you describe.

I'd follow the 2nd post from the M.D. about "Sprincter of Oddi dysfunction like she said. Here is the post again.

Good luck. I'm having my husband check on Questran since he was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and now knows that he has no gall bladder.

Since he has the gall bladder syptom (symptom) pains but no gall bladder, were are checking the "oddi" dysfunction.

Good luck to all of you. I also am glad to find that there are so many with this problem. Not that, that makes me happy, but to have others say the dr's think there is nothing wrong and to now have somewhere to go with this for more ideas for help!




One consideration would be Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. This is a condition that can occur in those without a gallbladder.

Typically, Sphincter of Oddi manometry done in conjunction with an ERCP would be needed for diagnosis. If present, surgery or endoscopic procedures can be done to correct this.

The upper endoscopy would rule out many of the major upper GI diseases. You can consider a 24-hr pH study to evaluate for GERD or esophageal motility studies to look for motility disorders.

These options can be discussed with your gastroenterologist.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient
by terriw, Sep 17, 2009 12:00AM
Here are two links with some very good information:



Good luck. This sounds promising.

By the way --

Since it refers to "structural of functional disorders", I wonder if it is any relation to medications that people are on as a side affect that is so uncommon and not easily determined?

My husband had a hida scan to find his gall bladder (which we now know he was born without). They couldn't find it and gave him morphine to close up this muscle to try to back up the fluids into the gall bladder in hopes of finding the gall bladder. I wonder if other medications are having this effect on people.

It would be interesting to see if so many of you like my husband with these same symptoms are on some of the same medications. Maybe someone will do some research on it! There are just so many people with gall bladder symptoms that are not gall stone related.
by binda, Sep 21, 2009 12:00AM
I've had the same problem for over 3 years. I had gallbladder removed in 1989. pain in my right side around rib cage that radiates into my back. MRCP, CT scan, ERCP all negative. Comes and goes, can't relate to anything in particular. Can be very painful at times and it disrupts my life. Gastro doctor cant find anything wrong. Negative for Hep C, normal liver, kidneys, pancreas, etc. ERCP revealed bile ducts clear of sludge. I've been reading about something called Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction. Sounds like the symptoms that I have. Anyone been diagnosed with this condition? Where do you start to find out? Could it just be arthritic? Any information appreciated.
by Funkie, Sep 27, 2009 12:00AM
After over 3 years of intense pain, more than enough tests to "do one human in", I was still told that there was nothing "wrong" with me. Not only did I see a Gastrointerolgist, but a Specialist at UNC, Chapel Hill, NC. No reason for my pain, or the fact that I couldn't hold down food for over 9 months, and lost a total of 102 pounds. I was often dehydrated, vomiting, couldn't hold down water, and was sicker that I had ever been. I had PH Probe, Manometry, Gall Bladder Ultrasounds, Barium swallows...etc...etc...I thought I was going crazy!!! I moved to SC, saw a new Gastrointerologist, who treated me horribly, ordered another ultrasound of my Gall Bladder and stated there was nothing wrong. FINALLY, my Family Dr. said, enough is enough, let's send you to a Surgeon. The surgeon was great, but because of all tests coming back normal, was hesitant to do the surgery, and his staff wasn't too sure how to code my diagnosis. In Feb. 2009, I had my Gall Bladder removed. When the WONDERFUL surgeon came to see me in recovery, he said..." Your gall bladder was full of what looked like black motor oil, covered with adhesions, 4 gallstones, and 2/3 covered in fat, which is what an organ will do to protect the rest of the body in case it ruptures. I said to him then, "so I'm not a hypochondriac"?...he said absolutely not! What a feeling to know that I was RIGHT!!!! I knew my body better than anyone, regardless of all of the tests that came back normal. Please...if you think something is wrong...say something. For those of you on Reglan, beware, they can make your Prolactin levels rise, then some Dr.'s start treating you for that without the knowledge that the medication is doing that. Be your best advocate. EDUCATE YOURSELF! Good luck to you all!!
by brooklynpip, Sep 29, 2009 12:00AM
Hi! I've had a similiar problem for a few years now....I get a charlie horse in my left side above my stomach, more towards the middle of the stomach, under my breast. I noticed it a few years ago when I would bend over or twist my body in an weird way/ It lasts for a few sconds , then releases. I had my gall bladder removed 2 years ago. Just this week, the pain has intesified without me bending over. Its not a major pain , its just a few seconds of annoyance. Can it be a muscle spasm? I dont know of any organs in that particular area. I think though I have noticed a pattern...Im at my heaviest of my life and I think this happens when I get fatter...it may sound funny....but my stomach is really protruding...I am overweight by about 50 pounds. I havent gone to the doctor just yet...but I will soon. Any ideas? Thanks!
by brooklynpip, Sep 29, 2009 12:00AM
Hi! I've had a similiar problem for a few years now....I get a charlie horse in my left side above my stomach, more towards the middle of the stomach, under my breast. I noticed it a few years ago when I would bend over or twist my body in an weird way/ It lasts for a few sconds , then releases. I had my gall bladder removed 2 years ago. Just this week, the pain has intesified without me bending over. Its not a major pain , its just a few seconds of annoyance. Can it be a muscle spasm? I dont know of any organs in that particular area. I think though I have noticed a pattern...Im at my heaviest of my life and I think this happens when I get fatter...it may sound funny....but my stomach is really protruding...I am overweight by about 50 pounds. I havent gone to the doctor just yet...but I will soon. Any ideas? Thanks!
by brooklynpip, Sep 29, 2009 12:00AM
Hello again everyone.....If anyone who has had the "charlie horse" symptom in either the right or left side of the opening of the stomach, more like under the breast area, please post something so I know that I am not going crazy. I will schedule an appt. next week with my GP but many people have told me its either gas, hiatal hernia ,etc. I did have my gallbladder taken out 2 years ago so its not that. Thanks so much!
by Maggiey, Oct 01, 2009 12:00AM
Hi all,
First thing, dispite what your doctor says, you are not crazy or a hypochondriac. This pain is real.
I have had about 20 years of my liver enzymes going up and down when I have bloodwork done. In 2000, my family doctor diagnosed me with Gallbladder disease and I had it removed.
I have had problems off and on with not feeling well and was treated for depression. Since about the beginning of July, 2009, I have had a pain just under my right rib below my sternum which radiated to the center of my back just below my right shoulder blade. I've had a Sonogram, CT scan, an upper endoscopy and all have returned with nothing wrong.
Believe me, sometimes the pain is so bad that I've been tempted to go to the ER. In frustration, while searching the internet for what this could be, I checked out SOD (Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction). I am going to my gastroenterologist to discuss the possibility of this being my problem.

