There is a kind of pain called “referred pain.” With some organs, a dysfunction can manifest as pain in a different part of the body. A classic symptom of gallbladder attack is pain in the right scapula, or shoulder area. Some symptoms of gallbladder attack can even seem like a heart attack: stomach pain, shortness of breath (due to stomach pain), arm and shoulder pain, back pain, anxiety. These ambiguous symptoms are why some doctors call a gallbladder attack “the great pretender.” This is especially relevant for women, because women tend to experience gallbladder pain more often than men, and because heart attack symptoms for women are varied and almost always differ from the symptoms that men experience.
One classic way to tell if your pain is due to gallbladder dysfunction is intolerance to junk food. Just think of the “F” words: flatulence, fatty foods, floating fecal matter. When your gallbladder is inflamed, it cannot excrete the necessary chemicals your body makes to emulsify fats. Therefore your body cannot absorb fat, and you get rid of the fat you eat through bowel movements. This is why feces floats during a gallbladder dysfunction.
There are a number of medical treatments for cholecystitis, including medication, surgery and the wait-and-see approach. Cholecystitis is often recurring, especially if you have a stressful lifestyle coupled with bad eating habits. If you have a tendency toward gallbladder inflammation, a holistic approach to changing your lifestyle is the best medicine. Cut out fast and fatty food completely — forever. It is not good for you, anyway, but your system is specifically telling you that it cannot handle this stuff. Listen to your body. If you cannot change what it is that’s stressing you out, find ways to combat the stress. Exercise, better nutrition and, yes, even chiropractic adjustments can lower your level of anxiety and put you on the path to health.