Post Thorachotomy Pain Syndrome from Open Heart Surgery

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Puddin'Tang
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2016
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/30/2016 12:33 AM (GMT -6)   
First, allow me to express my appreciation for allowing me to glean from this forum. I could not locate the new members section or I would've introduced myself there prior to diving into a thread-topic for my initial post. If this is a violation of any forum rules (I did review the new members reading), please pardon my ignorance sad - I will gladly amend this post.

Having said that, I had minimally invasive open heart surgery last October (2015) to replace a prolapsed mitral valve w. a pig valve. Heart is doing fine now according to my last visit to the cardiologist.

However, the pain in my right rib(s) area (both side & front) is brutal at times. My thoracic surgeon (who performed the surgery) said I likely have post thorachotic pain syndrome & suggested I have an intercostal nerve block - which I had today. Still hurting so far.

My pain mgmt. doc. prescribed me Nucynta 50 mg., 3x's/day for 15 days. But, the reviews I've read on-line are quite frightening since I also have moderate sleep apnea (just found this out recently) & am not on my CPAP yet (will start using one next few months). Hence, I am afraid to try it (& may have just thrown away $120 if I cannot return it to WalMart mad)!

The only thing that provides any mild temporal-topical relief is Tiger Balm & a hot shower directly on the location, but it *ALWAYS* returns w. a vengeance. NSAIDS are like pouring water on ducks back. The opoids seem to cause urinary retention in me & so I typically shy away from them. And, I do not want to become dependent on them (not knocking anyone who is since I understand that sometimes it boils down to that or virtual insanity from the pain). It often (not always) feels a little better in the morning after sleeping - but, again, this is hit & miss.

Just wondering if anyone else has found anything to provide relief from the pain of PTPS (post thorachotic pain syndrome)? Have tried lidocaine, blu-emu, etc. Nothing seems to work. Hoping the nerve block will help - but may take about a week or so to really find out.

Rescheduled in 2 weeks for another nerve block if this one doesn't help. I have been told by several docs. that this procedure has to be done 2-3 times to get any real relief. Next time, they're also going to do some sort of electrical currents that actually kills the nerves as I understand it (not looking forward to that shakehead).

Had my ribs x-rayed about 3 months ago & they said they were fine, although today the pain mgmt. doc. said she could see where they had to manipulate the ribs to work on my heart. Almost wish I would have just had the sternotomy contra minimally invasive approach now. Just hope the ribs are not somehow cracked (?).

I go to the gym about 4 days/week & lift weights. Now, before anyone thinks that this is the cause of my pain, when I take off for about a week - the pain is every bit as brutal. And, I also lift very light weight @ high reps (just cannot do anymore due to the pain). However, I *DO* think I went back to the gym too soon & lifted too heavy (was back in the gym 5 weeks after surgery). But, I backed off any heavy weight when I saw how bad it was hurting.

Finally, I'm a full-time speaker/traveler & absolutely *HAVE* to be functional to maintain a living (I'm a 48 yr. old married male). At this point, I down 800mg. of Ibuprofen & rub down w. Tiger Balm before hitting the pulpit (full time minister)cry.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated - it's gotten very bad recently. Again, thank you for allowing me to be on this forum & my apologies for not introducing myself prior to posting. Blessings.

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20160
   Posted 4/30/2016 3:12 AM (GMT -6)   
welcome forum is very slow. people get there info and bugger off!! weight lifting, hmmmmmm. there are giudeines on this. you are meant to slowly work up. as to do with pain, keep moving. I had a double by-pass, and no pain meds. oh I suffered but healed quick. ribs will heal on there own. pain, got a stack of it, it is more about management than anything. the pain will subside, find a manageable pace. welcome, many healing thoughts.
THE HAPPY TURTLE.

A QUOTE FROM THE HAPPY TURTLE THAT REFLECTS ME.

"COMPLEXITY IS MY WAY OF EXPRESSING MY NEEDS IN A MANNER THAT IS NEITHER DESTRUCTIVE, NOR NEGATIVE"
'

Puddin'Tang
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2016
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/3/2016 2:24 AM (GMT -6)   
THE HAPPY TURTLE said...
welcome forum is very slow. people get there info and bugger off!! weight lifting, hmmmmmm. there are giudeines on this. you are meant to slowly work up. as to do with pain, keep moving. I had a double by-pass, and no pain meds. oh I suffered but healed quick. ribs will heal on there own. pain, got a stack of it, it is more about management than anything. the pain will subside, find a manageable pace. welcome, many healing thoughts.


Well, thanks for the advice, but it looks like I'll have to go elsewhere for some help w. these particular issues confused.

Thanks again for the response - very encouraging!

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20160
   Posted 5/3/2016 2:40 AM (GMT -6)   
chronic pain forum may have further info. sorry I was not of help.
THE HAPPY TURTLE.

A QUOTE FROM THE HAPPY TURTLE THAT REFLECTS ME.

"COMPLEXITY IS MY WAY OF EXPRESSING MY NEEDS IN A MANNER THAT IS NEITHER DESTRUCTIVE, NOR NEGATIVE"
'

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16149
   Posted 5/4/2016 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Puddin, hoping that you may pop back on here for another look. As far as the blocks go the drs are doing, yes a lot of times it can take 3 before you get some good relief or they may not work at all. It can take up to 2 weeks before they kick in.

I hope the procedure to burn the nerve endings is the one that does the trick. This is a very common procedure for chronic pain patients. Many do get relief with this.I had both my neck & back done. The neck did great but nothing for the lower back pain.

As far as the Nucynta goes, its not one of those meds that is very effective. They marveled at what a great pain reliever it would be but it was a flop, especially when used alone. Some people get relief using it with another pain reliever.

I hope you get some relief & soon. Take care.
Susie
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