In the meantime, the only relief I have received is from an herb that supports liver health, Milk Thistle. I started taking one 200 mg capsule a day and when the pain is really bad, I take three a day(morning, noon, and night). I have had remarkable success with Milk Thistle which I purchased from GNC (General Nutrition Center). As with any herbal remedy, make sure it of good quality.

Good luck!
by cari0, Oct 02, 2009 12:00AM
I am having a similar problem. I have always been very active and healthy, I am 28 years old, I am 5'9 and 125lbs. I have no other health problems. I've been having symptoms for one year. At least 3 times a week I wake up and it hurts to move just to shut my alarm off because of my abdominal pain. It feels like somebody has been kicking me all night and has left internal bruising. It sometimes wakes me up in the early hours. It's better once I get up and around, but then the outside of my ribcage feels bruised throughout the day and it hurts to put pressure on my ribcage like it is bruised. I have a doctor appointment this Friday. From what I've been reading, it sounds like it's going to be a long haul to a diagnosis. But I will let you know what the doc says.
by binda, Oct 02, 2009 12:00AM
I know how you feel. My right ribs feel like they were punched and are very sore to the touch. The pain really affects my life but what do you do when no one can find anything wrong (not that that isn't a good thing). I cant tell if this is muscular, arthrictic or some internal organ. I'm starting to think about the possibility of Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction. Does anyone know if extreme constipation can cause such horrible pain? Good luck to everyone experiencing the same kind of pain.One thing I do find somewhat comforting is heat, I usually walk around with one of those cordless heating pads.
by mrmarbles, Oct 02, 2009 12:00AM
Hello All,
I just had to register so I could post a comment. I am experiencing the same symptoms as everyone else. I am miserable
right now, I have the pain in my upper right side and it feels like a swollen organ, when it really acts up like it is doing now
I have trouble taking a deep breath. I am tired all of the time and have no energy whatsoever. I have had kidney infections on and off for about six years now. About three years ago I had an cystoscope (sp?) and all that the doctor said was that my bladder was the size of a small watermelon! He acted like this was no big deal. I continued with infections and went to a
general practitioner who ordered an ultrasound, everything turned out normal and he pretty much blew me off. I am 45 years old and had to quit my job to take care of my elderly father so now I don't have health insurance. I am stressing about going to the charity hospital here in my city and I don't really know what to do. The pain and fatigue is ruling my life at this point and I am so tired of feeling this way and being in pain. I'm thinking about trying the liver purge mentioned in one of the posts above. Anyway, I am glad to know that I'm not alone in this but I have to say that I wish we had being millionaires in common instead of being in pain! Positive energy to everyone..
by heathmcgovern, Oct 06, 2009 12:00AM
Hi. Like every other new poster here, I too have been dealing with a similar issues under my right rib cage for the past few years. Actually have come across numerous forums just like this one which have been filled with the accounts of fellow sufferers of this mystery ailment. Unfortunately, for the most part, few of any of those whom have shared their comments, have been able to resolve the pain/discomfort. But, at least it is reassuring to know that we are not alone. It's nice to see that this board is rather current, most of the ones I've come across in the past are a few years old, and for whatever reason, closed down to any new posts.

