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Hi there,
It has been 5 months post surgery for me. My gallbladder was removed laporoscopically. I awoke with immediate burning/stabing/cramping/stabing pains from the top port site next to my right rib cage.
It took many months but I have been diagnosed with nerve damage.
From what I gather there is no cure for this, only a few options that may or may not help.
I was on my back for 3 months even with tramadol, oxycotin, gabapentin. 3 months on I found a pain specialist who injected the site with a steriod. Which gave me about 40% improvement (on most days) but still on tramadol, pain patch & lyrica. I still can not perform daily duties ie gardening, vacuuming, washing up, sweeping etc due to the onset of pain this brings on. I also have not been able to return to work which is the most distressing of all.
I have now been told to try a nerve pulse gadget which they trial for a week, and if improves symptoms they place under skin (50% success rate) But i am wondering if there is any other less invasive measures I should try first. Surely there must be something to fix this. The injections and tablets are only hiding the sinister pain underneath. The pain without pain killers is disabling and unbearable.
Please can any-one suggest something else? I live in small town and not many specialist to hand. I have googled alot and found a neurosurgeon in USA/Dubai who can operate he says to place nerve under muscle to de-sensitise with 70% success rate but not sure if this is a gimmick or not. Please help any one.

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I had surgery on 2/22/11, laporoscopically removal of my gall bladder and a colonecotomy. I have a burning, painful, itchy feeling that can erupt at the incision site in my lower abdomen or anywhere the nerves may travel, sometimes my side, chest or even my head. It is the worst feeling. I wake up at night itching profusely and have caused bleeding doing so. I told my surgeon of this and he prescribed Gabapentin, which works for maybe 3 hrs after taking it. I cannot touch anywhere near the incision site or it will start itching.I have found that putting ice on the area will stop it temporarily. I am lost as what to do, I hope this isn't a forever thing. I am not certain if I should see about upping the dosage of the Gabapentin or if there is other alternatives. It is very difficult to complete daily activities and I do not want to be dependent on others. Have you found anything that will work?
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Hi Guys, I posted months ago but have a break through I wanted to share.

I had a Dr in Brisbane at the RBWH did an exploratory operation on me 3 weeks ago.

He found an entrapped nerve in the scar. They have cut this out and the biopsy proved it was indeed a nerve. The pathologist said it showed 'prominent nerve fibres and that they were swollen'. Of course it was swollen...It's only been pulled & irritated for almost a year!!!.

Any way it has only been a few weeks since my operation so early days yet but they are hoping this might fix this problem.

Ruby!! I am getting the EXACT same symptoms as you. Everybody, If you are getting this pain please persist until you find somebody willing to go back in for a look around the scar causing the problem. This is not 'ALL IN YOUR HEAD' like the original surgeon kept telling me.

I have been in this AGONISING pain for almost a year. My life has been ruined by it. Please if you are in Australia contact me and I can put you in touch with the Dr who did my exploritory surgery as he might be able to help. I have been knocked back over and over again trying to get somebody to go back in and look as they were all in fear of it 'making it worse'. I told them, It couldn't get any worse!! Nobody believes the pain you are in but I know the feeling and it is horrendous. I feel for anybody going through this. I have my fingers crossed it is not too late for my nerves to heal. I know by looking up that the longer you leave these problems that the less likely they can heal. The pain radiates from the scar around to my back on bad days. It is debilitating. Please keep looking for somebody to help you. Previous to this operation I also had steroid injections & anaesethic injections which all helped a wee bit but I still am on heaps of medication. Lyrica, tramadol & Norspan pain patches.

Please contact me if you need somebody to talk to you are not alone & this is not in your head!
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Hi there,

