Over A Year Since Implantation & Still Uncomfortable Sleeping

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well in the new year. I just wanted to ask if anyone has experienced discomfort still after a year?

It's uncomfortable to lay on my left side and stomach to sleep. And sometimes there's a dull pain. It's so apparent in my daily life. I was wondering will this ever truly go away or is this something I just have to deal with?

I would truly appreciate any insight or personal experiences regarding this topic. Thank you in advance :)


I believe it will get better for you

by Gemita - 2021-02-24 07:31:10


Does it ever get better?  I do believe so, if we really want it to.  It has taken considerably longer too for me to sleep comfortably than I was led to expect.  We are all so individual, aren’t we, with different strengths and weaknesses, different health conditions?  We shouldn’t read and believe that in X number of weeks, months, we will be better.  We are human after all and don’t follow any rules.

At first I couldn’t sleep on my left side or on my tummy (my favourite position to fall asleep quickly), because my device felt like a massive stone beneath me and kept getting in the way.  Every time I tried to sleep on my left side too (another favourite position) I felt a “pinching/pulling” sensation.  I then used a pillow to cushion the device, to stop any movement of the device which would always trigger unpleasant symptoms.  It did help.  It took me well past the year to forget I had a pacemaker, to feel comfortable again, to exercise without restriction.  Do I still feel the pacemaker (after three years)?  Yes of course.  It is clearly a foreign object and a hard device in my chest but I am no longer afraid I will damage the device by dislodging it, or pulling the leads out or that it will harm me in any way.  I know it is firmly anchored to whatever structure and will stay with me until the battery expires.  Half the battle is the fear of what might be happening inside you.  Get over that, start moving around as you would wish and you will slowly gain confidence that your pacemaker is there to help you, and you may even learn to ignore your new companion as the days pass.

The dull pain may or may not be related to your device.  Do you have any other symptoms?  Specifically, how do you feel in yourself?  Do you feel better, with fewer symptoms than before your pacemaker?  If you are in any way concerned and in view of your complex medical history, there is no harm in speaking to your device clinic, Cardiologist or EP, or to your general doctor about any concerns you might have and they may carry out some additional checks to make sure all is well and to put your mind at rest.  It usually is okay because healing can take time.  Don’t forget an implant although not major surgery, is still a trauma for the body.  I suffered a trauma to my subclavian vein (where my leads were placed) and this took a long time to heal. 

Stay optimistic that you will hopefully be discomfort free very very soon.  I send my best wishes to you 



Slow healing

by Theknotguy - 2021-02-24 10:29:17

For some people it takes a lot longer than others.  It's frustrating to read a note from someone who says they got their pacemaker and are 100% and out and about in one month.  For others it takes longer.  Your body takes as long to heal as it needs to and for some of us that goes on much longer than others.  

While I had more trauma than most - I survived two sessions of CPR with broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a chest tube to boot, it probably explains why it took me so much longer than others to heal.  It was a two year process, and at now going on eight years, I'm still going through some healing issues.  Fortunately most people didn't and don't have the issues I did.  I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing out it can take a while longer than expected.  But as long as there is some progress, you should rest assured you're healing albeit slower than you'd like.  

At now going on eight years it's still hard for me to sleep on my left side.  Everything collapses and my pacemaker is pinched between my shoulder and my rib cage.  I've found if I get a stiff pillow and put that between my shoulder and my head I can lie there a little longer but not like I did pre-pacemaker.  So your problems trying to sleep on the left side are normal.  

Some people report pain as healing goes on.  Some report "ant bites" as the nerves grow back.  I'd get sudden sharp pains in the pacemaker area that would last a few seconds and go away.  That continued for two years.  I also volunteer at a charity wood shop where we build furniture for indigent families.  I'd be OK while I was working in the wood shop.  But the next day it would feel like someone had wrapped my pacemaker in sandpaper and scrubbed it around in the pocket.  So the healing can take some time.  

For me, I worked with a licensed massage therapist.  Emphasis is on licensed and therapist.  She was able to work through a lot of issues and found sore spots I didn't know I had.  For me, it's been a tremendous help.  I've recently started issues with scar tissue that has developed from the broken ribs and where they inserted the chest tube.  Saw three different doctors.  I got shoulder shrugs from two and the third said, "You're going to hurt."  Since opioids are out of the question I'm now working with two different massage therapists who have made tremendous progress. 

I'm not saying you'll have the ongoing issues I have since you probably didn't have the trauma I did but I just want you to be aware it does take some people longer to heal than others.  

I wish you the best with your new pacemaker.

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A pacemaker completely solved my problem. In fact, it was implanted just 7 weeks ago and I ran a race today, placed first in my age group.