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Thread: PLEASE HELP/SEVERE abdomen and shoulder pain after VP shunt

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  1. #1

    Exclamation PLEASE HELP/SEVERE abdomen and shoulder pain after VP shunt

    I had a VP shunt put in a little over a month ago and have had pain in my abdomen that seems to move around. It is now on my left side and seems to radiate to my left shoulder. the shunt is on my right side. It is a sharp stabbing pain that is absolutely the worse pain I have ever felt..and I have given birth 3 times! I have told my neuro surgeon about this and he sent me to have a CT (twice) both showing everything looked normal.....yet I still have pain!!! I have been to the ER twice because the pain was so excruciating! At the ER more CT's,blood tests,x-rays,pressure check and EVERY SINGLE TIME they come back shrugging their shoulders saying everything looks good! That the pain is not related to the shunt,I find this extremely hard to believe! I even had one ER doctor suggest it was gas or even a pulled muscle....I almost came out of my skin! All they do is send me home with pain meds...which I hate taking because of the foggy feeling that comes with them,however they do help dull the pain. I am at my wits end and don't know what to do next all I know is I can not take this pain anymore. If anyone has some advice or can even share a similar story I would much appreciate it! :)

    Thanks,

    Jill
    Last edited by jrp8121; 08-18-2012 at 11:38 AM.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrp8121 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I had a VP shunt put in a little over a month ago and have had pain in my abdomen that seems to move around. It is now on my left side and seems to radiate to my left shoulder. the shunt is on my right side. It is a sharp stabbing pain that is absolutely the worse pain I have ever felt..and I have given birth 3 times! I have told my neuro surgeon about this and he sent me to have a CT (twice) both showing everything looked normal.....yet I still have pain!!! I have been to the ER twice because the pain was so excruciating! At the ER more CT's,blood tests,x-rays,pressure check and EVERY SINGLE TIME they come back shrugging their shoulders saying everything looks good! That the pain is not related to the shunt,I find this extremely hard to believe! I even had one ER doctor suggest it was gas or even a pulled muscle....I almost came out of my skin! All they do is send me home with pain meds...which I hate taking because of the foggy feeling that comes with them,however they do help dull the pain. I am at my wits end and don't know what to do next all I know is I can not take this pain anymore. If anyone has some advice or can even share a similar story I would much appreciate it! :)

    Thanks,

    Jill
    Hello Jill

    I had my vp shunt put in almost 8 years ago now and have been having the same problem, sharp stabbing pain in my side that extends to my shoulder and sometimes neck. It started on my right side at first then moved to my left side. The only answer I got was from my neuro surgeon who told me it's common. The only way to cure it was take out the shunt and use a different kind with a lot more risks involved. I chose to put up with the pain instead of more risk and possable surgery. I'm kinda luckey because the pain isn't constant. It may last a couple of hours or days then go away for sometimed a couple of weeks before returning. Sorry I can't give you an answer to rid the pain. For some reason Advil will sometimes dull it. It's the only thing off the shelf I found that works. I haven't tried anything from a doctor. I try not to take any meds if possable.

