YNMD, but help me with this pain!
November 27, 2007 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Help me with this mystery pain (long post, sorry)

Starting yesterday I began having a pain that is on my right side, on my lower back/side. It doesn't really hurt when I am sitting or laying down, but walking, twisting, or any pressure applied to the area hurts.

The pain got much worse last night when I went to the store. The extended period of time spent walking made the pain really, really bad. I bought a heating pad and spent the rest of the night laying on the couch. Today the pain is still persistent, but since I spend most of my time at work sitting, it isn't as bad today.

I didn't want to have to take a trip to the emergency room last night, so I figured I'd wait it out and go to a doctor today if necessary. But I hate doctors and I especially hate the idea of going if it's something stupid. I've taken various pain medicines (Tylenol, Excedrin Back and Body) and they don't seem to have any effect. I went to webmd.com and started reading about various things and started feeling kind of hypochondriac about thing.

With the full understanding that YNMD, what would you do in this situation? Take a trip to the doctor's or continue to wait it out? And if you say go to the doctor, can anyone recommend a good doctor/clinic in the Naperville area?
posted by Becko to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Doctor immediately, I would.
posted by tristeza at 9:26 AM on November 27, 2007

Things like appendicitis are not stuff you want to fool with, and can get really serious, really fast, so please - see a doctor or go to the ER/A&E if you cannot find a doctor today.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:30 AM on November 27, 2007

I third the doctoring. A few years ago I had a pain similar to that, I ignored it for several days and I ended up collapsing on the floor of my apartment unable to drive myself to the ER or anywhere. My diagnosis was a severe kidney infection and possible kidney stone (no stone was found, but it might had passed).

The pain was like a blunt, thick knife was in my lower right back, around the bottom of my ribs. At its least it felt like a back ache, and at its worse couldn't take full breaths and I was double over in pain. FWIW, it also really hurt to touch, especially when the doctor pounded on it "do you feel this?"
posted by lizjohn at 10:12 AM on November 27, 2007

Response by poster: lizjohn- did you have any other symptoms of a kidney infection?
posted by Becko at 10:22 AM on November 27, 2007

I don't remember that well. I remember I dismissed the pain because I had been drinking heavily a few nights before and as a young, naive college student, I thought that the pain was part of a hangover. By the time I collapsed, I believe I had a high fever and I felt nauseated. Later, when I was talking to the doctor, I remembered I had a possible urinary tract infection that seemingly cleared up untreated from a week before. That was a foolish move on my part, always get UTIs checked out!
posted by lizjohn at 10:32 AM on November 27, 2007

Sounds like kidneys, appendix, spleen (mono?) really, nothing you want to mess with.

A good rule of thumb for your future reference is that if tylenol doesn't help, you really should go to the doctor.
posted by sondrialiac at 11:10 AM on November 27, 2007

wow, people are assuming a lot of bad things! i assumed you meant "back pain" as opposed to "internal pain on the left side of my body, closer to my back than my front".

so, um, can you clarify the type of pain? have you done any strenuous lifting or bending or twisting lately?

i have back pain, and when it's bad, it's always worse when walking/moving around, sometimes to the point where i can't do either.

but it's just a muscle spasm, not anything else.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:40 PM on November 27, 2007

If it's back pain and you don't have any other symptoms, I'd really assume you twisted a muscle. You may not even know you did it... you could have slept in an awkward position. Get a friend or family member to give you a light massage in the area... that usually helps me if I'm having back pain. If you have no one who can do that, get one of those cheap vibrating back massagers and lean against it (or run a shower massager, or use a heating pad). If you are sitting for a long time in a chair that doesn't have good back support, stick a pillow behind your back. If you spike a fever (actually take your temperature, don't rely on how you feel) or get other symptoms, or if the pain doesn't start to go away in a day or two, then go to the doctor.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:52 PM on November 27, 2007

i would go to the doctor. it might be nothing, but if there's something wrong with your appendix or gall bladder, you'll want to take care of it.

by the way, if you are in the ovulation phase of your menstrual cycle, it could be mittelshmerz. i've had it, and man, it can really, really hurt (tender to the touch and worse when i move around). if you don't have a fever and it miraculously gets better by tomorrow, and the timing is right, that could be the culprit. or it could just be an ovarian cyst popping. i know, yum. neither one of those things is dangerous, but again, worth talking to your doc about.
posted by thinkingwoman at 2:59 PM on November 27, 2007

Response by poster: Follow up:

I went to an immediate care clinic. The initial urine sample showed an infection, they are sending it to a hospital for a culture. Then I'll have a more exact diagnosis.

I've got an antibiotic to take.

Thanks guys.
posted by Becko at 3:06 PM on November 27, 2007

Glad to hear, I 'lived' with back pain for a year, even went to see a chiropractor a few times - pain was worse when I walked/stood, laying down and putting my feet up seemed to help, all the 'classic' indicators. Finally discovered it was a large kidney stone, the hard way. And by large, I mean scary big. The lesson kids is get it checked out, even if it seems 'normal'.
posted by pupdog at 8:05 PM on November 27, 2007

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