View Full Version : Question About Nerve Pain

02-27-2011, 11:19 AM
Since my surgery on December 7, 2010 (Iím almost 12 weeks post-op.), I have had pain in my upper abdomen. While on painkillers in the hospital, I didnít realize I had the pain. However, I have been keeping a journal and it shows that on December 14, the day I came home, I had bad pain in my upper abdomen. I did NOT have the pain before entering the hospital.

The history of checking this out includes an ultrasound and an endoscopy. Both were negative. I have agreement from a gastroenterologist, pain management doctor, and my surgeon that this is referred nerve pain or a compressed nerve.

I have been on Neurontin (Gabapentin) since January 17. I take two 300 mg three times a day. It helps a bit with the intensity. On February 16, I had bilateral facet joint shots at T9-T10 and they did nothing for the pain.

The pain is under the left ribs and/or in the middle of the upper abdomen between the lowest rib. It feels like you ran and got out of breath, or you were stabbed in your side. It can also feel like a gnawing pain. Nerves from T9 or T10 come around to this area.

I get the pain after an hour or so of activity like showering and washing my hair, shopping, and so on. I need to lie down to get relief. It takes about 15 minutes, or more, of lying down to get this relief.

I am fused from T10 Ė S1 and had vertebroplasty at T9 and T10. I have cement at T9 but instrumentation to and including T10.

In a CT scan taken Feb. 7, the neuroradiologist found the following:
"There is slight anterior wedge-shaped chronic compression deformity of T10 vertebra."

I never had any problems with my thoracic area, only my lumbar area. I have always had this deformity. No one is saying it is the cause of my pain. I am pointing it out because of its location.

Other than that, I am recovering quite well from the surgery.

Has anyone had nerve pain in this area? What did you do to handle it? How long did it take to go away?

What suggestions do you have for dealing with this pain?

Thanks for your support.

02-27-2011, 02:38 PM
I have nerve pain from a disc that herniated over 3 years ago, that radiates down my leg. Nerve pain is awful!!! I haven't found too many things that help nerve pain besides taking it easy. Drugs, even lyrica, never seemed to help me much. When I irritate that nerve I usually have to lay down and take it very easy, sometimes for a week, before it calms down. I would note though that my nerve pain was never at the the place where it was compressed (L2-3). it has always been down the leg, and my dr says that is usually what happens when there is a compressed nerve.

I don't know about what you're going through specifically, but I thought I'd mention that I've had something that felt a lot like that nerve pain near the bottom of my ribcage off and on post-op. It was really bad the first few weeks, and now I only notice it when I've been particularly active (getting in and out of cars, walking long distances, getting dressed, or getting in and out of bed). I'm almost 9 weeks post op.

I was very concerned at first, because it was so sharp and stabbing and all the ways you describe your pain. It really did feel like someone stabbed me in the ribs every time I got in and out of bed. So at my first post-op visit I showed my surgeon where it hurt and asked him about it, and he showed me on my post-op x-rays how the space between each of my ribs was actually stretched out by the surgery on that side. I guess when we get straightened out, the untwisting of one side can pull on the other side and results in the ribcage getting slightly stretched out (mostly on one side or the other, not both). Sorry I can't explain it better, I was still on oxycodone when he explained it to me! lol!

The worst pain was coming from an area that was very stretched out. I am not sure of the actual location, i think it may be higher than where you are talking about (i'm fused to T4) but it was below my chest, toward the bottom of the ribcage which could be around T6 or 7 or so.

Anyway, the pain feels exactly like you describe. But mine is getting less and less as the weeks go by. But like I said, it does still bother me from time to time when I'm particularly active. I'm not worried about it since he showed me that on my x-rays, and whenever i feel it i remind myself my entire body got rearranged and it's going to be a while before it doesn't hurt!

Hope you can find out what's causing the pain!!!

02-27-2011, 04:44 PM
Sorry to hear about your pain. I hope you get relief.

I had sciatica and other nerve pain before my surgery. Having pain down my leg while walking or standing was one of the main reasons I had the surgery. I had it for more than 20 years. Sitting would relieve it. I didn't get much relief from medication, so I didn't take any. Periodically, I had shots.

From the surgery, I gained 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inches. I'm sure that the pain comes from the surgery and repositioning of my body, but I want to be able to handle it other than lying down. I went out for dinner last night and the pain started halfway through the meal. I couldn't wait to leave. Those are the situations where I can't lie down.

I don't find that the pain has lessened over the 12 weeks. I 'm not sure the Neurontin does very much, if anything.

I'm glad your pain is lessening as time goes by.

Take care,