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Gallbladder Pain, But No Gallbladder…

A few months ago I started having episodes of intense abdominal pain, often accompanied by nausea, that were reminiscent of the gallbladder attacks I had last year. The only problem is, obviously, I had my gallbladder removed. So it shouldn’t be hurting…

It Feels Like a Bad Gallbladder, But Doesn’t Act Like It.

This pain was a little bit different than with my gb. There were no consistent food triggers I could find. Sometimes any food would cause pain, sometimes lack of food would cause pain. This is in contrast to gallbladder attacks being fairly predictably caused by food, especially fats.

Like gallbladder attack pain, this pain almost always started in my upper right abdomen, under my rib cage, but would spread towards the middle and to the left. And I swear it felt almost exactly like the intense, stabbing, bursting/pressure type pain I would get from my lousy gallbladder. It was seriously so weird.

By April I was waking up every night with pain that would keep me up for at least 30 minutes, often a lot longer. During the day my stomach seemed to disagree with everything and I was taking Zofran just about every day to manage the nausea.

I even ended up in the ER for an episode of pain and nausea the evening before my finals started (around the same time of year I went to the ER last year for gb stuff, though I didn’t know it was that at the time). The folks at the ER were also confused, because my pain sounded just like gallbladder pain, but… no gallbladder…

Hmmm, Ulcers Maybe?

867FF43D-D3F6-4849-8020-98D406B7BD07.gifWell I got in to see my GI shortly after finishing my finals. I experienced some serious dejavu–one year later, same time of year, same office, same GI, same symptoms. She even said basically the same thing as she had one year before: she suspected ulcers. So she wanted me to try acid suppression medication to see if it helped and we would also schedule an ultrasound of my biliary system.

The thing is last year I tried the acid suppression medication and it didn’t help. In fact it made me feel lousy. And then we found out she was wrong and it was my gallbladder. So I was not surprised, but not thrilled when she said the same thing again.

This time though, the trial ulcer meds really helped. The first day I was on them I slept through the night, without being awoken by pain, for the first time in weeks and weeks.

So we’re doing a month worth of treatment with Prilosec in the morning and Zantac at night and then we’ll see where we’re at. If my symptoms return I’ll probably need to have an upper endoscopy to actually see what’s in there and test to see if I’m infected with H. Pylori–one of the most common causes of peptic ulcers.

No NSAIDs For Me. Good Thing Tylenol’s So Effective…

In the meantime I’ve been instructed to stay away from all NSAIDs. My frequent use of NSAIDs for migraines is one of the things that has caused her to suspect ulcers (twice). Certainly they could be a problem. But staying off them is no easy thing. Even though my migraines are doing better with a preventative regimen of Prozac and Verapamil, and especially since I started Concerta for my ADHD, my head still hurts a lot. And Tylenol is not super helpful. But so far I’ve been able to manage. Thank goodness it’s summer.

A Nightly Stretching Routine for Less Pain and Stiffness in the Morning

Ok people are you ready for this? Today I’m going to share with you my nightly stretching routine. A combo of yoga and physical therapy stretches, it’s taken me years to hone to perfection. I do it every night before I go to bed; it helps me sleep better (less pain at night) and keeps the morning stiffness and pain under control.

1) Standing calf stretch

Hold 30 secs.

Hold 30 seconds each leg straight and repeat on each side with leg slightly bent. I do it with my torso leaning against a wall/ my bed to deepen the stretch. IMG_0040

2) Standing Groin Stretch

Hold 30 secs each leg.

IMG_0041.JPG Again this can be done leaning against something to take some of the weight off of the bent leg if needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Standing Quad Stretch

Hold 30 secs each leg.

Grab hold of something to help you keep your balance if needed, but try to work up to balancing on your own.IMG_0042.PNG

4) Standing Hamstring Stretch

Holds 60 secs.

Yeah I know you won’t look like this at first–but eventually. IMG_0043

5) Standing IT Band Stretch

Hold 30 secs each leg.

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6) Sitting Hamstring Stretch

Hold 60 secs.

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7) Sitting Groin Stretch

Hold 30 secs.

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8) Side Sitting Hamstring/Back Stretch

Hold 45 secs each side.

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9) Figure Four Stretch

Hold 60 secs each side.

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10) Downward Facing Dog

Hold 30 secs.

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11) Upward Facing Dog

Hold 30 secs.

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12) Child’s Pose

Hold 30-60 secs.

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13) Cat Cow

Go back and forth for about 30 secs, bend up into cat with exhale, go down into cow with inhale.

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14) Gluteus Medius Stretch

Hold 60 secs each side.

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15) Kneeling Quad/Hip Stretch

Hold 30 secs each side. You should feel the stretch in you quad and hip flexors.

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16) Low Lunge

Hold 30 secs each side. Then lower back knee and repeat.

 

17) Forward Fold

Bend knees slightly and let head hang. Hold for 30-60 secs.

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All done! I know it seems like a lot but it only takes about 20 minutes once you get the sequence down. Sweet dreams and less painful mornings!