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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Constant "ribcage" Pain
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16 posts in this topic

I have had unrelenting "ribcage" pain for months and during that time I have not been able to sneeze or take deep breaths. There is too much pain that any attempt to sneeze or take a deep breath is immediately halted. I have pain in both the front and back of my ribcage. Nothing seems to get better despite dietary and physical activity changes. I have stopped going to the doctors due to their incompentence/ignorance and lack of empathy. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions please reply. Thanks.

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where is it located upper part, middle, lower?

When my GERD would get really, really bad (back when it was out of control), i dealt with the frontal pain. It would hurt so much to take a breath that i would end up hyperventilating and spiral into a panic attack.

I would suggest, at the moment, to find a new doctor and demand an xray of your chest. Trust us, we know the crud that doctors can put us through (an example is that before i was dx'd with celiac, i was told to stop acting like a child and grow up and deal with it. yeah.... <_< )

Another thought it might be the muscles surrounding them may be strained.

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Is your pain on one side? Could you have a rib out of place? I used to have one pop out every now and then. The pain is on one side and follows the rib front to back. A good chiropractor can set it back fairly painlessly with the activator method ( spring loaded clicker) . I've had them jammed "in" and "out" at different times from injury. I however always knew when they were out and could not sleep on that side.

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I second gfreejz. I had an injury a few years ago that caused excruciating pain. It took a month before my I went to the chiropractor and found out I popped my rib out of place. When it bothers me I can't take deep breaths either, and sneezing can get incredibly painful. Be prepared if you do go to the chiropractor, which I recommend. It can take multiple visits to get it back in place and staying there on its own. Each time I have to go it can take 8-12 visits. Mine has popped back out a few times. Sometimes I can feel it when it moves out again. Others, it moves out of place slowly unbeknownst to me until the pain starts. For me, sometimes the pain follows the rib all the way around. Other times it either is like a giant spear is goine through my back and out my chest, or it is only in the front or the back. Anything could be causing your pain. If you can tell that it is on only one side (left or right, but sometimes that can be indistinguishable) then I think a trip to the chiropractor is worth it. Especially since most doctors are so willing to throw medications at you instead of looking for the root cause. I hope you are able to fix it, whatever the cause may be.

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I would go see an osteopathic doctor as they are the same as an MD one, but have extra training to fix stuff like that!

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Thanks for the quick replys everyone. Unfortunately it's not just one rib or one side. It is my entire ribcage, front and back included. I try stretching, which is also painful, but that doesn't seem to help either. I've been on a gluten free diet for some time now and lately things seem to only be getting worse.

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It sounds like inflammation of the connective tissue of the ribcage, aka costochondritis, which can go along with certain forms of auto immune diseases and arthritis. I have had this really badly in the past, and oddly enough, less badly after getting kicked squarely in the chest years ago by a rather ornery young horse (it didn't kill me, but for about a minute I wasn't sure if that was going to be the outcome. I think it loosened up some scar tissue. B) "Children, don't do this at home or in the corral !" :blink: (and yes, like a movie hero, I was rescued by another horse who bit the culprit !

This flares up in me when I get too adventuresome with my gluten free diet, or sometimes, it just flares just for the heck of it during transitional season times, like late autumn. <_< I have had to work like a dog with range of motion exercising to keep this from stiffening myself up further, it's part of the arthritis (which I supposedly do not have, according to the dumbest rheumatologist I've seen,) but it goes along exactly with what I was diagnosed with decades earlier.

It being Thanksgiving, I, of course, have strayed slightly off my usual fruit- vegetable- meat-nuts blah blah- blah routine, and while I'm not glutened because the symptoms are a bit different, I do have a few body parts that are flaring, (let's eat dessert again! let's eat some processed food! :rolleyes: ) and my body has selected my ribcage to stiffen up this weekend.

It will go away when I get tired of it, and go back to the fruit- vegetable routine and stop pretending that I am not in my later 50s and can exercise like a 20 year old in cooler, damp weather.

You may have to refine your gluten free diet to avoid more highly processed foods to avoid this, until you can figure out which ingredient(s) are setting it off.

