If you haven’t heard of a gall bladder attack, you probably have either a) never had one yourself or b) never known anyone who has had one. Once you experience one yourself, or through a friend, you’ll never forget anything about this small little part of your body that can cause so much havoc when it’s not functioning. Is your gallbladder causing your back pain?
What’s a gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a small pouch that sits just under the liver. The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver.
Bile helps digest fats.
How to know when you need yours out
Above and beyond an upset stomach, a big clue is that you’ll have back pain and rib pain. Not a nagging type of soreness that means you pulled a muscle but a sharp stabbing pain that “you can’t get away from”. They say if you have more than two gallbladder attacks that you should think about getting yours taken out. If you have more than one I’d suggest at least going to the doctor and seeing if they can ultrasound your gallbladder and see if that might be it. (There might be other ways to see if this is what is going on with the back pain, but for me, I had an ultrasound that found gallstones.)
My gallbladder story…
My gallbladder story actually starts in high school when I fell on my back for almost the next 8 years, I had a horrible backache that I had to visit the ER to relieve. Unknown to me, it wasn’t my back giving out on my, but rather, two bladder attacks or so a year for about 7 years before we finally figured out what was going on!
For me, that’s about 14 trips to the ER in pain and major narcotics administered without real need!
My health insurance hospitals trusted my word and gave me what I asked for when I came into the ER in pain and what was working, mostly a needle full of muscle relaxer, did help my gallbladder relax during the attack, but when the back pain went away we always thought it was THAT pain that we were working on.
Finally, one ER visit I told the doctor that my ribs were hurting and he immediately decided to do an ultrasound on my gallbladder and sure enough I had gallstones.
The attack was a gallstone getting stuck in the duct between the gallbladder and the digestive system. Imagine a golfball trying to go through a garden hose…NOT comfortable when it’s your body!
So, that wasn’t the end of the story.
They immediately referred me to sign up for surgery. I would seem that would be the end of it, but not yet. Due to it being considered an elective surgery (aka not life threatening) they had a waiting list to get on and a few months wait until I could get mine removed.
I went home knowing what was going on, but not being able to fix it and sure enough about a month later I had another attack.
In the ER again, I was asked what my pain level was. I try to be an honest person but the future was laid there in front of me. I exaggerated a little knowing that if they sent me home again and I had to go through this in another few weeks, I probably would lose my mind before my gallbladder.
Amazing how things work! 8am the next morning I was booked into the O.R. and by noon I was gallbladder free!
I have three little scars from the cameras they used for the surgery. There is also a bigger one that fits neatly inside my bellybutton where they pulled my gallbladder out.
The pain! Oh the pain!
Having a gallbladder attack according to the O.R. nurse is the most excruciating pain you’ll ever feel. Even childbirth according to her is an easier pain to deal with! After two kids I can say that she was right. The thing about gallbladder pain is that its a constant pain, unlike childbirth where you have contractions that come and go.
Living without a gallbladder
Living without a gallbladder and being pain free is AMAZING! The backaches that I thought I was having haven’t returned. My ER visits now only are for my children when they like to break bones!
Health wise, the only difference between me and any other person now is that sometimes things upset my stomach. I’m happy to make a few more trips to the bathroom than I’d like. Believe me: I’d rather be in the restroom more often than go through that pain again.
I strongly urge you to get your doctor to check your gallbladder if you’ve been having back pain. I would have never known it was that causing my pain. It was by chance that the doctor hadn’t been in the room when I was rubbing my ribs.
Have you had any major surgeries? Are you as quick as to share your surgery story? If you want to share I’d love to hear it!
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