Some posts I dedicate to diseases of the body that give pain in the back. Many times it may seem surprising but a disease in our viscera can give an irradiated pain to the back. Someone can say that “I think it’s the back because if they touch me there it hurts”. The approach is good and may be right or wrong. The pains radiated to the back end up producing contractures in the back and there comes a time when we have added pain for this reason and it is not removed so easily. Today I will talk about the stones in the gallbladder.
The gallbladder is an organ that we have under the liver and that helps us with the digestion of fats. It has a deflated balloon shape (birthday party for us to understand). It is filled with liquid and inside you can form stones (also called stones).
What can happen to me if I have stones in the gallbladder?
This question is asked by the patient who has an abdominal ultrasound and find stones in the gallbladder. Many people have stones in the gallbladder and do not have any symptoms. In fact it is very frequent, what happens is that many do not know because they are well and have not gone to the doctor.
Within what can happen to us, the most frequent thing is the bile colic. This is called the symptoms of stones when there are no complications. The most frequent is to notice a constant pain in the area of the liver (in the anterior part of the abdomen in the zone of the right where the ribs end). Pain may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sweating. The pain typically lasts a few hours.
This biliary colic occurs because the gallbladder is contracting and pushing stones against the outlet conduit and increasing pressure inside the gallbladder. Fat-rich foods can stimulate the contraction of the gallbladder and reproduce the symptoms.
So far we have not talked about the relationship with the back. Well, sometimes biliary colic occurs as a pain below the sternum that radiates to the back, often to the right shoulder. Also in some people it is accompanied by symptoms of bad digestions with regurgitation and burning sensation in the chest. This is very similar to the symptoms we see in gastroesophageal reflux.
In a blog comment I was asked by a reader who had reflux, who had been detected by stones in the gallbladder and who recommended it to operate. Are the symptoms of reflux due to stones? When the symptoms are typical we have described before, there is little doubt. However when the only symptoms are burning in the chest and back pain the thing gets complicated. It is possible to have stones in the gallbladder that are not giving symptoms and that we have digestive problems added as gastroesophageal reflux. These other possibilities must always be valued because they are more frequent.
Apart from the symptoms caused by biliary colic, by having stones in the gallbladder we are at risk of suffering a series of complications:
– When inflammation of the gallbladder occurs, we have what is called cholecystitis.
– If there is an infection of the bile duct we will have what is called cholangitis and we will get very ill with fever, pain in the gut, we can notice yellow, etc. Sufficient reasons to go to the emergency department quickly.
– The stone can leave the gallbladder, lower down and obstruct the way out of the pancreas causing an affection that we call pancreatitis.
In short, in this post I wanted to highlight once again how the back pain can come from affectations of other parts of the body. Stones in the gallbladder can be a cause of back pain although it is not the usual symptom we will have during a biliary colic.