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Back, Shoulder, and Neck Pain After Surgery

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  • Back, Shoulder, and Neck Pain After Surgery

    Hello everyone!

    I haven't been in touch this year. In case some of you don't remember me, my mother Lillian successfully underwent heart valve surgery last September. She had her mitral valve repaired and her aortic valve replaced. One of the long-term problems she's had since surgery is lower back pain. It started after surgery and has never left her. The pain now seems to be in the shoulder and neck as well. It starts late in the afternoon.

    I was wondering any anyone has experienced lingering back, shoulder, or neck pain months after the surgery?

    Thanks

    Crystal

  • #2
    I had pain in my neck after surgery, but I ascribed it to trying so hard to sleep sitting up, reclining, any way but flat on my back (which hurt) or flat on my stomach (which hurt worse). I used the standard Bengay remedy, which took forever to work. But that was in the first month or two after surgery.
    Jim
    Imlay City, Michigan
    AVR 11-9-01, St. Jude valve
    DOB 5-18-55

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    • #3
      I have had ongoing pain in my left shoulder and arm, and a tingling in the fingers of my left hand. Had the surgery February 27th and the problem developed shortly after. I was told it is common for a nerve to be pinched during surgery and that it would go away in about 6 weeks. Although it has lessened it is still with me. At one point the pain was intense enough to require pain killers and I took T3's, but not now. I have tried massage therapy which has helped.

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      • #4
        Crystal - It's great to hear from you again. I hope Lillian is doing well, since I wondered what happened to her. I'm afraid all my considerable shoulder pain was gone about six weeks after surgery. I guess that is good news for me, but not very helpful to you. Hope someone answers your questtion, I just wanted to say hi.

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        • #5
          I had mitral valve repair the first week of February and am still experiencing ongoing upper back and shoulder pain. It was extremely intense the first few months after surgery, subsided for about a month at about the three month mark but seems to be back again these last two weeks. I tried massage and chiropractic treatment but the only thing that seemed to really help was to try and do stretching exercises that lengthen the pectoral muscles at the front of the chest e.g.. do a push-up type move in the corner of a wall. Stand facing the wall and place hands on the opposing walls at about shoulder height and slightly forward of your shoulders. Gradually ease yourself forward so your chest moves toward the corner. This will result in a slight stretching movement of the upper pectoral muscles and you will feel some pulling in the sternum area. Do it gently and hold the stretched position for about 10-15 seconds. Relax and repeat.

          Another one: Hold the ends of a bathtowel in your two hands behind your butt, with your hands about hip distance apart. Gently lift your hands upward behind your lower back, being careful to keep your posture upright. Hold that stretched position for 10-15 seconds, then relax.

          Also, try lying on your back with a small rolled towel or pillow lengthwise up and down in the center of your back between the shoulder blades so that the "hump" created in the middle of your back stretches your center back upward thus causing your shoulders to drop back and again stretch those front pectoral muscles at the front of the shoulders. Others have recommended certain foam "rolls" beneath the back for this same purpose.

          Guard against any hunched shoulder postures which tend to become second nature after heart surgery but aggravate the shortening of the muscles in front of the chest and put stress on the upper back and shoulder muscles. Keep reminding yourself to drop your shoulders and push them back.

          Hopefully this eventually goes away with time.

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