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Sharp shoulder pain, gallbladder surgery, IV in hand, phlebitis,

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For the past week, I have been having sharp shoulder pain at the top of my left shoulder radiating to my neck. I had gallbladder surgery about 10 days ago and they put the IV in my left hand which created phlebitis. Do you think they are inner related?
If they are not inner related, what else could it be? I just had a workup 5 days ago at the ER where the phlebitis was diagnosed. They did a CTSCAN with contrast of both the abdomen and the chest as well as chest xrays and an ekg....all which came back normal. I am also experiencing back pain in the center but on the right side
Posted Sun, 29 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 4 hours later

Thanks for writing to us.

Shoulder pain radiating to the neck post opeartively may be due to thrombophlebitis or irritation of diaphragm after surgery due to mild reactionary inflammation at the surgical site, can be a muscular spasm due to overuse or abnormal neck positions.
The exact diagnosis can be made only after a thorough examination.
Till then you can -
1.Avoid using a pillow.
2.Give rest to the arm.
3.Take mild pain killers like acetaminophen.
4. Do a hot fomentation of the shoulder and the site of intravenous puncture.
5. Apply local analgesic ointment on the shoulder and back.
6. Apply heparin gel on the site of i.v. puncture.
I hope my answer and recommendations are adequate and helpful. Waiting for your further follow up queries if any.
Wishing you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sharp shoulder pain, gallbladder surgery, IV in hand, phlebitis, 4 hours later
How do you know its not a heart attack or stroke? Also, you don't think it could be cellulosis? And thrombophlebitis is in a superficial vein, therefore cannot move, correct? There is not red inflammation at the vein anymore so my doctor told me to discontinue the antibiotics.Thanks for your reply.
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 15 minutes later

Thanks for writing again.

Cellulitis is associated with other symptoms such as redness, swelling and some times fever.

Symptoms of stroke and heart attack are usually acute symptoms and do not last for week and more. They usually resolve or aggravate when they persist.

The aforementioned conditions seems the most likely cause for the pain. They can be ruled out by physical examination and evaluation.

It is difficult to pinpoint a diagnosis without an actual examination. Hence I encourage you to see a doctor. In the mean while the measures mentioned earlier will be useful to you.

Hope this answers your query.

Wishing you speedy recovery.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sharp shoulder pain, gallbladder surgery, IV in hand, phlebitis, 8 hours later
I do have one more question...I did see the doctor and he doesn't seem to be too concerned with the neck/shoulder pain but did say he was concerned about my tachycardia an was thinking of putting me on a holter moniter to ensure I didn't have peri partum cardiomyopothy. I have had a rapid heart rate since 17 weeks pregnant and had a echo, holter and several ekgs done...all of which ruled out anything serious. My tachycardia has since gotten worse post partum...typically in the morning, at night and during the night. My heart rate is well over 100. It normally occurs when I'm going from a sitting to standing position or carrying my baby around. Do you think there is a need for a holter considering I just had a ct scan of the chest and chest xray...which you would think would have shown?
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 53 minutes later

Cardiomyopathy is not necessarily detected on CT scan of chest or X-ray. Going for a holter monitor will help in detecting the cardiomyopathy for sure. Persistent tachycardia is something which needs to investigated to find out the organic cause.

Happy to help you always.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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