2. Pain in pancreatic problems blog
  • A common symptom of pancreatic problems is a dull pain in the upper abdomen (belly) and/or middle or upper back that comes and goes.
  • Some patients describe pain starting in the middle abdomen and radiating into the back. Pain can be worse when lying down and can often be relieved by leaning forward.
  • Pancreatic pain can differ from person to person, so be sure to discuss any new pain-related symptoms with your pancreas doctor or a pancreas specialist.
The pancreas is located in the upper part of the abdomen, behind the stomach. Due to its more posterior location, the pain originating from the pancreas is felt more in the back rather than the front.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation & swelling of the pancreas. The pain in acute pancreatitis can be due to one of the following reasons, as per pancreas doctors:
  • Effect of pancreatic enzymes on surrounding tissue. Pancreatic enzymes normally digest the fat, carbohydrates & proteins within the food. In a similar way, they can damage the tissues around the pancreas, which can cause a lot of pain.
  • Damage to nerve endings around the pancreas. Nerves carry pain sensations to the brain.
  • Blockage of the pancreatic duct due to pancreatitis can cause a build-up of pressure within the pancreatic duct.
  • pancreatitis is a condition where fibrosis & stone formation occurs within the pancreas & pancreatic duct. The pain in chronic pancreatitis can be due to one of the following reasons as per the pancreas specialist doctors.
    • Stones in the pancreatic duct. Stones block the pancreatic duct & also stimulate an inflammatory reaction within the pancreas.
    • Narrowing of the pancreatic duct leading to back-pressure changes. Chronic pancreatitis causes strictures(narrowing) within the pancreatic duct. The duct distal to the narrowing gets dilated & pancreatic juice accumulates within the duct.
    • Damage to nerve fibers. Unlike acute pancreatitis which causes nerve damage secondary to inflammation, in chronic pancreatitis, the fibrosis engulfs the nerve endings & causes severe pain.
  • cancer can occur in the head, body, or tail of the pancreas. The pain in pancreatic cancer can be due to one of the following reasons as per the pancreas doctor.
    • Blockage of pancreatic duct
    • Blockage of bile duct
    • Involvement of nerve endings
    • A pancreas doctor will suggest pain management depends upon the cause of the pancreas problem.
     
    • Pain in acute pancreatitis is managed by injectable pain-reducing medicines. Some of the examples are Paracetamol, Tramadol, Diclofenac & Fentanyl.
     
    • Pain in chronic pancreatitis is initially treated with pain medications. Your doctor may suggest you an operation for the relief of the pain. Sometimes a procedure called ‘celiac axis block’ may be suggested by your doctor.
     
    • Pain in pancreatic cancer gets relieved only after the removal of cancer. If the cancer is not removable, your doctor may suggest alternative treatment options such as ‘celiac axis block’.
     
    Read more From Pancreas Foundation & Mayoclinic.
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Dr. Harsh J Shah