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Thanks for the info Takala. Although I have been sticking to the gluten free diet I admittedly haven't cut out all processed foods. Though the processed foods I consume don't contain gluten I know they could cause some of my symptoms. The difficulty for me in consuming only whole foods lies with cost. I don't make a lot of money and it's tough to stay "healthy" on a limited income. I still eat certain cereals (corn or rice based) and canned foods. I also think you may be on to something with the weather change. As it has gotten colder I feel I have gotten stiffer and more sore. Maybe that's the cost of getting older. At any rate, I really would like to feel my age again (31).

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Thanks for the info Takala. Although I have been sticking to the gluten free diet I admittedly haven't cut out all processed foods. Though the processed foods I consume don't contain gluten I know they could cause some of my symptoms. The difficulty for me in consuming only whole foods lies with cost. I don't make a lot of money and it's tough to stay "healthy" on a limited income. I still eat certain cereals (corn or rice based) and canned foods. I also think you may be on to something with the weather change. As it has gotten colder I feel I have gotten stiffer and more sore. Maybe that's the cost of getting older. At any rate, I really would like to feel my age again (31).

Which corn or rice based cereals? Many mainstream cornflakes, etc have barley malt in them

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If I do purchase cereal its of the Chex brand and I am not aware of anthing containing gluten in their "gluten free" cereals. On an another note I have started reading on the effects of BHT which seems to be in some of these cereals. There's so much poison in the food we eat today.

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whole foods are cheaper than processed ones. You just gotta do a whole lot more cookin' then you are used too.

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I had to break the processed cereals habit, altho I was sort of entranced with some of them when they first came out, and went thru several boxes of them. The only "cereal" type thing I eat now is a plain Lundberg brown rice cake. Otherwise, it is plain cooked rice, to which many different things can be added, oil, butter, garlic, nuts, raisins, pumpkin puree, etc. The other thing that can be altered is what is going on the cereals. You still may be in the dairy- sensitive phase, where lactose is not agreeing with you, and have to switch to either diluted yogurt or a nut or rice or hemp milk. I gave up on the boxed nut milks a few years ago pretty much, (the sugars...), use unsweetened canned coconut milk in coffee, and went with fruit and nuts and a protein (such as a hard boiled egg or hard cheese, or even some leftover cooked fish, for example) for breakfast, to try to cut further back on sugars and carbs, which works much better for my metabolism. I also will do a fruit and vegetable smoothie sometimes, or eggs and cooked vegetables, or a homemade fresh soft corn tortilla* and some black beans.

*take ear of fresh sweet corn, shuck the peel, slice off the kernels, blend to process in bullet to make "corn juice," add enough of alternate gluten free flour such as tapioca, buckwheat, almond meal, or amaranth to make a thick batter, add some chia seed if you want, add salt, fry in pan with olive oil. Makes about 2 to 3 soft tortilla corn cakes. Solves the corn cross contamination problem.

With the canned foods, look for the ones with the absolute minimal amount of ingredients. Also, if you are oat- sensitive, you may want to use only certain brands of gluten free flour items.

Fine tuning the diet seems to make no sense sometimes, until you discover what sort of combination of foods works for your own body.

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Hi Solarpower,

I can't say I had the same kind of pain that you have (it sounds really awful) but I did suffer for quite some time with a nagging stabbing pain in my ribcage. I actually kept becoming paranoid that I was having some kind of heart problem because I would get so short of breath and tightness/pain in my chest. I went back to my doctor several times and she kept telling me that I had swelling between my ribs and to just take a pain reliever. This never worked for me. I finally changed doctors (way over due) and my new doctor suggested that I try prilosec for a couple of weeks in case the pain was from acid reflux. Within a couple of days I felt completely better! Of course it has now taken me many months of gradually removing artificial sweeteners and as many chemicals as possible and eliminating dairy (as well as adding many more fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts to my diet) before I finally find myself without needing the medication to control the reflux. That said, now that it is no longer a problem all of those changes are SO worth it. If you haven't tried it already I would recommend trying out an acid reducer to see if this is the root of your problem. If it does nothing then you have ruled it out. If this is the issue it will be so worth the try to fix it as acid reflux can cause many long term health problems that are quite nasty. I was quite surprised that this pain was acid reflux but I have been told that the sensation can be very much this way and doesn't always feel the way you would expect. Good luck! I hope you can figure it out soon so you won't be in so much pain!

