Cirrhosis - aches and pains

I've got cirrhosis and have been suffering from continual burning/tingling up my left arm/shoulder and neck. Its only on the left-hand side - is this usual? What could be causing it?

I've also got continual burning/sore sensation/ache under my sternum area (I think this is where the right and left lobes of the liver cross) - does anyone else have this?

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Phil, I have not had them myself, but soon others will respond. Check out the major hospital Liver websitaoes they have excellent descriptions of symptoms and treatments. Dr.Who a regular contributor could be responding soon. God Bless.

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hi phil, the arm thing sounds like might have pinched nerve in shoulder area...you might try deep message to the area and try to pop it ...if you dont feel that could be it then should probly see you're doc about it..... the pain in abdomen area we all get some of i think, what i do is find a comfortable position and take it easy... it usually passes within a few hours , drink as much as possible my friend...just not alcohol ever,never,everneverevernevereverneverEVAR AND NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL !!!!! ......peace jeff

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Dear Phil7569,

First what has caused your cirrhosis? Mine was fatty liver due to diabetes that turned into NASH. Your diagnosis and what level of cirrhosis will help determine what may be causing your discomfort. It may be the liver disease or it may be unrelated issues.

God Bless,

Doctor Who (Patrick)
caringbridge.org/visit/patrickwood

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Most of us with cirrohsis have pain in the right side. The drs. will tell you that it isn't your liver hurting, but something darn sure hurts in there. I have never had the tingling in the arms and the description you are giving sounds more like a heart attack than your liver. You probably need to get to you local ER no matter what the results at least you will know what is causing it. Do you have a regular liver dr? I wish you the best and please keep us posted.

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Thanks for the replies. My cirrhosis was alcohol related - though I've been sober for four years now.

I'm deficient in vitamin D, and even with supplements I don't seem to be able to raise the vit D level.
The pain is a burning/sore pain which occurs everyday but varies in its intensity; I'm sure its not my heart, but wondering if its related to my lack of vit D (bone pain)? The pain under my sternum has been there for 4 years - and nothing shifts it.

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Hello Phil,

First, remember I am not a Doctor nor do I play one on TV.

Your pain in your sternum area could be an enlarged spleen called Hypersplenism, which most of us have to some degree. Or it could be Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (Ascites) and other cause could be Portal Hypertension. These all could be issues that could cause pain in your abdominal area. The pain in your shoulder and neck area could be frozen shoulder, which can occur in people with diabetes. Do you have problems raising your arm or arms up over your head? But, you should really see your Doctor, because this is only speculation on my part. I have included information about the different problems you could have with cirrhosis.

The spleen normally acts as a filter to remove older red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets (small particles that are important for the clotting of blood.). The blood that drains from the spleen joins the blood in the portal vein from the intestines. As the pressure in the portal vein rises in cirrhosis, it increasingly blocks the flow of blood from the spleen. The blood "backs-up" and accumulates in the spleen, and the spleen swells in size, a condition referred to as splenomegaly. Sometimes, the spleen is so swollen that it causes abdominal pain. As the spleen enlarges, it filters out more and more of the blood cells and platelets until their numbers in the blood are reduced. Hypersplenism is the term used to describe this condition, and it is associated with a low red blood cell count (anemia), low white blood cell count (leucopenia), and/or a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). The anemia can cause weakness, the leucopenia can lead to infections, and the thrombocytopenia can impair the clotting of blood and result in prolonged bleeding.

Another problem that could occur is Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, when fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites) is the perfect place for bacteria to grow. Normally, the abdominal cavity contains a very small amount of fluid that is able to resist infection well, and bacteria that enter the abdomen (usually from the intestine) are killed or find their way into the portal vein and to the liver where they are killed. In cirrhosis, the fluid that collects in the abdomen is unable to resist infection normally. In addition, more bacteria find their way from the intestine into the ascites. Therefore, infection within the abdomen and the ascites, referred to as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis or SBP, is likely to occur. SBP is a life- threatening complication. Some patients with SBP have no symptoms, while others have fever, chills, abdominal pain and tenderness, diarrhea, and worsening ascites.

Also you could have bleeding from esophageal varices, when the flow of blood returning to the heart from the intestines and raises the pressure in the portal vein (portal hypertension). When pressure in the portal vein becomes high enough, it causes blood to flow around the liver through veins with lower pressure to reach the heart. The most common veins through which blood bypasses the liver are the veins lining the lower part of the esophagus and the upper part of the stomach. Acid reflux is a problem that occurs with portal hypertension causing pain in the upper chest and down into the stomach area.

Bleeding from varices usually is severe and, without immediate treatment, can be fatal. Symptoms of bleeding from varices include vomiting blood (the vomitus can be red blood mixed with clots or "coffee grounds" in appearance, the latter due to the effect of acid on the blood), passing stool that is black and tarry due to changes in the blood as it passes through the intestine (melena), and orthostatic dizziness or fainting (caused by a drop in blood pressure especially when standing up from a lying position). I have portal hypertension and I had bleeding from the varices and almost died. You can read about my experience at caringbridge.org/visit/patrickwood You can read the last page of the journal page named "Dying to Love Again"

God Bless,

Doctor Who (Patrick)

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