Mid To Upper Back Rib And Under Arm pain?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by joeb7th, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    I have been telling doctors for over 3 years that I have this constant soreness all around my rib cage and in my arm pits.

    They just shrug and say take anti-inflammatories and pain pills for this. Never has one doctor offered a confident diagnosis nor suggested finding out what this is. They even get mad now when I bring it up.

    But, starting two month ago my back rib cage near the middle of my upper back right under my shoulder blades has increased in soreness to the point that I moan off and on and when I breath in the pain doubles. It feels like I was punched over and over back there very hard no longer ago than a few hours or maybe a day ealier.

    When I bend down or even while I lay on my back in bed and especially when I roll over in bed...the pain is excrutiating and I just moan throughout the night.

    Just saw a doctors on duty doc and he said to take more Advil type pills and pain pills and maybe see a neuorologist. A neurologist?

    I could live with the chest wall/rib pain most of the time in the last three years. I would feel it and on bad inflammatory feeling days it would be bad and when I touched many specific points in that area the pain would make me wince and sigh...but without touching it I could live with it.

    But this new and much more powerful pain emanates from that back rib area and radiates out to the side ribs and the under arms and makes the pain there bad whether I touch it or not ... and it is driving me nuts.

    Any one else have this and ever found out what it is? Treatment?

    I have already read up on Costochondritis...it sounds like it in many ways but when no doctor ever confirms this and 99% of them act like they've never even heard of this condition...what do you do?

    Man, there is simply no end to the pains and stresses and weak and scary feelings throughout your body with this immune system virus thing... thise fibro or CFS or whatever it is.

    It's like you are just tortured off and on forever!

    How many times have I shouted to the sky..."why me?"
    [This Message was Edited on 04/03/2010]
  2. HeavenlyRN

    HeavenlyRN New Member

    I wish I had some medical-type words of wisdom to share. Just wondering if it could be gall bladder problems. I had somewhat similar symptoms but never had a true gall bladder "attack." Interestingly enough, it was 8 months after my gall bladder surgery that I was diagnosed with FM. Stupid gall bladder!! :)

    The advice I CAN give you is to keep after your doctor (or find another one) to find out what is going on. I've been on disability since Dec. 23rd due to back pain that slowly spread up my back and onto my flanks. After 4 ER visits, I was finally diagnosed with a kidney cyst and will be having surgery this Thursday. It was only through sheer determination (mostly on my husband's part because I just felt to crappy to fight) that I finally got the diagnosis.

    I guess my point is.......keep bugging your doctor until you are satisfied with the answers.

    Good luck.
  3. robocop1

    robocop1 New Member

    Your post blew me away...I was diagnosed 18 years ago with FMS and have worked, and delt with the pain. I can remember my boss playing around and her hitting my arm and I would tell her that hurt---she would call me a wuss...last year early feb/march 2009 I told my Dr. that I felt swollen under my arms and she said it was just swollen fat glands, and my FM. Ok, I accepted that...now for the last 3 weeks, I have had a back ache, rib cage hurting, shoulderblade hurting and cannot stay in bed. I wake up in the middle of the night and moan and try various ways to get comfortable; without waking and disturbing my husband. I found the best way is to practically sit up!!! When I breathe the pain doubles, and I feel like I've been in a fight and I am just bruised all over. My back pain 1 night will be on my right side more, then the next on my left, sometimes it's in the middle but the shoulder area is really getting to me now....I have not told my Dr. about the backache's yet., because last time I told her about my chest hurting she said to me that I just had an EKG and my heart is ok, (had cataract surgery in nov. and april) again she tells me its my FM...everytime I complain to her its the same thing, its my FM...I have been hesitant to even call my Dr., plus I pay monthly on all my Dr.'s bills and I want to get their bills down and not create another...oh yea, and this years 1,000 deductible is not met yet meaning most cost will be mine!!! I am going to check into Costochondritis, my niece was telling me she has that!!! and I have an email site for my Dr. and tomorrow I am also going to call her...I am tired of complaining to my husband and my daughter (she's 30!) they already think I am a hypochondriac I am sure...Please if anyone has any suggestions, and Joe if you've found anything out please send me a message..I also have miniere's desease (vertigo, middle ear) and TMJ, poor eye problems, receding gums...all of this at 57 years old!!! Yet, people look at me and think I look great....I was recently approved for SSDI, thank God. There is no way I could hold a job...I am getting more and more depressed, feeling like everyday its something else...People tell me look at the alternative, or its the weather, the time change...I've heard it all....I just stopped talking to anyone about it now..its kind of hard to hide from my family though...I wish I had the answer for you, but I am in the same boat as you..hopefully together we can come up with something...Glad I found this message board today...One day after your post...strange...
  4. quanked

    quanked Member

    google on "gallbladder attacks" a couple of hours ago because of some reoccuring pain I experience.