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I have had unrelenting "ribcage" pain for months and during that time I have not been able to sneeze or take deep breaths. There is too much pain that any attempt to sneeze or take a deep breath is immediately halted. I have pain in both the front and back of my ribcage. Nothing seems to get better despite dietary and physical activity changes. I have stopped going to the doctors due to their incompentence/ignorance and lack of empathy. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions please reply. Thanks.

I used to get severe pain and didn't know where it was coming from but that was before i was detoxed and gluten-free. Have you been through a detox dietary program? I know that when I eat a "safe" gluten-free that ends up not being gluten-free I get severe pain and it starts in the abdomen rib cage area and moves up into shooting pain in my left shoulder. I've been in the ER two separate times and they are CLUELESS!

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Hello solarpower,

Welcome to the forum.

I"m just curious, does your pain feel like it"s under the 2 lower ribs, both sides front an back?

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Pleurisy is a possibility. It happens to be associated with auto-immune diseases.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002347/

Also, there is a type of hernia that can present that way. (It does not need surgical intervention, just an experienced doctor with the guts to push it back in place for you.)

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    • Gluten ataxia...?
      I was explaining that some people have other trouble that is immune related and caused by eating gluten, but doesn't effect the gut in a noticeable way. According to the paper that I quoted there are some people which have different types of brain problems but don't have inflammation when tested by a biopsy.  The author used the term "non-Celiac gluten sensitivity" to refer to anyone who has any brain trouble that can be traced to gluten but without obvious gut inflammation.  There are a lot of different possible ways gluten can effect the brain some may not be related to the gut.  It could still be an immune system problem.  Normally "non-Celiac gluten sensitivity" refers to just a food intolerance.  Withdrawal symptoms are not normal and could be indicative of an immune system response of some sort, but I don't know for sure.        
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie I've put the above in quotes as you have described in the first and second sentence how I felt six months prior to my DX.   In my own case, in the end I concluded it was anxiety after consulting Dr Google!  It was such an alien feeling to me, I couldn't even think what it was, particularly as life was pretty good at the time.  Anxiety is a problem for a lot of celiacs prior to diagnosis, and often after glutening after going gluten-free. You mention breathlessness, this of course can be for reasons such as anaemia (again a common celiac problem, I had this prior to DX) but of course also can arise if you are anxious.   Re 'gluten free' - Flowerqueen is right, from what I have read on this forum some people really do seem to react with less than 20ppm.    But perhaps some other things to consider...  could there be something wrong with the batch you have consumed?  Might it be worth contacting the manufacturers?   That said, you could , as Flowerqueen suggests, have a problem with another ingredient, in the product or something else you consumed. In the past I have had a terrible reaction - fever, trembling, diarrhea, stomach cramps that lasted up to three hours the last three times I ate..... broccoli, of all things.    Who would have thought that possible?  I have often thought I should try it again, just to be sure it was the broccoli, as it is a 'super food' that I ought to have in my diet, that I like very much, but the thought of having such a reaction again has put me off. I do hope you will find some answers soon.  
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie,  I've not heard of this drink before, as I live in the UK, but any drink made from barley is something you should avoid.  There's a brand in the UK that makes lemon and barley water and orange and barley water and Coeliac UK say it is not safe for people with Coeliac disease.  (Our labelling laws in the UK changed a couple of years ago).  You say the drink you had was under 20 ppm, which is acceptable (usually) for coeliacs, but a lot of people are super-sensitive to gluten even in very small amounts.  I recently had a similar problem with something which was supposed to be okay for coeliacs, but when I checked the website of the product, for all it said there were no gluten containing ingredients, it was produced in an area where gluten was present, which was enough to put me off and must admit, the symptoms you describe sound very much like I experienced at the time.  (Personally I'd be avoiding that particular drink like the plague from now on). One other thing though,  have you checked the ingredients to see if there could be anything else in it which you may be intolerant to? 
    • Confused
      I have not. I'll talk to my doctor about it
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