nerve pain across chest after lung we... - The Roy Castle Lu...

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nerve pain across chest after lung wedge resection surgery. Please help!

Puggsy profile image

Nerve pain after thoracic surgery

Had Video assisted thoracic surgery on 9/2720 to remove highly suspicious right lower lobe nodule. Thank goodness came back negative for Cancer. However I have been unable to wear a shirt since. I have nerve pain across my chest. Anything that touches it elicits pain. It has been 6 weeks and is no better. I have been home bound. Taking gabapentin 300mg at bedtime

Any help or thoughts would be appreciated. It’s driving me crazy!!!!

13 Replies

There was a previous post from Mauranne a month ago who said"Wearing a bra is painful because I have a keloid scar from my cats op(I think she meant VATS!). After much research and help from doctors to no avail I have found an easy remedy that other ladies might be interested in. Cut a panty liner in two and stick both pieces over the side of your bra to pad it where it runs the scar. It works a treat!

If your pain does not improve discuss it with your GP who may try an alternative medication. If you would like to speak to one of the helpline nurses please don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 358 7200 (Option2).We are available from 9.00am-5.00pm Monday -Thursday and from 9.00am-4.00pm Friday.

Kind regards,

All the helpline support team.

Thank you for the information.

Best regards

have you asked your surgical team if they've had patients with similar experiences? as most surgery enters through the side/back, the nerve damage is usually around the surgical line rather than across the chest. Chest pain can be caused by several things - so worth checking out it's not something else. I was given amoptryptiline for nerve pain when I had a trapped nerve and had to have surgery after several months and debilitating use of my dominant hand. After my thoracotomy (left upper lobectomy - not keyhole) in Dec 2010 I found myself unable to wear a bra comfortably and visited a lingerie shop where the woman told me to increase the band size (go up a size) and wear a non wired bra, with side support (as the surgery had changed my shape) - this was comfortable as I was back at work 3 months after surgery. I've worn non wired bras ever since.

hope you manage to get some relief soon, Puggsy.

Puggsy profile image
Puggsy in reply to JanetteR57

Hi Janette I did express my concerns to the surgical team. At first it seemed like it was normal healing but when I complained at the 4th week the nurse stated that the surgeon recommended pain management. She stated that it sounded like I had worst case scenario. My pain/hypersensitivity runs from my side where the incisions to the midline of my chest/abdomen. The worst part is I am unable to wear a shirt because anything that touches my skin creates unbearable sensitivity like a gnawing pain. I am a male so I do not wear a bra. If I was female and needed to wear I don’t think it would be at all possible because of the nerve pain. Any suggestions from anyone would be greatly appreciated.


JanetteR57 profile image
JanetteR57 in reply to Puggsy

Oh dear - that's a pity they didn't suggest anything. I realised you were a male but the response from Roy Castle was suggesting something for women with similar pain hence my response about bras. sorry for any confusion. I wonder whether TENS machine might help? they can help other conditions with nerve help for some - and acupuncture also proved to relieve pain in some settings so might be worth considering. It can be awful when nerves develop hypersensitivity you're describing... and pain is very wearing and tiring... stopping sleep and comfort when resting. good luck.

Puggsy profile image
Puggsy in reply to JanetteR57

Thank you for your compassion. I will be meeting with pain management anesthesiologist this Thursday. Hopefully he will have some good ideas rather than just medications. I will bring up your suggestions at my visit.

Hi puppy. I had lower left lobe thoracotomy (open surgery) and I had this level of pain. To be honest it was bad enough onece to put me back in hospital for the night about six weeks post surgery. It felt like something was twisted inside of me. It gradually subsided. I took very strong painkillers for 2 months post surgery and sleeping pill at night as they felt that being pain free would help healing and allow me to walk distances etc for long expansion. By degreees it improved I’m pleased to say, before going, than I was left with a numb sensation in it’s place for over a year which wasn’t unpleasant, just odd. The pain does go. Just use your pain relief regularly so you can actually stAy pain free(ish) and it will improve each week. You are not that long out of surgery. I took the pain relief for two months then occasionally something mild. Still here 4 years later btw, no chemo, no recurrence, touch wood !

Hi, Hope For the best,

Thank you for your help. It’s comforting to hear that with time I should heal. I was trying to stay away from the pain relievers. I was on around the clock Acetaminophen and ibuprofen but I stopped. I am taking 300 mg gabbapentin at night. However I am very uncomfortable and can’t wear a shirt. I am seeing anesthesia pain management Doctor tapa’s for first time. I am not sure what to expect.

Thanks again

Dariada profile image
Dariada in reply to Puggsy

My terrible nerve pain was managed with Gabapentinen. If you haven't been given that perhaps you could ask to try it. It definitely was a help.

Puggsy profile image
Puggsy in reply to Dariada

Hi Dariada

I am taking 300mg at night. What dosages and how often are you taking the gabbapentin?

Thank you

Dariada profile image
Dariada in reply to Puggsy

I was prescribed two 100 mg 3x per day. A google search informed me that’s a low dose. If that’s true then you are on a REALLY low dose. Ask your dr if you can increase it.

There is nothing ennobling about pain and you have been through enough. To be honest, the iboprufin part of my pain management I was told was just to “provide a base”. O think, as others suggest, you’re on a dose that is too low for YOU. It’s a very individual thing. My consultant (surgeon) co stsny tweaked the medication until I hit a pain free zone. He also added in Verstatin (I think they were called) patches that you simply stick on the area of pain. They helped a bit. I was on iboprfin, dickofenic, and OxyContin .plus Oxynorm fir breakthrough pain. The OxyContin was dropped (because it’s addictive) for oxynorm (shortec) alongside the patches, diclophenuc inboprufin and paracetamol. It’s possibke this isn’t actually “only” nerve pain explaining why your current meds are not working for you. There can be a lot of trauma to the ribs and muscles during this op - I feel that it was this that actually caused me most of my pain (not only nerve pain ). Be kind to yoursel, do virtually nothing apart from walking and take enough meds to allow you to walk as the first six months will, I was told, be what determines you future capacity in that lung. X

Thank you

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