Still in a lot of pain, nearly 3 months after operation to fix broken upper humerous

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I fell of my bike three months ago and broke my upper humorous.

I was advised by a specialist to have surgery to fix . I had a metal plate and screws put in to bring the bone back together. Obviously I was in a lot of pain after the operation. Now I'm nearly 3 months on and am still in a lot of pain . I been back to hospital and had an x-ray and bone is being nicely. But swelling is up and down and is still so painful. Can't sleep at night due to the pain.

I would be so grateful if there are other people who have undergone this surgery that could tell me of their experience and if it us normal for me to still be in a lot of pain.

Thank you.


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  • Posted

    Emma, are you icing?  If not, ICE!!  Ice the area at least three times a day.  DO NOT GIVE UP!!  What are you using OTC or Rx to manage the pain?  Have you been to PT or OT?  If not, why?  If yes, what does your PT offer?

    Hang in there and post again when you are able!!

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your message.

      No body ever told me to ice. Not the surgen or gp.

      Now you've suggested it I feel a little silly for not thinking of doing it before.

      I will use ice when it swells again from now on and hopefully that will help.

      I am taking paracetamol, ibuprofen and have been prescribed Naproxin and cocodimol .

      I am having physio but have only had 3 sessions so far.

      I had a set back as I got an infection in the wound where they cut me open.

      This has now healed.

      I can move my arm straight from my side up to 45 degree angle in front of me. Can't move much out to side or behind .

      At night it hurts laying down. Getting pain in shoulder and it feels a little clunky. I can hear it kind of crunch.

      The more I use my arm in the day the worse it is at night and following day.

      The not sleeping makes everything seem a lot worse.

      I am a manager of a Café and do a lot of cooking so use my arms a lot. I am getting staff to lift things and help me as much as possible but I do still have to use my arm a lot.

      I've gone back to work part time for now but am struggling.

      Unfortunately I don't have enough staff to have people cover for me all the time.

      I am so much better than I was but it really is up and down .

      I was such an active person it's been hard to slow down.

      I also have kids so still have all the mummy duties to do.

      Got physio and doctors tomorrow so am hoping they can advise me.

      I think I was ill informed by specialist/surgen at hospital as to what to expect after op.

      He seemed to think I'd be back to work doing office work after two weeks and then back to normal duties after 4 weeks with no heavy lifting for 6 weeks.

      I do feel as if I was just left to get on with it with not much advice.

      So pleased I found this site and can read other people's experiences.

      Don't feel so alone now or that I am being a hypochondriac.

      People tend to think it's only a broken arm and don't seem to understand why it's still very painful at times nor why it's taking so long to recover.

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    • Posted

      I am glad that you have reached out to this page.  Yes, you are not alone.  Please know that I do not have a medical background.  I only speak from my personal experience.  

      ICE ICE and more ICE not only when you see swelling.  If you are as active as you indicate ice in the morning, during your lunch break, and when you get home/before you sleep.  Ask the doctor and PT about the use of heat too.  You are still recovering.  You will need to find a balance between career, parenthood, and healing.  It is good that you have others helping you.  Scar tissue and stiffness:  do your pt at home too.  Slow, gentle, controlled movements.  Ice, ice, and more ice.  I use frozen water bottles, cold soda in the can (drink it afterward), gel reusable cold packets, baggies of ice, styrofoam or paper cup frozen cups, frozen veggies in a bag (cooked for dinner afterward).  I ice a minimum of 20 min up to an hour.  I have several frozen items in the freezer.  As one melts or warms, I swap it out for another frozen one.  Be creative.  

      My stomach cannot deal with Naproxen.  After three months, I had to stop using it.  I stopped using Rx to manage pain within two weeks of my repair surgery.  I found the opioids too much for me.  I would doze off and jerk awake thinking "am I breathing?"  I use over the counter extra strength Tylenol or ibuprofen when I cannot relieve or manage pain with ice.  I do not use OTC meds on any set schedule.  I do not like putting any meds into my system unless I absolutely must.

      Talk to your doctor.  Sometimes printing off your posts and handing the post to your doctor or nurse is easier than trying to remember everything or to let them know that you are struggling.  With any injuries, there is always the physical healing, the emotional healing, and anxiety.  One step at a time you sort through your concerns.  

      Take care and Good Luck!!  Post again when you have time...

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