    Your symptoms sound a lot like what an attack is like. You might want to look into this.
  5. Sheila1366

    Sheila1366 New Member

    Don't know why. I was told it was fm. But I also had my gallbladder removed and your symptoms sound much like what I felt. I was also sick to my stomach. Maybe you should see a stomach dr.
  6. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    I wish the Docs On Duty doc would have at least considered more potential causes than nothing. What if my gall bladder is the cause...and these docs won't even consider it?

    Robo...yes, you are right. My situation is identical to yours. I cannot believe how painful the whole area is back there now. I lay on this in bed and it hurts, I turn on my side and "Oh Man!" even worse when I am turning...and when I breath any deeper than easy shallow breaths it hurts like crazy!

    But, I'm just supposed to live with it. Take pain and anti-inflammatories. Cover it up.
    Accept it.

    I can't really be more agressive in demanding more referrals or tests like so many advise.

    You must understand...I live in a relatively small town. My medical reputation here ( after being afflicted with this whatever-it-is immune system haywire affliction after a traumatic head fall and accompanying injuries ) is shot.

    I have had 4 years of frequent visits to the ER ( to our one hospital ) and doctors ( as to be expected with such a scary, shocking and powerfully effecting affliction ) and there are now all kinds of negative "personal doctor comments" including anxiety and even psyche ones that are included in my shared medical records.

    I am literally considered ( unethically and unfairly ) a frantic hypochondriac. And it's part of my record! I have seen these negative and subjective comments myself by opening up and reading medical record reports that I was tansporting to other doctors by hand.

    And this subjective labeling by doctors has hugely damaged my credibility and even treatment.

    This after 54 years of never ever running to doctors or our one hospital here in the same small town.

    I wasn't injured and suffering like this in those first 54 years like I have been in the last 4 years. But that first 54 year local, lifetime resident history of normal medical and emotional problems and actions are as meaningless to these docs as if they simply don't exist.

    I had one doctor mention in one of these personal comments that he thought I was faking a medically concerned call to him one evening because when he called back I was "cheerfully pleasant" and not sounding as if I was in distress!

    He made three other negative assessments of me in his "personal observation" comments to this other doctor! All subjective and not true! And how can I defend myself from these damaging subjective comments when most of the time I don't even know they exist?

    I couldn't believe that this doctor would interpret my pleasantness upon ansering a phone as faking a concerned call to him. I have to "mask" my pain when people call me! I feel that I do not know who's calling and I don't want to bother them with moaning and crying when I answer their calls. It is my nature and a habit to answer a phone pleasantly when someone calls as best I can even if I am physically or emotionally hurting.

    My pleasantness upon answering a phone does not mean I am not hurting.

    I mention this true story and there are so many more...to explain why it is I cannot just run to another doctor here for a second opinion for this new back and rib spreading out pain.

    If I persist any more than I have for doctors to do more studies on me for things like this constant upper back and rib cage pain...they always frame this as more a psyche issue than a physical one. That I am a frantic, anxiety ridden, difficult patient who simply won't accept the negative test result truth.

    Any more pushing by me other than passive agreement would just hurt my patient reputation and my future care even more.

    I have had doctors refuse to be my doctor any more. I even had one doctor refuse to refer me to a new Family Practioner with the stated excuse " she's not right for you?"

    His head nurse told me to ask him for this referral minutes earlier!

    She said this new practioner was a very nice doctor and I should try to get in to see her since she was closer than the 35 miles away my other one was. Obviously, this doctor didn't want to send someone to this new doc who had a medical record with psyche comments like me.

    Anyway...Robo, I will keep you posted if somehow, some way somebody finds out anything more as to what could be causing all this 24/7 back and rib pain.

