Severe radiating pain left arm forearm since pacemaker surgery, deemed non cardiac pain

Hi, 8 weeks post pacemaker surgery, first pacemaker. First installation was complicated as was done in a superficial pocket that became infected after debark weeks. 
Then 2nd surgery to reinstall pacemaker in deeper pocket, with no post surgical infection or abscess thankfully. 2nd surgery was around 4 weeks ago. However within days of the second surgery I am experiencing very severe throbbing radiating pain in my armpit, right  side of the left arm and forearm. It has been assessed thoroughly by the cardiologist and surgeon and they have stated it's not heart related. They seem to suggest that it's psychological. However I have never ever in my life experienced  such severe pain. They gave me low dose pregabalin which did stop the pain but was too sedating and I was worried about potential addiction risk and I ceased the medication within days.  
the pain is back again. 

Has anyone experienced similar type of pain post pacemaker surgery? 
does this improve? 
how to manage it? 
are medications the only option? 
pain is very debilitating, and I can't even sleep! And slowly I am also developing something like a frozen shoulder/ stiffness in left armpit area ! 

thank you for your help! And suggestions! 🙏


Severe pain symptoms

by Gemita - 2022-10-07 07:17:58


I am very sorry to hear of your debilitating pain.  Clearly Pregabalin, a neuropathic pain medication, was completely effective at a low dose to treat your pain, but caused you difficult symptoms.  

I was on Pregabalin for a short time following my pacemaker implant because I experienced some nerve pain due to nerve irritation during implant.  I also experienced throbbing pain due trauma to my veins during lead implantation.  The throbbing pain settled when I developed collateral veins around the pacemaker and my circulation improved.  Healing took several months and I am now completely free from pain.  I was able to safely, gradually come off my Pregabalin.  But of course Pregabalin can be difficult to tolerate at first and did make me rather unsteady. 

In view of your severe radiating pain left arm and difficulties with Pregabalin, I would consult emergency services for further assessment and more effective pain relief with fewer side effects, to help begin effective treatment and to make sure that nothing has been missed.  Since Pregabalin was so effective though, it does suggest to me that your pain may well be nerve related which if this is the case, Pregabalin or Gabapentin are often tried first.

To answer your questions:-

Has anyone experienced similar type of pain post pacemaker surgery?  does this improve?  Yes post pacemaker pain was a problem for me but did improve with time (3-6 months) but this is unusual.  Some members have no, to little pain.  Other members may experience pain beyond 1-6 weeks.  Complications can arise during any surgical procedure.
how to manage it - are medications the only option?  Depends on cause but pain medication or other treatments may be needed initially, together with physiotherapy, icing if we have inflammation/swelling, rest, healthy diet, good hydration, will all help.  But given "time" and appropriate treatment, our pain will usually resolve.

Frozen shoulder needs urgent assessment and treating to keep shoulder moving otherwise recovery will be prolonged.  I hope your symptoms ease quickly

Me too

by Lavender - 2022-10-08 10:41:55

Your questions:

Has anyone experienced similar type of pain post pacemaker surgery? 
does this improve? 
how to manage it? 
are medications the only option? 

My left arm is still an issue since 20 months ago when my CRT-P was implanted. First really intense forearm pain for a while. I saw a licensed masseuse who really prodded and got the knots out. I no longer have pain in the forearm but I do get it as a pulling into the underarm. I also have ongoing biceps and upper back of the arm pain. 

Does it improve? Yes and no. It's sometimes better than others. I cannot raise my arm and let it lie above my head or swing it back behind me without tightness in the back of the upper arm.  

How to manage it?

meds? I take no meds but 500 Tylenol once in a while if needed. (Rarely.)

-I see a masseuse twice a month and she loosens it up. big help! Worth the money-less than most people's tv bill.  (I have free streaming tv so I don't pay much now only $46 for wifi.)

-Ice is my friend. Soft ice packs twenty minutes on helps a lot! Big help! Use often!!

-physical therapy can help (haven't tried but your pcp could order it)

-one really bad day, I wrapped my arm in a compression type bandage roll and that helped a lot. I recently bought a compression type copper elbow sleeve. Will try that if it acts up. 

Keep moving and using the arm. Remember this:






I doubt it's psychological -more likely physiological-relating to the way in which a living organism or bodily part functions.!🧐

It's only been a month and they did a lot of work in there. I wonder too what weird straining position your arm was in during surgery.


Severe arm pain

by APS - 2022-12-07 23:56:17

I had my pacemaker implanted 6 weeks ago and I am also experiencing severe pain but mine is near the armpit. The pacer seems to have migrated towards my armpit. Dr suggested he could do a revision to move the pacer more towards the center of my chest or implant it deeper. Not sure what to do??? But definitely under the burning sensation 

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