Oesophageal Patients Association
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pain in mid back

My husband had his esophagus removed In January/2014 ....for quite sometime now he has been experiencing back pain...it's in the centre of his back around his rib cage area...it's mostly when he stands for short periods of time...20 minutes or so...he has to go and sit on the lazy boy to relieve his pain....he also has Rheumatoid Arthritis so i'm not sure what is causing this...he never had this pain until after he had his esophagus removed due to High Dysplasia Barret's Esophagus...HELP..has anyone one else had this happen???

8 Replies

I had mine removed for exactly the same reasons in Jan 2014. I have similar pains in my back and other areas, especially if I have been standing for some time. i think it is all part of the healing process, I was told it would be at least a year before I start to feel normal again, although i sense things are beginning to improve. I don't think your husband's problem is anything out of the ordinary, Our bodies have been subjected to enormous trauma. Time and Paracetamol are great healers.

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First of all, he will get aches and pains as the natural result of what he has been through. Sometimes the nerve system transfers pain to somewhere else from where the problem is, but it does not mean that the cancer is coming back.

Has the arthritis situation changed?

It might be a good idea to try a physiotherapist after a quick check with the GP?


he didn't have cancer , he had high grade dysplasia , his arthritis has improved but he's on a lot of different meds...his eating has still not improved , he's lost a lot of weight...over all he seems to have improved but i can tell he's worried about his back...it started on one side of his back but now it's right across the back , i told him to go see the doctor and have it checked..it is a worry cause he has been through so much since January 2014


I do beg your pardon - it was caught before cancer developed, wasn't it! My fault.

I think people do often have seemingly unrelated aches and pains after surgery. Sometimes this is to do with nerves being shifted around or cut. Having been through so much the doctors will be expecting him to have this checked out; it is not worth suffering unnecessarily with it.


Alan is right on unrelated aches and pains that follow this operation but I wonder if the rheumatoid arthritis has been aggravated by the trauma of all the recent events, perhaps only time will tell. Nothing is predictable on this journey. sally


Hi Cobaltgal. I had my oesophagus removed in May 2013 and I get these mid back pains quite often , just below my right shoulder blade , usually after eating but sometimes when I am carrying stuff around (like a heavy camera) and walking. Mine feel like muscle aches more than traditional back pain ; more like the pain you get from using unused muscles. I've been told that if it occurs after eating it might just be the stomach pushing on muscles which aren't usually subject to pushing


Where is your husband's scar?

If it runs from upper left down across the back to under his right armpit then he has had the standard procedure for eosophagectomy which is a posterolateral thoracotomy.

This in itself is a major undertaking involving cutting many muscles prising apart of the ribs and strain damage to the junction with the sternum at one end and possibly with the spine at the other end .

Obviously this takes a long time to settle down and recover.

I am 23 years post op and still suffer considerable discomfort,particularly if I have slept leaning to the right.

I think we just have to accept that this is part of the price we pay for having our lives saved.

And yes it is quite disconcerting trying to gauge whether this pain is the new 'normal' or is a warning that something has gone wrong.


I also have had an eosophagectomy in April of 2013 and have had pain in the middle of my back whenever i stand for even a short length of time (even brushing my teeth). I started physical therapy a few weeks ago. One of the exercises is pulling a rubber band back to my waist 15 times twice a day. It is returning the strength to my arms and back and has reduced the pain in my back noticeably. I hope this helps because i know how debilitating that pain can be and the only relief is to lie down.


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