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Started by pranzingfrogg on Apr 14, 2019 7:47:53 AM
It’s A Right Pain in the ...

Short ribs, where they operated to untangle my spine. Took out a rib and all. Sometimes it feels like they’re still operating, although on the plus side I don’t wake up in the night any more screaming for a full body transplant. Still, if anyone has some tips on pain management, be it different meds, breathing techniques, Yoga, all ideas/anecdotes/group howling gratefully received

fenderstrat - 14 Apr 2019 08:54:32 (#1 of 59)

So sorry for your health probs, pranz. Hope you feel well-cared for. Are you in a UK hospital?

If so, there should be a pain management team. If you haven't seen them yet, hassle the staff for a visit to your bed. It's worth noting that most docs now believe that there shouldn't be any significant pain for patients when there are good ways to deal with it. Good luck and a speedy recovery.

pranzingfrogg - 14 Apr 2019 11:12:13 (#2 of 59)

Thanks, fender. Yes, I’m in a South London hospital. I’m on various meds and to be fair the pain levels are coming down. But I thought I’d start a thread anyway because if anyone else is facing surgery in near future (if my experience is anything to go by they downplay the post-procedure pangs) or they’re going through post surgery or any other kind of nagging pain, we could get together and moan/pool knowledge. I thought I was pretty resilient to pain - I’ve lived with nagging back pains for many years - but the last couple of weeks were a shock. When it hurts, it bleedin hurts.

xbod72 - 14 Apr 2019 11:25:44 (#3 of 59)

Mindfulness is all the rage these days and was initially very much aimed at people in pain.

Full Catastrophe Living is one of the main texts but an early one so there may be better ones now with more up to date research. Although, perhaps the research is not so much what you need than the technique.

Are you able to watch YouTube in the hospital? There's plenty of videos and "Jon Kabat-Zinn" would be someone you could put in the search box.

xbod72 - 14 Apr 2019 11:30:18 (#4 of 59)

... Full CL may have a newer edition out, I don't know.

mingmong - 14 Apr 2019 12:05:31 (#5 of 59)

PF, that sounds like a tough gig you've got there.

Hypnotherapy might be worth exploring. Here is Dipti Tait (my mate's ex-wife, as it happens) having root canal surgery without anesthetic

Dipti is for real and has helped many other people I know, including my mate himself (her ex husband) whom she helped give up smoking (completely successfully, worked first time)

Her approach is all about "reframing", and using the pain as a tool to release endorphins. Whether or not this would work with chronic pain, I don't know, but it may well be worth a try.

pranzingfrogg - 14 Apr 2019 12:56:42 (#6 of 59)

I did wonder about things like hypnotherapy if the conventional approach doesn’t help. I keep telling myself it’s early days - the op was on 2nd April - and I’m guessing my nervous system is still protesting about the holes poked in it.

I’ve heard quite a bit about mindfulness from some former colleagues, but haven’t really looked into it much.

I just bookmarked the international Association for Study of Pain website, and will browse it later.

wickeltisch - 14 Apr 2019 13:17:05 (#7 of 59)

Hello, Froggy. My operation was a bit different, I had part of my left lung removed. There was a cut between two ribs and then the ribs were spread apart with the help of a rib spreader to make a hole big enough for the surgeon to go through. Ribs weren't removed. When I came out of the ICU after the operation I was surprised how little pain I felt. This changed drastically two days later when the tube for spinal anesthesia was pulled out of my back. I was supplied with lots of painkillers and still it hurt, sleeping was hard because there was really no painless position I could take. Back home I still took lots of pills, but after about three weeks the pain got less and I could reduce the amount of pills. It's been four months now since my operation and I can sleep again on my left side, there are occasional stabs of pain in the ribs but they only last seconds. I guess they're the result of nerve damage, but nerves grow back, I think.I think there's not much you can do except take pain killers and be patient, healing takes time. I've had acupuncture for back pain (caused by muscles) in the past, but I don't think it would help with such serious pain after a long operation. It's easy to say "try distracting yourself" when you're suffering, but I doubt it will work when you feel like howling in despair.

wickeltisch - 14 Apr 2019 13:18:36 (#8 of 59)

Sorry, that sounds a bit pessimistic, but in time it will really get better. You can't expect wonders after just two or three weeks.

thisonehasalittlehat - 14 Apr 2019 13:19:01 (#9 of 59)

Did you ask for the rib? You could grow a husband or wife from it.

wickeltisch - 14 Apr 2019 13:21:19 (#10 of 59)

You did grow a husband it wife from it.