Similar to many here, I have had many tests, including numerous ultrasounds, endoscopys, a CAT scan, etc., but have not found any conclusive diagnosis. Because their are so many organs that can be the culprit in that area, it can seem at times almost futile to try and pin the source of the pain/discomfort down. Greatest probability is the gall bladder, but then sometimes I think it could be the liver, other times the pancreas, also perhaps the colon/small intestine (IBS), than occassionally the stomach, and even once and awhile I think maybe it has to do with my heart (as I sometimes as others have mentioned have difficulty taking a deep breath which I am certain is related to this issue).

Hopefully, people continue to contribute to this board, and maybe one day we can find a definitive resolution to our problems. I'm sure that not each of us has the same issue, but I'm confident that the majority of these cases are somehow related, the symptoms are just too similar.


  1. Wow I didn't expect to stumble upon this - everyone seems to have the same symptoms I do. Mine has only been going on 6 days now - I woke up one day feeling SO tired and SO bloated and really nauseous. I thought it was stress so just tried to wait it out and finally went to the doctor today b/c the pain is annoying.

    It does feel like someone punched me in the right side of my ribs - the pain moves to my lower back on the right side and my right shoulder blade as well.

    I had blood work today and I have an ultrasound tomorrow. My gallbladder was removed 8 years ago and I am convinced after doing my own research that this has something to do with sludge being in the bile ducts....just a thought but please let me know if you find results!

  2. I am going through the exact same thing! I have had 2 CT scans, ultrasound, upper endoscopy, bone scan, etc. and still no diagnosis. I had my gallbladder removed 18 yrs. ago so I know the pain is not from that. My symptoms all started about 2 yrs. ago. The pain, burning, and pressure was so bad at one point I had to go to the emergency room. All of my symptoms seem to come and go randomly. This has happened multiple times over the past couple of years. Now the pain and pressure is back and has not gone away for the past 3 weeks. The only time it seems to feel better is when I first get up in the morning. As the day progresses, so do the symptoms. Has anyone been diagnosed yet? I am really getting tired of not feeling well!

  3. i am going through the same pain . about 2 years now. i have lower right ribcage pain that goes around the middle of my back . when i bend over it feels like my ribs are sticking in me and i have spasms in my ribcage area for a few minutes. when i lay flat down or try to sleep it feels like something heavy pushing on my ribs .i too have had my gallbladder removed about a year ago but that was not the problem..i have been to several doctors and to the er and they dont no what it is . they just give me something for pain ...i want some one to find out what going on ... im not crazy i no there is something wrong..

  4. I have been having the same exact pain as everyone else..it feels like something is tryng to push through my right ribs and there is a burning sensation that goes around my waist and radiates through out the right side of my back. My primary care doctor sent me to get an xray and an ultrasound. I saw a urologist and my kidneys are fine. However, the GI doctor could not diagnose my symptoms and ordered me to get a hidascan. I went to the ER instead, because this is my only day off for the next two weeks. I have been leaving work early and coming in late trying to see about this. Not to mention, my co-pay for a specialist is $55. The ER doctors could not hidascan, but did another ultrasound and xray..said they were fine. I am sooo frustrated and in pain. It's hard to sleep, work, or do anything feeling like this. I don't know what to do. I am going to have the hidascan, but based on the results I've heard on here, it may not come back with anything. I do know that I had been extremely stressed before the symptoms occured. I did have some spicy food too. This is so mysterious, but I pray that everyone gets healing. I'm tired of being in pain.

  5. FYI My Mom had the same symptoms for over 2 years, she just past way in October 2011 from Primary Liver Cancer of unknown orgins 5 different specialis IU University of Chicago Sloan Kettering NY, a non-drink, wasn't exposed to hepatitis, etc the usually ways that Primary Liver Cancer occurs. Now I have the same right side rib pain radiates around my back slight burning, and it's better at night to sleep on affected side?? Has anyone else made a connection between the symptoms and cancer or am i just being paraniod? Afraid to tell my Dad, Brother and Sister having same issues that my Mom did.