    Thanks again for responding to my original post. JB

  7. ITDude

    ITDude New Member

    I am very familiar with the pain you are having. Not sure if you have the same issue, but they did an MRI on me and found that I had a very large bone spur in T5/T6 and it had fused to two of my ribs. So breathing was a major pain. Felt like my ribs were cracked. If I layed down on my side where the pain was and then got up the pain was so horibble I could hardly stand it. My Dr then tried several pain meds. I'm now using Fentanyl Pain patches that you change every 3 days. One of the strongest pain meds you can get. I'm sure others on this site have used it before. He then sent me to an orthopedic surgeon to see if they would operate and fix the problem. The ortho said that the would have to do abdominal surgery to get to it and it was too dangerous for this issue, so stuck using the drugs. Been on the patches for 3 years now. Tried to have a neuro surgeon put in one of those morphine pumps so I would be getting less drugs, but he said I wasn't old enough. Never heard that before. I'm 47 now and not sure how old they want you to be to have less pain and less meds. :eek:(

    Well enough about me. Thought you might want to see if you can check into the bone spur issue. Good Luck and feel better.
  8. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    I finally got an appointment to see my family practice doctor. I hadn't seen her since before this all started 2 + months ago and 4 months ago total.

    I told her about the excrutiating pian from my mid upper back that goes out on both sides to right underneath shoulders, along arm pits and through ribs in that area. Right now I am just moaning with pain there.

    She was reluctant to do an MRI right away because of costs for something she thinks may be osteoporosis so she is scheduling me an appointment for bone density test.
    In the mean time I am in unbelieveable pain back there.

    I said if the bone tests come out all right then I want an MRI. We kind of mentioned waiting a month to see.

    But this pain is getting worse. Honestly, right now, my mind is telling me I can't make it a month.

    It wasn't "quite" this bad this morning ( only time of the day it isn't in full blown 7 to 8 level pain status. Maybe a 5 then?

    And when the docs see you and you aren't moaning in pain they think it isn't that bad. But by mid-day and now at 6PM the pain level has shot up to about a 7 to 8.

    It effects my mental state so much because all I can do is stay home and moan.

    Man, I just want to know what's causing this.

    Bone spurs in disks? That would be something.

    I can't force my doc to rush these tests...but if this gets any worse I may have to.

    Thanks for the Bone Spur tip. I will mention this next time I can talk to any doctor who is looking into this.
  9. saral1974

    saral1974 New Member

    I have had this pain for about 2-3 weeks now and it is driving me insane. Several ribs are sore to touch especially along the side. I don't find myself short of breath but seems like I can't always get good deep breath. My stomach muscles have been bothering me too and I don't know if it is from constantly trying to get a deep breath or from something else. The pain comes and goes and it annoys me sooooo bad. Not sure whether I should see my primary Dr. for further evaluation or what to do.
    Rustyhinges likes this.
  10. Rustyhinges

    Rustyhinges Member

    Hello guys. Ribs hurting for three years. Been to ER three times with Panic Attacks from this pain that shifts around. Neurologist one missed it. Number two went deeper. History. Injury of elbow ulnar nerve (funny bone) nerve effects ring and pinky finger. Two surgeries and lost 70% of feeling and was painful. Doctor sent me to pain clinic. Three years of hydrocodone 10/325 and I hate pain pills. Complained about rib cage pains moving one side to the other for years CT Scans, MRI and X-Ray showed nothing other than arthritis on my spine from neck to lumbar. Not a real problem, just discomfort on weather changes. Number two doctor did a blood panel complete and found my B-12 and D was real low almost none. She gave me a shot of B-12 5000cc. Before I got home in 30 minutes my pain has gone and my energy level has doubled so far. I now give myself the B-12 shots in the thigh as prescribed. Also was low of D the bone supplement so I take 2000cc over the counter. At 59 my life is almost back to normal. Now to get back exercising in a pool at first to gain what I had lost by not doing anything. Small steps as it took almost 4 years to make me an old man and 6 months to get back free of rib cage pains. Could it be vitamins deficiency sending me to ER. You bet it was. I am still working hard to get back to 35, you wish.....but I am trying. Ask your doctor to do the blood work. I smoked 40 years and thought I was done and Googled the worst things on earth. Don't do that. Let the doctor do their work and ask to check these things I mentioned. You can thank me later. And the pain pills. I made my own chart over a month and decreased the dose 1/2 tablet a week starting week two. By month two took my last dang pill and IT was a big factor is sucking the life out of me. Was never fibro as Google said or WebMD. Blessings - Rusty ------ for you Sara --------this is working for ME. I'm not a doctor.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
    Texas2013 likes this.
  11. Rustyhinges

    Rustyhinges Member

    Sara, let me add for you. When your belly gets raw, heart burn etc. you could have reflux and your colon pushes up the diaphragm muscle under your ribs. If that's the case have a belly doc check you out. Colon and Stomach share pains. Get primary send you to the gasto doc just to see.