I have the same symptoms as you. However it does not go up to my head. The problem is the top port site next to right rib cage. My symptoms are as above. the pain can radiate to under my right arm through to my back/spine. It is horrendoes. I have just had a Dr in Brisbane agree to go in and do an exploratory operation. They found an entrapped nerve under the scar. They have cut this out. The pathology confirmed it was a nerve. The said it was 'prominent nerve fibres and that they were swollen'. The doctor is confident this is what has caused the problem. They hope this all should now settle down in coming weeks. No luck yet but they said it is early days (3 weeks ago). So please if you are in australia & are still having these symptoms contact me & i will give you the doctors details so you can get a referral to him at the Brisbane RBWH. This is not in your head (that is what so many doctors have tried to tell me). It is the most horrendous thing I know & feel for you.
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Omg please help me I'm done the pain is to much if it isn't STOPED I out of here
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hi there braddo1972, I wrote the above post but i have further updates. my pain specialist did a 'Phenol Nerve Block' on the nerve causing the probem t7 & t8. we issolated which nerves were causing the problem by doing a series of nerve blocks with local anaesthetic. Once the nerves were identified which were causing the pain, a phenol nerve block was done under general anaesthetic. The injection site was mid way between my spine and my side, so about 10cm right of my spine on the side causing the problem (my pain radiates from under my right rib cage). This has made a big difference and I have come off all pain killers and now i only need to take tramadol SR 200mg twice daily, which keeps it mostly under control apart from occassional flare ups, but much more able to cope now. Please pass this info onto your pain specialist. My pain Specialist is in Cairns, QLD, Australia. Dr Clifton Timmons. Your doctor could contact him if you have same symptoms as I had and maybe he could give them some advice.

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It has been 6 years going on 7 that I have severe chronic pain on my lower right quadrant.  I have seen many doctors without success.  I have had many tests done and I am on pain meds and lyrica. My dibilitaing symptoms of this severe pain are of cramping, spasms, and burning in the area of the nerves described above.  I NEED HELP.  I have suffered for too long and fear that it may be too late for nerves to heal. If only someone who experiences or has experienced this type of burdend life-changing PAIN knows of any way to find releife because I have not.  To not be able to be treated or to just mask the problem is just not enough.  This condition is extra-ordinary for the reason that it is not very common and therefore not easily ready for a diagnosis by doctors.

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I had laproscopic gallbladder surgery 5 weeks ago. I am also Type II Diabetic. I am a 52-yr old male and until now, in good health. Ever since surgery I've been more and more in constant pain. I have not slept a night and have missed much work other than what I can do from home. The pain is like a sunburn that is most intense in the upper front sides of the abdomen up just past the first couple of ribs. The burning radiates around my body to my back where it becomes less severe. I've been online researching all of your great posts in the meantime and have decided it is either a trapped nerve in the incision like the Austrailian (thank you!) mentions or intercostal neuralgia. I am seeing my PC Dr tomorrow and I will demand referal to a pain specialist and a neurologist perhaps. I have also purchased a TENS machine that arrives in a couple of days. For now, does anyone have symptoms like mine and if so, what have you done that helped and what have you done that did not help. I'll share how things go on this post.

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hi, ggreen23. I am the Australian that had the phenal nerve block done. this has work wonders months since it was done (almost a year), still taking tramadol 200mg but only once a day. HEAPS better pain wise. I recommend the Phenol Nerve Block. They will have to isolate which nerve or nerves is causing the pain first by doing a series of blocks using local anaesethic into the nerves from around your back. You will know when they hit the right nerve as within minutes the pain will disappear totally. they then can mark this with a marker pen, and you can get an x-ray with a lead marker so you have a permanent reference of the nerve. you will need to get the phenal nerve block done under ga. My pain was sharp and burning, and at times the whole service of the skin was "burning" like I had been stung by a jelly fish or something. At first he prescribe a chilli cream for this cause zostric which is a cream they use for people with shingles. the idea behind this is it will "burn" the nerve sensors out, and get rid of the burning sensation from the nerve. it will take several applications daily over a period of time but this did work also along with the steroid injection. this was all stuff my pain specialist tried in the lead up until we decided to do the Phenol Block which was a huge success. Like I said your doctor could probably contact my specialist details in my last post. Email me if you need to know anything further, it does sound like you are suffering same symptoms as me. Also you mentioned the TENS machine. I tried this and it made the pain worse! my pain specialist also said that TENS machines do tend to make this sort of thing feel worse, so I wouldn't recommend it. I am back at work part time now, 30 days a week. and a lot happier.
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just so there is no confusion I use to be called kezza1079 on this site, but forgot my login, now I just use guest123!. I have being trying hard to keep this thread up to date with my progress as when this first happened to me I struggled to find anything on the net with my symptoms, and I noticed other people would write and never write back with their progress, so I thought it was important to keep writing on here. I had the entrapped nerve in the incision site, and did get a lot of relief when they found this in the Brisbane hospital, however the most relief was from the phenal block, which allowed me to get off most of the pain meds and get back to work. From what you have described your symptoms are exactly the same as mine, so I would defo say nerve damage. it will be an intercostal nerve.
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Hi Aussie guest123. Thanks much for your quick response and I will definitely take your experience with me in writing to the pain specialist. The Phenol Nerve Block process sounds very promising especially since it seems our symptoms are very similar, specifically the jellyfish burn. this describes what I have exactly. I cannot even lay down to sleep at times becasue the pressure all around is too much to take. I know you understand when I tell you that I am/was at my wits end when I purchased the TENS machine. I do have some back issues...as does my wife...so it will not go to waste!

