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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Strong Pain in Upper Left Back

 leatheryjowls - Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:39 pm

Hi, I'm a very healthy 31 year old caucasian male living in Bangkok, Thailand. I'm thin, exercise frequently and never drink or smoke or do drugs. I was diagnosed with Gilbert's disease in 1999, which I'm told is basically symptom-less and harmless except for a high bilirubin count.
About 2 years ago I started having pretty severe bouts of pain in my back, but not in the center, on the left side about where I think the spleen is located. I was pretty sure it was not a muscular or skeletal thing because it wasn't correllated with exercise or back workouts at all. I consulted a Thai doctor and he said I need to do back stretches but they did nothing for me so I quit eventually. It went away after I while so I forgot about it.
Then, maybe 6 months ago, it started up again. It's pretty painful and wakes me up sometimes. The reason I'm posting under gastroenterology is because it seems to happen when I have gas or need to defecate and is relieved after. But it doesn't happen every time and sometimes it happens when I don't need to. I think they're associated but I'm not totally sure.
The pain isn't related to body position except that it is sometimes worse when I inhale deeply and it is sometimes relieved when I stand up perfectly straight. (I have bad posture.)
I no longer trust the medical system here in Thailand and this is hard to self-diagnose on the web because back pain almost always comes up with skeletal or muscular stuff, which I think in my case is unrelated. Maybe.
Here is some more possibly relevant info:
-My posture is kind of bad in that my head is stooped forwards always and just a little to the right.
-My sleep pattern tends to be to stay up till 3-4am and sleep till noon, and I seem to require 9-10 hours of sleep per day. However, this has been basically a life-long thing so it pre-dates this back pain by a good 15 years.
-I've lived in Thailand for about 3 years and have had food poisoning several times.
Here are some ideas I have:
-Ulcers? Does the pain from ulcers show up in the back?
-Spleen problems? Only because of the location of the pain.
-Bacteria/parasite? Because of my location in Thailand and the fatigue.

I have no idea. Please fix me.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:20 pm

User avatar Hello -

I think you can let go the spleen and pancreatitis theories, as neither is anywhere near the location that is affected, and with your description of your posture I suspect this problem is probably related to that; most likely you have a pinched or compressed nerve due to prolonged postural stoop. Seeing an orthopedist would probably be your best bet, but owing to your poor luck finding good medical care in Thailand maybe a chiropractor would be more helpful.

I hope this is helpful to you. Good luck.
 leatheryjowls - Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:30 am

Thanks for the reply, John. Actually, I put myself on an ulcer anti-biotic treatment a month or 2 later and the pain disappeared midway through the course. It came back about a month ago, I treated it the same way and it disappeared midway through the course again. I suspect that the ulcer bacteria is commone here or something. I might consult a chiropractor just to investigate my bad posture anyway, though. Thanks again!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:40 pm

User avatar Great detective work and self-advocacy on your part! You would seem to have pretty well proven the h. pylori theory. Chiropractic evaluation surely couldn't hurt as well. Good job. Thanks for the update. Please stay in touch.

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