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Thread: Chest tightness after surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    66

    Default Chest tightness after surgery

    Hi everyone, I am now 3 weeks and 2 days post op and like to think I am doing well. I am off all pain killers now and don't even take paracetemol. I am moving and sitting and standing for much longer now and don't need to be in the immediate vicinity of my bed anymore. My back doesn't hurt apart from when I find myself in an awkward/new position, i.e. when I woke up the other day I stretched my arms out as far as I could above my head and got a shooting pain in my shoulders, but that doesn't happen now. It's like you have to experience the pain of a new position and then it becomes less every time you do it again. My shoulder pain is more of a bearable ache now and diminishes further with every day that passes.
    My only concern really is my chest. It feels quite tight and when I try and take a full breath in it hurts a bit. Also when I sneeze or cough my chest hurts and kind of spasms. This means that whenever I feel a sneeze coming on (which can be a lot as I have hay fever) I dread it and try to stifle it as much as I can! It almost feels like my chest has been compressed and is pushing against my ribcage. I guess this is to be expected due to my new body shape and my longer/stretched out chest. Has anyone else had this? It is getting slowly better and the anesthetist said that it might be because of my lung being collapsed during the surgery..
    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Josh

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    West London
    Posts
    891

    Default Re: Chest tightness after surgery

    Hi,

    Good news about your reduction of painkillers, it sounds like you're doing really well. I had scoliosis surgery rather than kyphosis but I could report the same feeling of chest tightness. All these shooting pains, and odd feelings were quite irritating while everything else had settled down.

    All I can attribute it to, is the effects of such a huge surgery and a somewhat 'reconstruction' of your back. Hopefully they won't last for too long. My lung wasn't deflated, but that sounds about right too. Perhaps it's just a combination of everything?

    Amber x
    Amber, 22 years old. Double major curve of approx 53 (thoracic) and 53 (lumbar).

    Anterior fusion: 13th December '11 from L1-L4.
    Posterior fusion: 20th December '11 from T2-L4 at the Clementine Churchill under Mr Harrison.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Chest tightness after surgery

    Hi Josh

    My daughter had her surgery around the same time as you at the end of May (scoliosis though as well) and she had her lung deflated as she had a 2 stage op...strangely for the 1st week or so she actually felt like she could breathe more deeply (and could take her inhaler in one puff instead of 3!) but for the past week , her breathing is more shallow as she says it hurts in her chest which the hospital said would be expected when we checked.

    She said the very same thing about sneezing too (and hiccuping..so fizzy drinks are out!) but she's definitely reporting a few odd sensations, one of which is like a flutter in the heart which she says feels like a tickle!

    Just wanted to say though that sounds like your doing great and must be nice feeling to move around without needing painkillers, how are you finding eating.. thats the one thing Lauren is really struggling with as cant take any hot food and unable to eat very much so she's still losing weight which is affecting energy levels quite alot.

    Anyway, hope things settle for you soon and you continue to recover well.
    Sally, from Ireland and "Mam" to 3 kids including my 12 year old daughter who had 2 stage surgery for right thoracic curve of 110 degrees!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    The Midwest
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Chest tightness after surgery

    Hi Josh, I had surgery 4 weeks and 3 days ago for my kyphosis and I know exactly what you're feeling. At 3 weeks I still had tight lungs and was wondering if they would ever feel like normal again. Before my surgery the nurses gave me this plastic breathing device to measure my lung capacity. I could get to the 2000 mark on it before surgery and after surgery I could only do a little over the 1200 mark. At about 3 weeks I was still just only able to get to the 1500 mark and thought since they did remove some ribs that perhaps this was my new lung capacity for ever. It feels really weird and limiting to not be able to breath in as much and it makes doing a complete yawn a bit more of an effort.

    But, the good news I have for you is that today, I was curious as to what my lung capacity was after reading your post. I do feel like I can breath normal again and when I checked my capacity I am back to normal!! I reached the 2000 mark easy with a few deep breaths. So, don't despair, things will indeed get better for you.

    It's so easy to feel like recovery will never happen, especially so early on. But remember, You will be recovering for several months before you feel normal again. I have to keep reminding myself that when new issues come up. It's all part of your body getting used to the 'new you'.

    I had the same shoulder pain you talk about and it's getting better for me too, only a little twinge here and there, but now I'm dealing with a similar issue in my hips. Owa, it's better today, but I can't wait for that to go away...

    As far as the sneezing, yes... it hurts, and I've read that some still feel it a bit sore after 6 months.

    Do you find laughing painful too? I mean when something is really funny and you want to laugh out loud? sometimes I forget, and then I have to just laugh under my breath, trying to fight the humor. haha...

    Well, all the best Josh, and keep your chin up. It will get better. I promise!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Peoria, Arizona
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Chest tightness after surgery

    Josh,

    How soon after surgery are you able to put your hands up over your head?

    Do you feel "straighter" and more balanced, than before the surgery?

    I always feel like I am tilting forward everytime I am walking. You?



    -Storm

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Leeds
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Chest tightness after surgery

    Hi Josh

    I found I had chest pains after my first surgery and had to sort of hug myself around my rib cage when I coughed or sneezed. I still do that now but it helps the shooting pains I get.

    I'm told by my surgeon that due to the proding and poking of your ribs and lungs and/or cutting of ribs in surgery it makes your chest sore because its not used to being touched but will settle and go back to normal. So hopefully this will pass in a few days.

    Glad to hear your going well without the pain meds
    27 yr old Female.
    Scoliosis since 12yrs, fusion to lumber in Sep 1998 and costioplast 2001.
    Further corrective surgery with costioplast in Jul 2012. Proud owner of a nearly straight spine due to a T1-L5 fusion.
    LGI Leeds.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Chest tightness after surgery

    Hi Everyone. I'm new member to this forum.
    I have kyphoscoliosis, a curve of 91. I'm on a wait list for surgery.
    Interesting, that you would be asking that question. I also have chest tightness, & sternum pain, from my thoracic collapse. I asked my therapist, how my chest muscles feel, with my straighter back. She said, she would continue to use IMS treatments, to length those muscles.
    Have you heard of Intermuscular Stimulation ( IMS). It's wonderful...I respond so well, to these treatments, from my physio therapist. To get a better explanation..go to:
    www.istop.org .
    These treatments have been amazing...I wish every therapist had the opportunity to take these classes.
    I hope this info has helped you ...kootenaygal


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