Oesophageal Patients Association
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Muscular pains

I've had a lot of pain around my neck, arm and shoulder area. At first it was only on one side and was put down to a frozen shoulder. I had some physio which helped at the time but since then it has spread to both sides and is really painful. My GP thinks it may be poly myalgia and has arranged some blood tests. I spent a lot of time in hospital and was in intensive care for 4 weeks. I had a lot of muscle wasting so don't know if that has nothing to do with it. Has anyone else had a problem like this and if so how do you cope with the pain.


4 Replies

Sorry to hear about your pain, Lorraine. I have been suffering from severe pains in the right shoulder for the past couple of months, which I initially attributed to the laparascopic incisions that were made 8 months ago, at the time of my oesophagectomy. Cancer spread to the area has been ruled out via a bone scan, and I am taking acetaminophen and hydromorphone, with disappointing results. The pain is more like a debilitating ache in the shoulder, neck, and shoulder blade area, and can be eased sometimes with a change in posture. I will be interested in hearing the responses of others here.

regards, Rob


How long since the operation? I had a lot of aches and pains for the first six months but with time and exercise these went away. For example my arm and shoulder just didn't work properly and any stretching was very sore but I just stretched , took the pain , the second stretch was less painful , then rested it. After several months the joint and muscle got back to normal. Other pain was in my back and side and wasn't agony but it wasn't pleasant but it went away after a few months

Like you I had a lot of muscle wasting. I was asleep for five days post op. They told me to get up and walk and walk. I asked about my muscles and they told me just to get on with walking (they weren't that brutal!). I said I'd like to use weights and they asked me why and I said that I'd always had some muscle. They asked me what I needed muscle for. I told them I needed it to lift the weights........anyway my muscle and shape started to return after around nine months and even now , 20 months on it is still rebuilding . I think the walking is critical and although it is hard it really does pay off


I was in hospital for about 10 weeks and had quite a bit of shrinkage around the shoulder area, which in retrospect, I wished I had tried to combat with physiotherapy on the ward (but in truth I was too exhausted and troubled by other things). It can be quite complicated, and you will probably need a physiotherapist to guide you through getting better.

As for the pain, it depends on where it is coming from. Is it muscular or inflammation of muscles? Or might it be to do with nerve damage? If it has spread to other parts after the physiotherapy process it might all be part of developments from that? I think it is quite easy to do the wrong thing with this, and you need the doctor's / physiotherapist's blessing before the next stage. But gentle exercise should be OK.

I think there are always after-effects from a long spell in intensive care - they seem like pot holes on the road to recovery!


I too suffer from daily, constant pain. I can only sleep on my back as lying on my side is so painful (especially left side). It's sooo hard to explain the feeling to others. Also feels a bit like my insides r being squashed. Ime 2 and half years post op and looks like it's a way of life now. God how life has changed for us all.


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