Again, thanks again for your post and your info. I'll put an update here once something new happens.
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No confusion on my end kezza1079 as I am completely brand new to this site. I have noticed the same thing as you on follow up posts and so I will do my best to keep this updated so as to pass along any help to others. I wouldn't want anyone to have to go through this any longer than they have to. "Loud and Clear" on the phenol block recommendation.
Finally, I may have mispoke when I said intercostal and it could be subcostal...but I am still learning.
Thanks Again. ggreen23.
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no worries hey, I just want people to know their options instead of suffering like a did, non of the public doctors knew what was going on they were all completely useless. when I finally got an appointment with my pain specialist things started to slowly get better, he started with steroid (cortisone) injections into the actual site (scar area), this worked well depending on if he 'hit' the right spot or not, and then used that zostric cream. after about 4 cortisone injections and hitting a plateau we tried a nerve pulse radiofrequency thing done under ga. they put a little needle into the nerve and 'zap' it, but this had little or no effect. He mentioned the implant device, but I didn't want that and did research on the net, and it wasn't worth it as far as I read up on it, not very successful etc. He then had advice from another local doctor who deals with varicous veins etc and she suggested to him the Phenol Block. Phenol is what they use in varicous veins to stop them, and they also do phenol blocks on terminal patience, ie if they have liver cancer they can do a phenol block on that nerve so the patient is relatively pain free until they die. My specialist had never tried it on a nerve for some one like me before, as usually is only done on nerves for terminal patients. I was a bit of an experiment but I was desperate. he said it did run the risk of when it wears off that the pain could come back worse (wears off after 3-9months) but he said we could just do It again. it has worn off now, but the pain didn't come back like it was, and by no means worse, it seems to be stabilized now and is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo much better than before the phenal block. it will make the area of the nerve injected go 'numb' feeling, bit like how it will feel when you get the local anaesethic done to find the nerve, but like I said to him, to feel 'numb' there will be a blessing. And it was! I hope your doctor can make good use of this and try this for you. There was also another thread on this site I was writing on where I found this doctor in the states & in Dubai, a plastic surgeon fella who does surgery on the nerve and puts it under the muscle to desensitize it, but that is expensive and so extreme, but at the time I was thinking about it, his name was Dr lee Dellon I think. I don't know how true it is but he had testimonials on his website of people with same symptoms, but all that seems irrelevant cause if you get the phenol block done and it works, well its heaps cheaper, and less risky. Good Luck, keep me updated. I had so many useless doctors and specialists that I seen. the "all in your head" c**p got said a few times, pain medications addicted etc. My pain specialist is great, although a bit forgetful at times, I will be forever greatful to him. 

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sorry to go on, but just where my pain was worse was around the top incision site near my right rib cage, the burning area was my entire rib cage area on the right side, and the pain would go around into my back at times. it was unbearable, and I remember just screaming in pain when it was at its worst. nothing would make the burning stop. I would get no sleep. I think we narrowed it down to "T7" and "T8" nerves.. (nerves are numbered down your back).
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Wow. You really went through something then and had to find it all out on your own. My general surgeon pretty much wanted to be done with me after my 4 weeks of complaining about my pain. This guy told me to take Aleve and to not do anything strenuous until September if that tells you anything. It was at this time that I decided to start over and go back to my regular doctor who just today put me on Tramadol HCL 50mg to hold me over until I get into see a pain specialist. I am supposed to take 2 pills every 6 hours (although I've cheated and am on a 4 or 5 hour pace) and so far so good in that the pain is now minimal to almost mostly gone at times. Hey, you and I both know at this point all I want to do is get at least 4 or 5 hours of continuous sleep. This is first time in 10 weeks I've been able to sit without much pain and what a great feeling! So at least my regular doc is listening. My reg doc has referred me to a Dr. Soin here in Dayton, Ohio area and when I see him I'll be sure to mention the phenol block to him. Hopefully I'll see him soon. I've also come across the Dr Dellon in some of the web searching I've done over the past several weeks and have read great things about him. I'll keep you updated to be sure.
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