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Author Topic: Muscle pain vs. organ pain. Is there a definite way to tell the difference?  (Read 6844 times)

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Offline a14

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Well after a hypo-free month I'm now freaking out over my pancreas and spleen because I developed a stabbing pain under a lower left rib a few hours ago. It doesn't feel particularly deep, it doesn't throb, it doesn't hurt more or feel like a lump when I press on my ribs, it's just a sharp pain in one little spot. So I'd LIKE to think that somehow (even though I didn't do any strenuous physical activity today) I did something to the muscles surrounding my ribs and that it isn't a warning sign that something is wrong with an organ, but my mind always assumes the worst.

I have pains like this now and again all in different spots in my abdomen, and if there was ANY way to be able to tell that something was muscle instead of organ pain (how "deep" it feels, whether or not it hurts more when pressed, sharp vs. dull, etc.) it would save me so much fear in occasions like this, but I can't find anything online to this effect. Am I just not searching hard enough, or is there some way to be reasonably sure that something is just muscle pain? This alone would seriously eliminate 50% or more of my health anxiety episodes. Thanks all for any responses.
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Offline tionio

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I can attest to the pain in the ribs.  I have had that sort of pain off and on for over 5 years.  I went to my doctor when it first occurred because I was nervous about it and he told me that if I could push on my rib and it hurt then almost all of the time it is musculoskeletal.  He said that if I had an issue from within my body that the pain would radiate outward from deep inside my body.  Now, I must also say that I am not a doctor and that is simply the advice he told me.  He told me that a lot of times people will aggravate the cartilage between their ribs and it can cause sharp pain. 
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Offline a14

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Thank you for the informative response. I've done self-examination of my ribs several times today and I have slight pain when I push on the affected area, however I have no way of knowing if that's just from me fiddling with it too much. The pain and slight sensation of "fullness" has dissipated somewhat since then, to be replaced by a touch of nausea/indigestion after I had an iced coffee and a couple of twinges of pain on the right side of my abdomen in roughly the same spot now. I am hoping that, if it is not musculoskeletal, that it was just normal stomach upset and nothing else. But I'm new to HA involving the pancreas and that's just really frightening for obvious reasons. Hopefully it's just gone tomorrow, because it's just inconclusive right now whether it's muscle or organ.
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Offline mpamommyto3

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Trapped gas can cause that pain as well. Air or fecal matter can get trapped in the curve in your colon and be extremely painful. Also an ulcer or gastritis in your stomach. I saw my dr for the same thing. He blamed it on IBS.
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Rebecca J.
17 Years Anxiety Disorder and Depression

Offline mpamommyto3

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FYI, friend of mine had pancreatitis and she had excruciating pain, vomiting, fever, chills, she was rushed by ambulance and hospitalized for a week. You would know if it was your pancreas.
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Rebecca J.
17 Years Anxiety Disorder and Depression

Offline mommabear

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Good question. I've been having pain in my upper rib, below my breast and it's been hurting for days now.....also hurts when I press on it. So I could only hope that it indeed is muscular in nature.
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Offline Hunniedeww24

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Gas gas gas...
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~The one big bummer about reality is.....there's no awesome background music~

Offline a14

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Thanks all for responses again. I've just tried to ignore it for the past couple of days, oddly it's shifting back and forth between my lower left rib and lower right rib now. Feels like a stitch either way. I don't think it could be gas if it's been multiple days now, but considering that symptoms haven't escalated I suppose I shouldn't worry too much. I just always assume the worst at any little pain, it sucks to constantly think like this. I've had a little stomach upset the past few days on and off so I'm just hoping that if it's not muscular it's some little digestive quirk that'll work itself out on its own. Thanks again everyone.
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Offline it is well

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this is exactly the situation i'm in today.

clearly my anxiety has been lurking and has come to the surface again.

ugh.
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Offline Hohum

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I have had pain in my right flank, back and around the ribcage for 10 years now (on and off) and it has never been diagnosed. Various Doctors over the years have come out with everything from a hernia to IBS to liver disorders. Ultrasounds, x-rays, blood tests...nothing ever come back conclusive.

In the end I went for some deep-tissue massage and wow, what a difference! Apparently my back muscles were locked in a permanent state of spasm, causing pain. The spots in the muscle were so hard they felt like bone. I actually stopped going after the second treatment as it's not exactly what you would call pleasant (imagine being repeatedly elbow-dropped for 45 minutes!) and it had helped a lot. Been getting the pain again lately though, so I really should return to treatments.

Muscle pain should always be a culprit, from my own personal experience. Not to say that you shouldn't consult your doctor for any pain which persists or gets worse after a few weeks, but definitely don't discount muscular causes!
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