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Oesophageal Patients Association
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relief from post-op pain

Hello again folks,

I have another request for help..... have any of you good people out there found a method to relieve the discomfort on your underarm/side as a result of your surgery (Ivor Lewis). I take the occasional Paracetemol, but I was wondering if there was something more soothing and effective. Thanks again for any help,

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Hi im 21 months post op and just take paracetamol. Cold weather makes the pain worse. I do exercise but I believe it is just a matter of time or living with it. If i overdo it like walking too far it does play up more.

Sorry no magic cure, unless someone knows something.

Debbie

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I think that exercise is the way. It can be painful but it does work over time. I used paracetemol for ages and that helped. Time is the thing. The day you suddenly realise "this doesn't hurt anymore" is a really big day!

Haward

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Some gentle exercises and keeping moving. You could ask for some liquid morphine if really bad. I bought a small electric heat pad from Argos for some symptomatic relief. Otherwise it's down to time and a bit of paracetamol in the short term. Nearly two years on and mine still aches a bit and always lets me know when I've overdone it. Increasingly do things left handed now.

Good luck.

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I don’t know how long after your op you are. But if op is quite recent, may be due to nerve damage and nerves slowly repairing themselves. Analegesics dont help with nerve pain. My wife had to take Gabopentin which helped considerably once it is in your system.

Might be worth discussing with your GP and giving it a try.

Take care and best wishes.

Steve

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Paracetamol didn't work for me. I am now on dihydrocodeine. This works a lot better, but doesn't relieve it completely but makes the pain easier to cope with.

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I had a few sessions of physiotherapy to rebalance my muscles after the surgery and get me exercising again and this helped considerably.

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My hubby used soluble cocodamol for a while, especially at night and soluble paracetamol during the day. A nurse recently told me that paracetamol is most effective if you take it regularly every 4 hours.

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I agree with everything posted above but would add my experience.

I had/have the really uncomfortable left shoulder blade pain that spreads around under my left ribs when I walk. It is wort noting that I had a Transchiatal Oesophagectomy, so no ribs broken and no left arm stretched during surgery. But I had still had that lousy pain that never really goes away completely.

Whilst this was being investigated I managed to break my spine in two places by collapsing due to my new found hypoglycemia. I took two wedges out of my neck - ouch. I mention this as this does rather complicate things for me and my diagnosis.

Anyway. Back to my pain. I was treated by having several epidural injections, directly into my spine. These would work for about two weeks then have to be repeated and the cycle continued. X-Rays and scans showed no obvious damage (apart from the wedges out of my spine).

My consultant and various others were/are at a loss as to the cause.

I have tried and endured physiotherapy, various excercise regimes, long daily walks and my weekly 18 holes of golf (I know)

It has not got better and I am now three years post op.

What does work and makes it bearable is Dihydrocodeine and Soluble Paracetamol.

My GP argues every month hat I must not have the Dihydrocodeine as it is "addictive"!! Well that ship sailed a long time ago. I would rather the addiction than the pain, which at it's worst would make me vomit with no amount of wiggling and shifting around, offering relief.

I remain convinced that it is nerve damage caused by the surgery and probably not helped by me falling over and damaging my spine.

There was another great post on here somewhere with somebody else who had very similar pain and I believe had also found the only relief was through pain killers.

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I had the Ivor Lewis procedure three years ago. Right hand entry in back. Pain radiates from front of rib cage around to shoulder blade.

My surgeon says nerve damage. I've tried several rounds of Radio Frequency nerve ablation therapy into rib cage and also splenic nerve. These help reduce/manage pain but don't last.

I'm on a large dose of pregabbalin daily (600mg) this definitely helps to reduce the pain as it deadens the nerves. I also take paracetamol regularly.

I apply lidocaine patches to the rib cage - this also helps.

Cognac at night helps too :)

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Thank you all for your responses to my question. As I've said before, it really helps to know that you are not the only one with these problems. Thanks and best wishes for Christmas.

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