Shoulder pain and CABG: Hi Everyone... - British Heart Fou...

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Shoulder pain and CABG

invictaAlec profile image

Hi Everyone,

This is odd - for the last 3 or 4 weeks I'm getting a nasty pain in my shoulder from time to time.

To explain fully, I had my CABGx3 in June of 2018. Some of the early posts I read on joining this forum back then from people having the same surgery complained of shoulder pain post op. It was suggested by a couple of knowledgeable respondents that during the operation the body can be shoved into some extreme positions to aid the surgery. Sounded quite a plausible explanation to me.

I'm now getting a sickening pain from time time if I put my right arm in the "wrong" position. Hard to explain but often it will occur if I reach down for something in a low kitchen cupboard for example. This is not a twinge but a pretty strong pain almost akin to the feeling of a broken bone. It'll take a good ten seconds or so for the pain to subside.

Any ideas folks? Surely its too long ago for the surgery to be the culprit?


9 Replies
MichaelJH profile image
MichaelJHHeart Star

I was getting some nasty pains in my right shoulder pre bypass which turned out to be a trapped nerve. A friend had increasingly severe shoulder pain a few years ago which turned out to be a "spur" of bone (a problem more often associated with the ankle). It was solved by a fairly simple operation. However, recovery took a while as it is a complex joint. As there are so many potential causes you need to see your GP. It does not sound heart related!

Thanks for your comments Michael. I'll certainly be going soon if this persists.



I had my bypass 3 and a half years ago I can still feel movement in my sternum I didnt have shoulder pain although I have spondylitis anyway bit when I came out of the operation I couldn't move a muscle everything i did I needed assistance even turning in bed. I have a trapped nerve between my shoulder so it could be something like that.

invictaAlec profile image
invictaAlec in reply to goldie22

Thanks Goldie22. I still can't sleep on my right side more than six months later.


I experienced severe shoulder pain about 6 months after my triple bypass last January. The physiotherapist at cardiac rehab gave me stretches to do daily, and this has helped a lot. I also find heat on the shoulders eases the pain so, I do the stretches under a hot shower. Hope this helps.

David, that's most interesting. Logically it seems too long ago for the surgery to be the reason but your case mirrors mine. I finished my rehab classes several weeks back, but they take place only a couple of minutes walk from my home. I'll pop in tomorrow and have a word with the physio.


I had CABG in July and continue to get severe shoulder pain which is muscular and related to my sternum and thoracic spine. Intermittent but can occur when sitting or moving in a different position. Awaiting an MRI to see if they offer me a solution. We will see.....

Hi Billyjean,

Yes I've read of a number of people who had shoulder pain post op. Sorry to hear yours is continuing.

What puzzles me is mine has popped up months after! Maybe it has nothing to do with my surgery. I'm going to check with a physio. I'm interested to see how you get on with your MRI. Keep us posted if you would.


Sure no problem although waiting for my appointment. Mine started about 3 months post op. Physio has been reluctant to treat me until MRI completed. They suggested acupuncture may help. Annoying not to be able to take anti inflammatories long term to relieve pain.

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