Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What causes left upper quadrant pain? I've had this pain off and on for 10 months now."

ZocdocAnswersWhat causes left upper quadrant pain? I've had this pain off and on for 10 months now.


the pain usually starts when I'm at work moving around? and will quickly subside once I sit down.


I recommend that you speak with your primary care doctor. Left upper quadrant abdominal pain could be due to a number of different conditions. The description of your pain being associated with physical movement, worse with walking around, suggests that the pain may be due to a musculoskeletal cause. Physical activity may be stretching out and aggravating some of the muscles in the lower rib cage (intercostal muscles) or the abdominal wall. The fact that the pain has been going on for months may suggest that there is another activity that is perpetuating a muscular strain, such as lifting weights or another form of exercise. The left upper quadrant also contains the stomach and spleen. Diseases of the stomach such as ulcers can cause varying levels of pain, but these are not usually worsened by physical activity. More commonly, ulcer pain is related to the ingestion of food. The spleen can cause left upper quadrant pain as well, and this may be seen in certain conditions that cause the spleen to be enlarged. This can be seen in conditions like liver disease and certain types of anemia where the red blood cells are sequestered in the spleen. Since your discomfort has persisted for so long, you should seek out consultation with your primary care physician. A simple medical history and physical exam may allow for an accurate diagnosis.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.