Shoulder after c-section? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 07-22-2007, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Topic should be "Shoulder PAIN after c-section."

Sorry I know this is a little o/t, but figured at least someone in here would be able to explain it to me.

I didn't experience this, but two of my friends did - acute pain in their shoulders after their c-births. What is this and WHY does it occur? Both of these women described the pain as unbearable.

One friend was told because she didn't take her pain meds religiously, she was overcompensating for her incision. The other was told it was b/c she wasn't moving around enough.
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#2 of 10 Old 07-22-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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I had this when I was still in the hospital after my section. The Dr and nurses told me it was gas (air pockets) that get trapped in the body after they make the incision. It's supposedly fairly common. It scared the begeezus out of me, I thought I was having a heart attack. I had to sleep sitting up for a couple weeks after, because any time I would lay down it would cause immense pain (much worse than any surgical pain). It eventually is absorbed by the body. As for why it happens in the shoulder, the way it was explained to me is that air rises..so when you are standing and moving around it moves "up". The nurse did also say that physically moving around will help it dicipate faster.

HTH.
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#3 of 10 Old 07-22-2007, 08:44 PM
 
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I had this. I saw my chiropractor for it. She said that what I was experiencing was both acute muscle spasms in the shoulder itself (caused by stress), and substantial referral pain from my diaphrgam which had crawled up under my ribs (I believe to escape the surgery). So in addition to working directly on my shoulder, she did a lot of soft-tissue work to get my knotted diaphragm to loosen and soften back into place. Once my diaphragm let go, the pain let go too.
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#4 of 10 Old 07-22-2007, 08:48 PM
 
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What type of anesthesia/analgesia did they have for their C/S?

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#5 of 10 Old 07-22-2007, 10:58 PM
 
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I didn't experience this (though the recovery nurse told me it could happen so I wouldn't worry if/when it did), but it looks like it's pretty common...

From yahoo health:
Quote:
Some women feel shoulder pain for days after a cesarean section. This is referred pain, caused by trauma to the abdominal muscles during the delivery. It goes away on its own during recovery.
From mothercare:
Quote:
Irritation of the diaphragm from air in the abdomen following surgery can cause a few hours of sharp pain referred to the shoulder
and Baby.com:
Quote:
You may also have referred pain in your shoulder due to the buildup of air, which irritates your diaphragm. Referred pain is when you feel pain in a part of your body other than where it originated. Medical experts believe it occurs when pain signals from an internal organ travel along the same neural pathways as the skin, tricking your body into believing the source is in the skin rather than the organ.

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#6 of 10 Old 07-22-2007, 11:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
I didn't experience this (though the recovery nurse told me it could happen so I wouldn't worry if/when it did), but it looks like it's pretty common...

From yahoo health:


From mothercare:


and Baby.com:
Goes away in a few hours... goes away in recovery.... that's rich. It had me in tears. couldn't move, couldn't lie down, couldn't nurse, couldn't walk, more drugs, out to the chiro DAILY, weeks before it was better. Oh yeah. I had a normal recovery. I forgot.
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#7 of 10 Old 07-23-2007, 10:19 AM
 
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hugs Robinna.. I'm glad your chiro was able to help!

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#8 of 10 Old 07-23-2007, 01:10 PM
 
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I didn't have it with my c/s, but I did have it after having my appendix out in 2000. The recovery nurse said it was from trapped air, very common in any type of abdominal surgery. It was horrendously painful, thought I was having a heart attack at 21 years old, or that they had done something horrible to me. Took about a week for it to completely let up, and frankly, pain meds didn't stop the pain from it :

Liz

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#9 of 10 Old 07-23-2007, 01:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
hugs Robinna.. I'm glad your chiro was able to help!
Thanks hon. I think I'm more bitter about that pain than the surgical pain. It just was that extra insult, kwim? And my MW clearly didn't know it was "normal", or if she did, didn't tell me.
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#10 of 10 Old 07-23-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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There's a quote from (I think) Maya Angelou about something being the "rust on the knife" being held at your throat. It's what I think of when these "extra insult" moments happen. And grrrr for care providers who forget to mention things like this! After my own c/s my care provider couldn't answer my questions since they don't do surgery, and the OB who did the c/s wouldn't answer my questions because I wasn't his patient. Argh! The rust...

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