Shoulder pain after heart bypass - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Shoulder pain after heart bypass


I am 10 weeks post op for a triple bypass and have been experiencing pain and a burning sensation at the top of my shoulders for just over a week. My rehab nurse says its probably posture but I am not so sure as it has only just started. Has anyone else experienced this? Thanks in advance and also for the great work and support BHF and others are on this forum.

5 Replies


Yes a lot of folk on this forum complain of shoulder pain. For me it did not happen in the first weeks either. ( I had a valve replacement) it was also given exercises at cardiac rehab but to be honest they did not really help.

The shoulder pain appears to happen because the length of being in one position during the surgery. Also having a chest wound means that there is a real tendancy to become both tense and hunched to protect the wound.

I waited too long before asking for physio but once there I ended up having some massage, manipulation and exercises which fixed the problem. I had always had good posture so it was a real shock to be told I had bad posture, it's fixed now. My advice is ask for physio sooner rather than later. You might find apply heat or gold helpful. Pain relieving gels are also useful. (NB . Not ibrufen gel if you are on warfarin )

wiltsgirl in reply to Mary_Janet

Thanks Mary Janet, this is really useful. Did you go to your GP for a referral to the physio?

Mary_Janet in reply to wiltsgirl

Yes I did , my gp was very happy to refer me to physio but in view of the wait I ended up going privately which for me was money well spent. Best wishes, Mary

I too had shoulder pain. It didn't get better and I had to stop my cardiac rehab. Eventually my gp sent me for an x-ray. The x-ray technician was very dismissive and said just a rib fracture they don't do anything.

It did eventually get better but it took over eight weeks.

I had this pain post triple, had physio via gp, but I also had pluerisy at the same time. Having a massage will help, but get gp to refer you.

Hope this helps

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