pain in the side
November 10, 2010 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Vague pain in side, yes, you are not my doctor, I should see my doctor, so what is this pain anyway?

When I am at rest I get this vague stabbing pain in the left side of my chest about 3 inches below my arm pit. It feels like I am being stabbed by a large pin buried in a pile of cushions. It happens almost every night and has been happening for years. I mentioned it to my doctor and he went "meh." Anyway, it still happens.

The pain is not related to breathing. It is not a cramp. Just a vague stabbing pain deep inside. It feels like a catch or pinch. Very odd.

I unconsciously hold on to my side when it happens. Sometimes it wakes me up. What is this, why is it happening? I am female, 52, and of normal weight.
posted by fifilaru to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I mentioned it to my doctor and he went "meh."

Time to get a new doctor?
posted by goethean at 1:32 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

I mentioned it to my doctor and he went "meh."

How did you mention it? Were you in for another reason, and then as the doc was wrapping up you said "oh by the way..."? Or were you treating it like a serious issue? I've found that the more nonchalant I am about those "oh by the way..." issues, the more nonchalant my doctor is about it.
posted by rhapsodie at 1:37 PM on November 10, 2010

I tend to me nonchalant. I have Kaiser and live on Maui. We don't have a great number of doctors to choose from and none of them are especially stupendous. I consider mine the best of the bunch.
posted by fifilaru at 1:49 PM on November 10, 2010

Not sure if it is gallbladder related, since it is on the left side, not the right.
posted by fifilaru at 2:00 PM on November 10, 2010

Are you a smoker? Or have any other lung issues? That's how I would have described the lung cramps I got when I was smoking a pack a day.
posted by citywolf at 2:02 PM on November 10, 2010

Nope, no smoking, no drinking, no bad habits, and I eat properly. I live a boring life.
posted by fifilaru at 2:20 PM on November 10, 2010

A good doctor is trained to take the "doorknob" issues seriously. Although you may not have a good doctor so YMMV.

I don't suppose it could actually be a pin? It's not unheard of for people to step, lean, or lie on pins which then travel.
posted by tel3path at 2:34 PM on November 10, 2010

Doesn't matter if he's the best available, if he's not addressing an issue you've brought to him, you need a second opinion or a new doc.
posted by facetious at 2:57 PM on November 10, 2010

I wouldn't ask, but since you brought ti up, are you at all overweight? We were taught the four Fs, which are: Female, Forties (or older), Fertile and Fat. If these all apply, there is a good chance of gall bladder issues. Worth bringing up and looking into.
posted by Old Geezer at 3:02 PM on November 10, 2010

A friend had a long-term side ache that she ignored. Eventually diagnosed with lung cancer (non-smoker, never around anyone who smoked). She died.

I think pain is your body's way of saying, "Hey pay attention to me. Something is wrong here." I would not ignore this. Maybe the doctor will say it is nothing serious but you should find out.
posted by eleslie at 3:58 PM on November 10, 2010

In my personal experience, many doctors take their cues on what to investigate based on your attitude. If something is not obviously a problem, and you drop it, they drop it. Go back and say "This has been going on for a long time, and it concerns me. What can we do to find out what's causing it?"

It might be nothing; it might be something (it could even be a kidney stone; they can cause pain to be described in a whole bunch of weird places relative to where the stone actually is or started out).
posted by wintersweet at 4:58 PM on November 10, 2010

You might try a physical therapist. There are crazy muscle pains that develop because of a problem with muscles in a totally different part of the body -- like certain back pains that can be cured with leg stretches. Physical therapists know a lot about muscle pain and treatment; most doctors do not.
posted by wryly at 6:16 PM on November 10, 2010

This could be many things, some of them serious. See your doctor soon, and push your doctor until you have a solid answer.
posted by Ahab at 12:34 AM on November 11, 2010

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