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Neck and Shoulder pain

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  • Neck and Shoulder pain

    Today I am 4 weeks post op getting a mechanical aortic valve and graft. Everything was going wonderful and yesterday I started getting pain in my neck and left shoulder blade. I had to take Percocet to sleep and once again in the morning. I had stopped taking them 10 days ago and was doing fine. I was at my office today and the medication wore off. My staff insisted I go to Dr. I called in to my GP and got an appointment with a PA immediately. 2 hours later I had blood work, EKG and chest x-ray. Everything appeared to be normal. I was told it was either muscular or some irritation to lining of diaphragm or something like that. I got a Percocet refill and was told to do stretching exercises and put heat on it. I have read on the posts before about shoulder and neck pain and mysterious pains that surface weeks after surgery. Can anyone share similar experiences?
    Richard Smeltz, Diagnosed with BAV 12/05
    1/11/12 got a 31mm SJM Masters with Graft
    Dr. Russell Carter, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville PA

  • #2
    In fact a very common issue as a result of the rib spreaders used to put your upper body in an unnatural position .....given time and some exercise (read stretching) this too will pass as your body forgives the indignities it has undergone
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Greg a View Post
      In fact a very common issue as a result of the rib spreaders used to put your upper body in an unnatural position .....given time and some exercise (read stretching) this too will pass as your body forgives the indignities it has undergone
      Thanks Greg. Feeling is that of a pulled muscle, that when I move a certain way it jabs me. Could have done something the other day when I was drilling a hole and driving a screw in with my cordless drill. It was an odd position and I had to exert some force to get the hole drilled. I See the surgeon today for my post surgery follow up.
      Richard Smeltz, Diagnosed with BAV 12/05
      1/11/12 got a 31mm SJM Masters with Graft
      Dr. Russell Carter, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville PA

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      • #4
        Hi Rick, I had really rotten neck and upper back pain for weeks after my op. It was the first thing I noticed when I woke up in ICU. It was very hard to manage as the heavy pain killers just knocked me out and made me too tired to walk etc. I was surprised at just how bad it was (in comparison my sternum was nothing!). In the first couple of months I had lots of physio and massage and it eventually settled. The more I moved the better it got.
        Good luck - hope yours improves quickly.
        Successful Ross Procedure on Feb 22, 2011 at Epworth Private Hospital, Melbourne - surgeon Peter Skillington
        Congenital bicuspid aortic valve/ 1972 - PDA/1979 - Coarctation aorta repair

        I made it! :biggrin2:

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        • #5
          Rick,

          I'm just coming up to my first anniversary, and I still occasionally have neck or shoulder pain. I've concluded that it will either go away or it won't. At least I'm lucky enough that the pain is relatively minor. It hurts to turn around to back up the car, but most of the time it is dormant. I just deal with it and eventually it goes away for a while.

          Much worse things could plague me. . .
          Go Class of 2011!

          Steve Epstein
          9 Years in The Waiting Room, then on February 28, 2011,
          AVR with 23mm Edwards Bovine Pericardial Tissue Valve, Model 3300TFX, Pacemaker - Boston Scientific Altrua 60 DDDR IS-1 and CABG (LIMA-LAD) at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago by Dr. Patrick McCarthy and the most wonderful team of professionals I could ask for.

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          • #6
            Richard, at four weeks post-op you are still in the early stage of recovery. Sometimes even minor strains can produce significant discomfort. Near the end of my first month, I made a pot of soup. By then I was being more careful after a couple of instances when I lifted more than I should have. I didn't think anything about chopping vegetables. What I realized later was the repetitive motion over half an hour was enough to leave my chest and neck muscles sore for several days. We start feeling better and then under estimate what our recovering muscles are able to do.

            When I started Cardiac Rehab in my sixth week, one of the things they stressed was the need to avoid distressing the upper body by doing too much too soon. Fortunately, these muscles do heal, especially, with a calibrated gradual increase in exercise. They just don't like sudden bursts of activity.

            Larry
            AVR 22 SEP 09
            Carpentier-Edwards Bovine Pericardial "Magna" with Sternal Talons
            Oklahoma Heart Institute, Tulsa, OK

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            • #7
              It does take a long time for that pain to go away. Like Allisoninoz, I was shocked by the amount of pain in my shoulder in the ICU, which was much more intense than the pain in my chest. I was cleared to drive to work at four weeks, but there were moments where I did something to remind myself that I was still in recovery. The frequency of the sharp pains faded over time, I felt better at two months than I did at four weeks, better still at six months and a year. I've past a year and a half now, but will still have moments when I do something and let out a "whoa". I just look at that as a minor annoyance, since the alternative would have been much worse.
              MV repair (mini sternotomy) , June 2, 2010, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Dr. Shekar.
              Focusing on the positives that will result from the surgery can help reduce the stress from the days leading up to the surgery and help you get over any bumps in the road.

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              • #8
                A couple years ago we did a thread about stupid things we each did a few weeks after surgery that gave us really bad aches - trying too much too soon. It does sound like maybe you did one of those.
                The shoulder and neck are quite cranky for 2-3 months after OHS!
                Laurie
                MVR & maze & pacemaker-2006
                ICD-2007;
                AVR & tricuspid repair w/ ring 8/11/2010
                home testing since 2006

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                • #9
                  The day I came home from the hospital I awoke from a nap with sharp shoulder pain. I had to carefully stretch it and take my pain meds to soften the pain. My doctor sent me to physical therapy and it slowly took care of the pain and now, almost four months out, I feel fine.

                  Dan
                  On-X 25mm Aortic Valve, October 2011, Pacemaker implanated and sternum wires removed July, 2012. Home INR testing since July, 2012. Proud member of the Class of 2011.

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                  • #10
                    Along with what Greg mentioned we also carry our bodys awkwardly from the pain for awhile after surgery. I went to a Chiropractor a couple weeks back and it was amazing how much better I was after just one treatment. A deep tissue massage worked wonders for me as well. My shoulder pain was reduced by just having my neck popped but still have some pain in left shoulder.
                    Aortic Valve replaced with on-x mechanical valve, also artery by-pass performed on Nov 3 2011 at Tacoma General Hospital

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