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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Pancreatic Cancer

Question: Pancreas Pain or Pulled Muscle?

 thankyoudoc - Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:42 pm

Hi Doctor-

I recently noticed I have some pain near the left upper side of my abdomen. Over a two week period it hurt only I would say moderate pain for a half a day until I took some aleve. I recently got the same sensation about six days later and noticed the pain was there and still bothering me. I was hoping it is a pulled muscle, but on this same snowboard trip I drank rather heavily. I saw alcohol abuse as an underlying cause to acute pancreatitis. I just turned 23 and wouldn't call myself an alcoholic, but I drink quite heavily on the weekends. I have consumed around 5+ alcoholic drinks on around 4 seperate occasions since I noticed the pain and nothing uncomfortable has come about. I have been sick for around ten days now, but my parents had this same flu before I went snowboarding with symptoms of sinus congestion/cough and just feeling very out of it. Should I be concerned with this pain that is still silghtly bothering me today, (very minor) or should I brush it off as a pulled muscle? Is this condition common or extremely rare? Thanks
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:55 am

User avatar Hello,

I hope by now you are feeling better. It's impossible to assess symptoms and come up with anything close to a diagnosis over the internet. However, here are some insights as your question does raise some interesting issues.

Alcohol abuse refers to chronic consumption of over 80 grams of alcohol a day. This should give you a rough idea of what is meant by alcohol abuse in relation to the alcohol content of the beverage you are consuming.

Alcohol abuse has definitely been associated with chronic pancreatitis. It has also been associated with 15% of cases presenting with acute pancreatitis. However, many acute cases are associated with underlying chronic changes on pathological examination. This means, that many so called acute cases actually develop on top of a pancreas that has been silently and chronically damaged over years.

Regarding your description of pain, it doesn't sound like the typical description of pain for acute pancreatitis. In these cases, pain is very severe, in some cases associated with coma and shock. It is usually located in the epigastrium (above the umbilicus) and is characteristically associated with band-like referral to the back and the patient feels a lot better by leaning forward. Pain from acute pancreatitis lasts days and is associated with tenderness in the epigastrium as well as nausea and vomiting.

In any case I would urge you or anyone else reading this post to seek direct evaluation by a doctor should your symptoms continue or progress to mimic the picture described in the preceding paragraph.

Best regards,

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