  3. #3
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    Jill
    I had this done as well, back in April/May of 2012.
    As soon as I got to rehab, which was that same afternoon, I started having sharp pain in the right side of my abdomen, that also moves around. At first I told the nurse about it, and requested medication so I could actually get to sleep. It helped enough so I got some sleep, but they never seemed worried enough to do any CT etc. That was okay with me at the time, I was sick of it all at that point! After getting home, I was still having the pain. It wasn't constant, meaning that some days it wasn't sooo bad, but would always come back with a vengeance. I ended up going to the ER several times, special blood tests were run, chest x-rays, and more, but to no avail. Nothing was found, but I KNEW I WAS having this pain. It was nothing short of crippling when it would rare it's ugly head, and I was same as you, it radiated into my left shoulder when it was on my left side. When I read your post, and you have same first name as me, I thought I was reading something I had written, but had forgotten about! lol!
    At times over the past year, it sometimes doesn't bother me for a couple of weeks, then it comes back. Actually, this past week has convinced me it isn't over after all. It hadn't bothered me for a couple of months, give or take, then out of nowhere it is back in full force. I only have one kidney, so stay away from pain meds as much as possible. I put rice in a sock, heat it up in the microwave, lie down and place the warm rice where the pain is, while applying some pressure. This does help, and MOST of the time it subsides in a reasonable length of tie. Not always, but most times. Sometimes it takes two socks because the area affected is that large. The shoulder is the same way, with same results. The shunt is also on my right side. I don't want more surgery if at all possible, so have learned to live with it. Yes, sometimes I can't stand up without severe pain, or even sit, but MUST lie down. Of course the pain is still there, but less. I am learning to live with it as best I can. Sometimes I have to limit what I can do physically, or pay dearly! I hope you have found that the pain has lessened for you, or isn't as constant as at first. I would like to hear from you, if you would like to reply and let me know how you are.
    Hang in there.
    Jillevelyn
    Quote Originally Posted by jrp8121 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I had a VP shunt put in a little over a month ago and have had pain in my abdomen that seems to move around. It is now on my left side and seems to radiate to my left shoulder. the shunt is on my right side. It is a sharp stabbing pain that is absolutely the worse pain I have ever felt..and I have given birth 3 times! I have told my neuro surgeon about this and he sent me to have a CT (twice) both showing everything looked normal.....yet I still have pain!!! I have been to the ER twice because the pain was so excruciating! At the ER more CT's,blood tests,x-rays,pressure check and EVERY SINGLE TIME they come back shrugging their shoulders saying everything looks good! That the pain is not related to the shunt,I find this extremely hard to believe! I even had one ER doctor suggest it was gas or even a pulled muscle....I almost came out of my skin! All they do is send me home with pain meds...which I hate taking because of the foggy feeling that comes with them,however they do help dull the pain. I am at my wits end and don't know what to do next all I know is I can not take this pain anymore. If anyone has some advice or can even share a similar story I would much appreciate it! :)

    Thanks,

    Jill

  4. #4

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    I had a VP shunt put in on July 18th 2014.. not quite 3 weeks ago. last Thursday I started getting sharp pains in my right side, almost like the pain you feel if you run .. it wasn't constant t that point. I called my neurologist and he said it could be a pulled muscle or at my age it could be gall bladder. If it gets worse, go to the hospital. Two days ago, it got so bad that I couldn't take a deep breath without experiencing bad pain, I went to the hospital, they sent me home that night and told me to come in the morning for an ultrasound... Which I did. They did an ultrasound, took blood work, did a chest x-ray and a did a lung scan. They drugged me up for the pain, of course. All tests came back normal. They called a neurologist and asked if it could be caused by the shunt, the neurologist does not think so. They sent me home with the exact pain when I got there. They told me if it got worse, to go back to the hospital where I got the surgery done at. Woke up today, same pain, no better and extremely frustrated. I have no idea where to go from here. The only time the pain disappears is if I lay on my back, or my left side.

    Any suggestions or course of actions I should take from here on? Because the only thing I want to do is sit and cry out of frustration.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoriW View Post
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    I had a VP shunt put in on July 18th 2014.. not quite 3 weeks ago. last Thursday I started getting sharp pains in my right side, almost like the pain you feel if you run .. it wasn't constant t that point. I called my neurologist and he said it could be a pulled muscle or at my age it could be gall bladder. If it gets worse, go to the hospital. Two days ago, it got so bad that I couldn't take a deep breath without experiencing bad pain, I went to the hospital, they sent me home that night and told me to come in the morning for an ultrasound... Which I did. They did an ultrasound, took blood work, did a chest x-ray and a did a lung scan. They drugged me up for the pain, of course. All tests came back normal. They called a neurologist and asked if it could be caused by the shunt, the neurologist does not think so. They sent me home with the exact pain when I got there. They told me if it got worse, to go back to the hospital where I got the surgery done at. Woke up today, same pain, no better and extremely frustrated. I have no idea where to go from here. The only time the pain disappears is if I lay on my back, or my left side.

