I'm having my LSH on Tuesday 1/4/05, and the main thing I'm worried about is the post-op left shoulder pain. I had a tubal ligation done (laparoscopically) 5 years ago, and post-op my "female parts" barely hurt, but I had SEVERE left shoulder pain. Felt like someone was sticking a sword in my left shoulder when I *barely* sat up at all, and this lasted for an entire week. I know the shoulder pain is normal and understand the medical reasons behind it, but I was wondering if any of you post-op gals have any tips or tricks for decreasing it? Heat? Ice? Steam room? I know the pain is caused by the cold dry gas of the CO2 they inflate your abdomen with (see: http://www.hcgresources.com/shoulderpain.html).
thanks! This web site has been a HUGE help to me.
(LSH for two huge fibroids causing years of pain and now hemorrhaging; tried a major holistic plan of attack but the fibroids were just too big, altho I was able to stop the hemorrhaging)
p.s. Thanks for the notes of support on the pre-op page! I have to admit my stomach lurched when I saw my name up with the Tuesday, 1/4/05 gals! Gulp, this is really happening. But I'm ready to get all the pain/problems behind me.
When I was having my pre-op, the nurse explained the difference between intestinal gas and the gas they pump into you, and what you need to do for each.
For intestinal gas -- walking.
For shoulder pain, which is caused by the gas they pump into you -- lay down flat. She said this type of gas rises, so when you're on your feet, it goes up to your shoulder area. When you lay down flat, it will go back down to your abdominal area where it won't be so painful.
I never had any gas-related shoulder pain, so I don't know personally if this is true or not. But it's what the anesthesia nurse told me . . . .
I SO know what your talking about. I just had a lapro, gallbladder removal done this past Wednesday and the shoulder pain is JUST NOW starting to calm down some. It was HORRIBLE and everyway I laid or sat down it HURT like the dickens! I did find that laying down with my legs elevated in two HUGE pillows, under my knees helped and also laying with my back against pillows while on the couch. I also kept one of those Therma care (abdominal ones) pads on my shoulder during the day and at night I slept with a heating pad on it. That seemed to have helped a little. The main thing that has helped me is pain med.
ONE of the main mistakes I made one night was laying down too fast in bed. The pain shot to my left shoulder and to my abdomin along in my right shoulder. So, another hint is whatever position you are wanting to get in, get in it SLOWLY!!!
Heat to the area helps, I think. It certainly won't hurt anything! Massage helps too. Lying down flat works well. If you can tolerate it, move around as much as possible to dissipate the gas. For me, direct pressure on it, while painful at first, was the best way to get rid of it. I didn't have it with my hyster, as it was an open procedure, but I have with my lap procedures. It is very normal. Even though it isn't intestinal gas, it still helps to move around...not necessarily walking, but moving the arm and shoulder and neck. When my babies had colic, we used a rice bag heated up in the microwave...the pressure from the heavy bag, as well as the heat, kind of dissolved the bubbles, or at least broke up the big ones. Massage also worked for that.
I know where you're at, and it is painful, but to encourage you, I had horrid shoulder pain with my lap gallbladder surgery, but none with my exploratory lap for GYN purposes. Sometimes they manage to get a great deal of the air out, depending on what they're doing, and it may not be an issue with this surgery.
I had a LSH on Dec. 7th and had very little shoulder pain. I had a lap for my appendectomy 5 years ago and had a lot of shoulder pain with that surgery. So it's possible that this time it won't be so bad. I was concerned about it this time as well and did all I could to minimize it. That deep breathing exercise they have you do seemed to help with my shoulder this time, so I suggest being deligent about doing that exercise.