God seems to have a lousy grasp of language.

thisonehasalittlehat - 14 Apr 2019 13:21:55 (#11 of 59)

I meant could.

pranzingfrogg - 14 Apr 2019 13:45:11 (#12 of 59)

Yes, I asked and they said “with barbecue sauce?”

Not really.

Hi, wickel. From what I’ve gleaned, operations around the chest and ribs have a rep for being the most painful afterwards, maybe because they’re so close to the spinal column and all the nerve endings involved (total guesswork there, obvs). The pain can go on for some time as well, though naturally the time will vary from person to person (ooh, hark at him, couple weeks in a neuro surgery ward and he’s an expert). I am trying to be a patient patient, but occasionally the pain spikes and I’m just squealing “Make it stop” at the universe. Then when it does come down to more bearable levels I cringe inside at the fuss I was making.

xbod72 - 14 Apr 2019 13:49:47 (#13 of 59)

Pah! I was just looking for a decent video about mindfulness and pain management and I found a video of Kabat-Zinn talking about mindfulness and how it can be used to treat pain.

But early on in the vid he bemoans the use of "magic pills". Painkillers are not in any sense "magic" and he is an asshole for saying so. Also, his tone in the video annoys me.

This is not at all to say that mindfulness could not help in your situation, Pranzing, but I don't want to listen to any more of Kabat-Zinn on the topic. If you would like to follow this line up, entering

mindfulness pain management

into Google and then going to the 'videos' tab will provide you plenty of hits you could peruse.

wickeltisch - 14 Apr 2019 14:06:04 (#14 of 59)

I am trying to be a patient patient, but occasionally the pain spikes and I’m just squealing “Make it stop” at the universe

I know that feeling.

I've never had a broken rib but I've heard people say that was the most painful fracture they had, so it makes sense that operations involving ribs are extremely painful. After all you can't keep that part of your body really still, it moves with every breath you take.

I hope I didn't give you a Police earworm now, that would be nearly as bad as an operation.

pranzingfrogg - 14 Apr 2019 14:15:48 (#15 of 59)

What little I’ve heard about mindfulness did make me wary - I suspect there is a certain amount of anti-science woo involved, but on the other hand I’m quite open to the idea that positive thinking is a big help with recovering from anything, whether it’s illness injury or just crummy life events. I’ve already stopped thinking and saying “If I ever get over this” and switched to “Once I’m over this” , when thinking about the pain. As hospital wards go, this place isn’t bad, but it ain’t home and that’s where I’d rather be as soon as I’m ready.

wickeltisch - 14 Apr 2019 14:30:26 (#16 of 59)

I was glad when I was back home and could take my first proper shower there. And after about a month after the wound had healed completely a long hot bath felt like being reborn.

xbod72 - 14 Apr 2019 14:41:12 (#17 of 59)

Mindfulness isn't positive thinking... if we were to imagine positive thinking as trying to boost a mood, mindfulness is more about standing back and observing the mood such that you gain a distance from it and feel it less keenly.

Quite what the approach is specifically towards pain I'm not sure. I think one exercise actually involves entering into the pain and experiencing it fully, which sounds extremely unhelpful and the total opposite of what I've just said.

I'll have another look into it maybe and post anything that looks useful.

pranzingfrogg - 14 Apr 2019 14:45:10 (#18 of 59)

Thanks. I would have thought mindfulness would include positive thinking but as I said I’ve never really looked into it.

wickeltisch - 14 Apr 2019 14:45:21 (#19 of 59)

mindfulness is more about standing back and observing the mood such that you gain a distance from it and feel it less keenly.

Being in pain is not exactly a mood.

pranzingfrogg - 14 Apr 2019 14:46:15 (#20 of 59)

More like your nervous system being in a strop.

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