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Abdominal muscle problems after surgery

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Help! After the second VATS procedure on my right lung to remove the middle lobe, my right abdominal muscles don't seem to be engaging. Situps are like impossible and I jerk when I cough if I don't brace myself on something heavy. The surgeon says he didn't operate there so it's not his concern. Meanwhile my back and gut hurts. This may be normal, but I don't know if the paralysis is or whether it gets better with time. Anybody else out there have a similar problem after surgery? Are there any exercises I should do or avoid to get better sooner?

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

First Cabbott, I'm sorry to hear you're having a tough time in recovery. You seem to have stumped us.

Now, as I've qualified my other replies, my mother has not experienced your problems as she has not had any surgical removal of her lungs. But since nobody has replied yet, I'd like to try my hand. I hope you don't mind.

Cursorily, it sounds terrible the attitude your surgeon has in washing his hands of your discomfort and pain. Jeeze, couldn't he suggest someone you could see to manage that pain. I would think a rehabilitation therapist would be able to help you out. Ask your primary doctor or oncologist if you could be referred to one, if they themselves can suggest exercises to relieve your condition.

I know when my mom was hospitalized after her pleurodesis, which seals the lung linings together, she was treated twice daily by respiratory therapists who kept her lungs expanded with both medicines and breathing devices. Plus, physical therapists came to assist my mom in walking.

My usual go-to treatment for pain management is acupuncture. Not everybody believes in it, but research seems to bear out its effectiveness as far as pain management goes. As I've always been saying, there is no downside to acupuncture than simply finding it doesn't work for you after one treatment. There is no toxicity, no side effects, no addiction, etc. You may want to consider acupuncture to relieve the pain. Sometimes just relieving the pain can allow for movement of your muscles.

Good luck to you.

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Thanks for the reply. I will look around for the possibility of acupuncture, but I'm not sure it is found in this area. A nurse I know said that pain might be paralyzing the muscles too. I hope so. I'm usually fairly active and I am hoping to get back to the gym, skiing, and hiking. This week is a little better than last, so there is hope. Big muscles on the right still aren't moving though.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

I wish I had more solid advice for you, Cabbott, but my mother didn't go through that surgical procedure.

Once you can get past the pain, it's a dominoe effect in how much improvement you gain. I mean, my mom was debilitated by fatigue and complained bitterly whenever we would urge her to walk even a little. But little by little, as she increased her exercise, she's been feeling better and moving more.

I think if you can slowly get those muscles moving, everything will fall into place and you'll be active as before. You might still look into a physical rehab therapist who can help you get those muscles to work again.

Good luck in your recovery and take care.

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