Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide

Right upper side discomfort

Some people may feel a dull ache on their right side, just below the rib cage. In fewer cases, an ache or pain may travel up to the right shoulder, or be experienced as a sharp stabbing feeling.

Cause

Right upper side discomfort can be a symptom of hepatitis C. It is believed to be due to swelling of the liver, causing the thick membrane surrounding the liver to stretch. However, in most people, right upper side discomfort is from muscle spasm.

Treatment

  • Ask your doctor how best to manage the pain. You may be prescribed pain medication or, if it is available in your community, you may be referred to a pain clinic where pain specialists will teach you a variety of ways to cope with the discomfort.

Tips

Try a pain management technique at home. Methods to help you relax, such as guided imagery and visualization, can also give you an immediate, if temporary, pause from pain.

Biofeedback is an approach to pain management in which you are given immediate information (feedback) about bodily processes, such as heart rate, that are usually beyond your conscious mind. Over time, you learn to consciously control or regulate conditions like high blood pressure or muscle tension that may be contributing factors to your heightened sensation of pain.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese system of healing in which pain is relieved by thin metal needles inserted into selected points beneath the skin. Be absolutely sure that the acupuncturist uses sterilized needles and handles them in a safe way.

Massage therapy from a registered massage therapist or a shiatsu massage therapist involves the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body (or, in the case of shiatsu, acupressure points on the surface of the skin) with the hands. Massage improves blood circulation and muscle tone and reduces muscle spasm that may be a contributing factor to pain. Other healing traditions that use therapeutic touch include chiropractic, osteopathy, reflexology and reiki.