Post double mastectomy muscle spasms

Hi all, 


I’m just over 2 weeks post-op after bilateral mastectomies, and generally the wounds are healing well. When I went for my follow up appointment on Thursday the breast care nurse and surgeon were very pleased with my healing - much of the wounds has healed - it’s just the under-arm ends of the wounds that are healing more slowly, I guess because you’re moving your arms a lot.


I’m not getting any pain on the actual wounds, but I’m getting an awful lot of muscle spasms radiating out onto my upper chest at the front and around the back on both sides, though it tends to be a bit worse on the right side (not sure if that’s because I’m right-handed). I get a lot of muscle spasms with my other health problems, so I’m used to dealing with them elsewhere, but with these being specific to the mastectomies I’m not sure if I’m safe to use my usual remedies. I’m not sure whether the muscle spasms are an after-effect of the surgery, or whether the surgery’s triggered the muscle spasms due to my usual problems.


For the ones on my back I’m using my heat pad on my upper back, as I do with other areas, which eases it whilst the heat is on, but apart from not having it on for too long (and because if I leave it on for too long it sets off my hot flushes!), I’m wary of using the heat pad on the front because of the wounds. Massaging the affected muscles can sometimes help, but from what I’ve read about wound care you shouldn’t massage the wound and surrounding area until the wound is fully healed and all the scabs have come off (mine are pretty much healed, but there are some areas on both wounds where there are some small scabs). I’m also getting a lot of nerve pain in some areas (while others are numb, with no sensation at all) - a burning sensation on my skin, which makes massaging the muscle very painful. Movement can usually help, but when I do the arm/shoulder exercises it eases them for a few minutes but then it’s back as bad as ever.


Are muscle spasms after mastectomies common, and has anyone any tips on shifting them? (I’m already on a number of painkillers/treatment for nerve pain due to my other health problems) After initially getting very little pain, I’m now finding it difficult to sleep because I can’t get into a comfortable position and it keeps waking me up. I haven’t been able to shift the muscle spasms for a couple of days now, and it’s really starting to get to me now. Any tips appreciated. 

Hi @BlissC  Thank you for getting in touch. I am sorry you’ve not yet had a response to your comment. I’m sure someone will be along shortly to continue the conversation.

In the meantime, you may find it helpful to speak with one of our breast care nurses, you can call them on the free Helpline, 0808 800 6000. They are available during the week 9am-5pm and 10am-2pm on Saturdays.

Alternatively you can ask one of our experts in the Ask Our Nurses area of the Forum and they can respond to you online.

Best wishes,


Social Media Officer

Hi Bliss, I have only just seen your post and notice you haven’t had much luck in getting any replies. It seems very difficult to get much information on this particular problem. I had a bilateral mastectomy in July this year and have been suffering these awful muscle spasms too !! Sometimes they last a few hours and at other times they go on for days. I have spoken to my surgeon about this and he has suggested splitting the thoracordasal nerve which feeds the muscle. He said it would stop this happening. Trouble is I have always been very active, Yoga, gym, gardening etc and I’ve read if the nerve gets damaged I would probably have less strength and more limited use of my shoulders. I was hoping someone on here might of  had this done and let me know how it has affected them going forward. It obviously  isn’t a very common problem. I have spoken to the helpline and asked to be connected with someone like me but as yet no luck. If you still look at this site I would be grateful to hear if you have had any luck.