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Lumpectomy done on a tumour. Having headache, upper back pain and nipple pain. Is this normal?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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I recently had a lumpectomy on a tumor found in my left brest. I first found this lump in November of 2011. At this time I also started experiencing headaches, upper back pain (between my shoulder blades going up to my head). In May of 2012 my headaches and upper back pain began to worsen. I had a lumpectomy in XXXXXXX 2012 which came back benign. Now, August 2012 I have sharp nipple pain in the breast where the lumpectomy was done, headaches daily (I wake up with headaches which has never happen before), and my back pain is so severe that I have had trigger point injections that last for only 6 days. I visited with my Breast Specialist in regards to the nipple pain and he did an ultrasound and said that there is no way he could have damaged the nerve in the nipple from the way he entered the breast. My internist didnt exam me when I went to him with this problem. He suggested PT and trigger point injections. My PT popped my neck and back and gave me some at home upper back exercises to do.....At this point im lost. I am not doing PT once a week and on Naproxen and muscle relaxers......Is all of this normal?
22yr old Female
Posted Sat, 1 Sep 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Aparna Kohli 2 hours later
Thanks for writing in.
To simply answer your question, these symptoms are not normal and would require an evaluation. However, the possibility of this being cancer is extremely low. If the tissue from the lumpectomy showed that the process was benign, I think there is no reason we should worry about cancer in the first place.
The upper back pain can itself radiate to the back of the head and cause a headache. At this age, the most common cause of a back pain would be wrong posture, fibromyalgia, anxiety or trigger points. At this stage, the following would prove to be most useful:
a. Stop worrying about cancer. This is the least likely possibility in this scenario
b. Keep your back straight while walking, sitting, lying down and driving. Use a hard mattress and hard pillow .
c. Continue with the physiotherapy
d. Locally applied diclofenac gel and hot fomentation ( with a hot water bottle or an electric heating pad) should help a lot
e. Also, get some exercise. Simple walking or jogging for 30-40 minutes a day can help you a lot.
f. Dont lift any heavy loads.
Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions
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