    Any suggestions or course of actions I should take from here on? Because the only thing I want to do is sit and cry out of frustration.



    I too have a similar pain in my side. It comes and goes since my VP shunt was placed in 1999. The neurosurgeon said it is from the shunt latching on to a nerve. It usually goes away if I lie on my side and rub the area where the pain is. Stretching also alleviates the pain. I do this when I am at work. I am a factory worker and at times am not able to sit for hours at a time. I was also told that I should not be too concerned and that it may be unpleasant, but that it is not harmful.

    I hope that you feel better.

    Joanne

  6. #6

    Default We're not alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by LoriW View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I had a VP shunt put in on July 18th 2014.. not quite 3 weeks ago. last Thursday I started getting sharp pains in my right side, almost like the pain you feel if you run .. it wasn't constant t that point. I called my neurologist and he said it could be a pulled muscle or at my age it could be gall bladder. If it gets worse, go to the hospital. Two days ago, it got so bad that I couldn't take a deep breath without experiencing bad pain, I went to the hospital, they sent me home that night and told me to come in the morning for an ultrasound... Which I did. They did an ultrasound, took blood work, did a chest x-ray and a did a lung scan. They drugged me up for the pain, of course. All tests came back normal. They called a neurologist and asked if it could be caused by the shunt, the neurologist does not think so. They sent me home with the exact pain when I got there. They told me if it got worse, to go back to the hospital where I got the surgery done at. Woke up today, same pain, no better and extremely frustrated. I have no idea where to go from here. The only time the pain disappears is if I lay on my back, or my left side.

    Any suggestions or course of actions I should take from here on? Because the only thing I want to do is sit and cry out of frustration.
    This type of pain is apparently very common among those of us with shunts. But oddly our neurosurgeons never seem to have heard of it. After my first VP installation in 2007 I had extreme shooting pains in my rectum, perenium and testes. The distal end of my tube was shortened and the pain went away.

    I had a shunt failure and emergency revision on 10/1/14, and I've had sharp intense pains near my left and right lower ribs and left clavicle. Once again I'm told that it doesn't sound shunt related.

    How can there be so many of us, yet the doctors seem completely unaware of this seemingly common complication?

  7. #7

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    Hello,

    I had a shunt placed last week and experienced wincing, gasping sharp shoulder and abdominal pain within 24 hours of surgery. I did some on-line research and found an abstract page describing a research paper/project published in a British journal. The title of the paper is "Shoulder tip pain: an under-reported complication of ventriculoperitoneal shunt." It can be accessed through the national Center for Biotechnology Information (which is part of the National Library of Medicine and part of National Instute of Health). The page also lists other articles on the same subject. I plan to print the abstract page, take it to my neurosurgeon and request that he get a copy for me. I have no idea what the findings of the study are, but at least the doctor will see that this is a discreet and recognized complaint that has been previously identified and studied by colleagues in his field. It should save the time and expense of unnecessary tests, meds or referrals.

  8. #8
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    The pain could be caused by the csf draining into your abdomen. After my first shunt I too had those awful pains.
    One time they shortened the drain tube which helped a lot!
    Another possible cause of the pain is the CSF itself.
    It BURNS!!!!!
    It took me a few years to finally have my body learn to except the csf draining into the abdomen.
    They also could of accidentally cut a hole in your diagram. They did that to me and the pain was so bad.
    I went home even after complaining about the pain only to have to be readmitted the next day because the pain was so bad.
    Pain pills and time were my friend. It took a few days for that pain to go away.

  9. #9

    Default Excruciating Shoulder Pain post VP Shunt- please HELP !

