Medical Specialty >> Gastroenterology

Doctors Lounge - Gastroenterology Answers

Back to Gastroenterology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Stabbing pain under rib and under armpit area

 SAFRA41 - Fri Jun 03, 2005 2:24 pm

I have been diagnosed with GERD and a small Hiatal Hernia in 2000. Was put on prilosec and it worked for me for about a year. I have had alot of stress....My mother passed in 2001and work related and family stress. Recently for the past year I have had problems eating with fullness, belching, etc.... Was hospitalized 3 times, for pains under ribs and pain in chest area. All tests run by ER and my Doctors have been negative and healthy as a horse. Endoscopy, Colonoscopy, Small Bowel Series, Gastric Emptying Test, CT scan, All blood work, sonogram for all internal organs, thyroid, chrones, celiac and the list goes on. All of that was in June 2004. Almost exactly 1 year ago. I quit smoking on July 16, 2004. Seems like the more I try to get healthy the more goes haywire!! I am a 45 year old female. In the past 3-5 months, I have pains under my upper left rib and around my back, and the last 3 mornings I woke up pains under my left armpit close to my shoulder. Oh, I forgot to mention I had a nuclear stress test last year for my heart also. Cholesteral is 157, tryglicerides all good, good ldh and good ldl levels, blood pressure textbook perfect. These pains feel like stabbing burning and I do belch alot with some food coming back up in my throat. But after I ate lunch today, I got a sharp painful stabbing pain in the back of my left rib area.
The armpit pain is there all day and is most severe in the morning and less at night. It seems to lessen at times and stronger at others. Now that I took up the whole forum... Any suggestions where to turn next. My doctor has written me off as a hypo and said I need to find a new doctor to work with. I have another endoscopy and colonoscopy scheduled June 6, 2005. I guess I will see what happens there. This is a second opinion doctor too.
Thank you for any suggestions or information.
 Shannon Morgan, CMA - Sat Jun 04, 2005 8:35 am

User avatar You have about every test there can be done to rule out a problem. Did you try another reflux med? There are better, stronger ones now like Protonix and Nexium.

I do agree with your doctor, your pain is more than likely anxiety. Funny thing about that - if stressed enough the body will produce phantom symptoms, since you are already stressed and anxious, it makes the anxiety worse, and the pain also.

Did your doctor give you something for anxiety? I have seen this so much you wouldn't believe it. The best treatment at this point would be an antidepressant and/or something like a very small dose of Xanax. Also, if you drink, STOP. It actually causes any level of depression to be worse after the "good" feeling wears off. Get plenty of sleep - do NOT underestimate the benefit of resting the body and mind for 8 hours. If you don't have time, MAKE time and you will see the benefit, I guarantee. Excercise also does the same thing - you don't have to join a gym! Take 20 minutes every other day and do a very fast walk. Everyone has 20 minutes every day or every other day or we wouldn't have computers and televisions at home!

I hope you will consider these things, but if you try, I will lay odds that you feel much better. :D
 SAFRA41 - Tue Jun 07, 2005 7:44 am

Thank you so much for the information. I tried a few anxiety meds and they made me very sleepy and about worthless. He tried Wellbutrin, Lexapro, and wanted to try Nortriptalen (sp??) I pretty much figured those type of anit depressants aren't for me.

I just had my endoscopy and colonoscopy yesterday June 6. He took a couple more polyps and nodules. But he told me the LES spinchter is open and doesn't close. He took a biopsy around it to check for Barretts. He also put me on Nexium which I hope and pray will work for me. I agree alot on the stress. I do walk about 5 miles a week and have started an excercise program about a week ago. I am hoping this will make me feel better. I really do need to make time to rest as you suggested, I move 7 days a week and a very stressful deadline type job. Thank you again for your reply. I will keep all suggestions in the forefront of my mind.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us