Sentinel lymph pain

It’s now two weeks since I had surgery for a lumpectomy and three lymph nodes taken, I have grade 2 cancer ER+, I’m doing all the exercises and really have full use of my arm, although obvously I can’t lift any thing, but my arm movement is very good.


It’s the pain in the arm that is dragging me down, it’s almost the same as when I had shingles. I’m taking paracetomal three times a day and my doctor has put me on Amitriptyline as I’m not sleeping at night and they are supposed to help nerve pain.


Can anyone tell me how long the pain lasts and even though I’m doing the exercises and have full movement, should I have physio as well?


Is there anything else, from your experience, I can do to try and reduce the pain?


I’m seeing my surgeon on Friday, I hope he has the results, like everyone, the waiting is the worst bit, but the pain under and along my arm is not helping me keep my morale up. :smileysad:

Hi pinkilly


is it definitely nerve pain you’re dealing with?


I have some cording from underarm down the length which causes pain. For this I massage, massaging up towards the shoulder. I would definitely ask for some physio, get as much support as possible and they may be able to give you tips on how to manage. :slight_smile:

It’s difficult to forecast how long pain will continue as we are all individuals and the cause could be different for different people.


It might even be that, at present, you are overdoing the exercises and putting too much strain on your arm. This is something you need to discuss with your Surgeon and Breast Care Nurse on Friday.


Two weeks is only a short time since surgery. Yes, I know the waiting is dreadful - it’s worse than actually getting results and starting treatments. Your body has had major surgery, is still adjusting and will continue to adjust for some time. Getting arm movement back is only part of the journey.


My suggestion is that, as it’s only two days to go before you see the Surgeon, you go easy on the exercises and instead massage your arm gently with some Aveeno cream or something similar, and give it some rest, whilst keeping up with the painkillers advised by your GP.


I had a Grade 3 carcinoma, ER+ 8/8, lumpectomy with axillary node clearance on 24 April. It was three weeks before my path results were through, which was when I saw the Surgeon and BCN. The whole of my left upper arm and the armpit were quite numb with much reduced feeling, and I had periodic pain in my upper arm. The numbness still hasn’t quite gone; I presume this is down to nerve damage during surgery.


Radiotherapy (15 consecutive week days) was from end of June through the first half of July. I had a certain amount of ache in my left upper arm, partly because of the position you have to lie in for delivery of rads. Massaging twice a day with Aveeno cream helped, as did taking Paracetamol. By the end of the rads treatments, my left arm was quite stiff and painful, but that has all gone now.


Check with your BCN which are the most important exercises, and how you need to pace these. You could also check whether any massage might be available to you. Some cancer units offer complementary therapies which can include massage, shiatsu, reflexology, acupuncture and others.


Best of luck with Friday.






Sadly this is not the first major op I’ve had, it’s actually the 13th, lucky for some. One of the operations was to my right shoulder, I lost the use of my right arm for a year, I don’t ever want to go there again. I’m being quite sensible about how much I use the arm, the shooting pains are increasing not decreasing but I suppose that could be the nerves coming back to life, I hope so.

Thank you Appletree.

It may take a while yet. Try not to panic. My underarm was still aching a bit after several months but all is ok now. The nerves get damaged with any surgery and then while they are healing they can start to hurt a little again or at least that it what I was told

I hope you are feeling better,& your results were good.  I am now like you were 2 weeks on & doing my excercises gently & regularly but then pain in my shoulder & down my arm is still, awful taking paracetamols& ibruprofen? Help!