    Hi Jill,
    I read your post having suffered exactly the experience and I am desperately looking for some help. My name is Jeff and I am 43 years old,
    currently based in Dubai where I was diagnosed with Chronic Hydrocephalus (arrested Hyrdocephalus) in February 2016.
    Unfortunately my medical insurance declined to cover any tests, investigations or treatment claiming that I was born with it, strongly denied by the team of Drs who say that if that were indeed the case I would have died many years ago. This decline to cover the treatment caused a month's delay to the Drs request for Urgent treatment, MRI, CT scans & angiograms which showed severe dilation of all four ventricles, veins & arteries, swelling of the brain and a significant papilledema.
    I have had issues with Short Term Memory, ability to think under pressure, blurred vision, nausea, the works!! I am still having difficulty with my short term memory, irritable and generally utterly FED UP with this.


    Eventually I had surgery on March 16th to fit the VP Shunt, after 3 days developed a severe headache. The surgeon tried everything to adjust the shunt but found it to be blocked. I had the shunt valve replaced on the 4th day. However I developed a serious headache again a month later. We were forced to seek an alternative neuro surgeon and after a further 5 months of constant headache I eventually had surgery in August where the surgeon found that the catheter in my abdomen had been tied so tightly by one of the surgical team in the previous surgery that no fluid could pass through the shunt at all. I have been asking what effect that could have had on my brain and function, yet no one seems to answer the question.

    As soon as I woke up from the 3rd surgery I experienced excruciating pain in my right shoulder. At first we thought it was just from my positioning during the surgical procedure, however, the pain has continued. I also have had the pain in my abdomen and like the shoulder pain it migrates from left to right side.

    I have had several extremely painful episodes and tests, exactly like you have come back negative. I have even shown the Neuro Surgeon your comments and I am now desperately seeking the paper that was written by the Centre for Biotechnology Information on Severe Shoulder Tip Pain.

    In my most recent Medical Report the neurologist has suggested it is psychosomatic !!! Which INFURIATES ME!,.. Like you I have a pretty decent pain tolerance and yet have never experienced anything as painful as this pain in my shoulder (s).

    And now the headache has returned with a vengeance, I have had a constant headache for a week now and of course the usual pain relievers have no impact on the headache at all. Having been told by the neurologist that this pain in my shoulder & abdomen is NOTHING and I should think about it I am now reluctant to visit the neuro-surgeon to follow up on my headache, I am concerned that the Shunt may be blocked yet again which would mean a 4th surgery in 7 months!.

    I am desperately seeking some help on this and would be very grateful for any advice or contacts for further info that anyone can provide.


    Could honestly write a book about the experience.

    I do hope you are feeling better Jill.

    Many thanks

    Jeff




    Quote Originally Posted by jrp8121 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I had a VP shunt put in a little over a month ago and have had pain in my abdomen that seems to move around. It is now on my left side and seems to radiate to my left shoulder. the shunt is on my right side. It is a sharp stabbing pain that is absolutely the worse pain I have ever felt..and I have given birth 3 times! I have told my neuro surgeon about this and he sent me to have a CT (twice) both showing everything looked normal.....yet I still have pain!!! I have been to the ER twice because the pain was so excruciating! At the ER more CT's,blood tests,x-rays,pressure check and EVERY SINGLE TIME they come back shrugging their shoulders saying everything looks good! That the pain is not related to the shunt,I find this extremely hard to believe! I even had one ER doctor suggest it was gas or even a pulled muscle....I almost came out of my skin! All they do is send me home with pain meds...which I hate taking because of the foggy feeling that comes with them,however they do help dull the pain. I am at my wits end and don't know what to do next all I know is I can not take this pain anymore. If anyone has some advice or can even share a similar story I would much appreciate it! :)

    Thanks,

    Jill

  10. #10

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    Hello Jeff!

    Welcome to BrainTalk!

    I'm sorry you're experiencing such painful problems.

    The thread you are writing in is a bit old. The last poster posted in February of this year. The dates of the posts are in the upper left corner of the posts. Sometimes it's better to start a new thread.

    I found the abstract for you on the shoulder tip pain and another similar abstract. Here are the links (just click on them with your cursor):

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16455545
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16156233

    An article you might find helpful: http://www.news-medical.net/news/201...-failures.aspx
    also: http://www.hydroassoc.org/complicati...shunt-systems/

    I hope this helps and your pain can be relieved.
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