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Nerve Pain after Lymph Node Surgery - Help to Manage
15 Posts

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping someone can offer some help for nerve pain.

I have IDC, HER2 +,in my left breast, had a lumpectomy at Halloween then a lymph node biopsy last week. They took 3 nodes, really far under my arm. Have oncology and radiation appointments booked in the next 2 weeks.

I think i must be extra-sensitive. Still had pain in my breast 8 weeks after the lumpectomy.
Now 1 week after the DLNB my armpit and upper arm are very painful and getting worse.
i have numness in the upper arm, along my 'bingo wing' :) The pain is in the upper arm but has migrated to the armpit. I can relieve it lying down in a certain position, but the exercises and moving around make it worse. It's weird bit I can also relieve it by pressing on in.
I'm icing it and have ordered some capsaicin cream. See Dr tomorrow and will ask for Lyrica or Gabapentin too.

Who else has experienced this? Does it get better over time? What else can I try to manage the pain? I've read about shots.
I'm really worried about having this pain during my chemo and radiation that will be starting soon.
Sending positive thoughts to you all.

5 Replies

Sorry you are having this pain. There may be something to being nerve sensitive as you mention taking 8 weeks post lumpectomy before the pain went away.

My lumpectomy and axillary dissection were 12 years ago so don't remember anything about a similar pain in the armpit - though I do remember it healing better and faster than my lumpectomy.

You mention you are seeing a doctor soon. Is that a post op with the surgeon or your GP? Did the surgeon give you any expectations of pain and/or numbness and duration?

Hoping you can get some answers, and relief, sooner than later.


1580 Posts

good morning. that sounds just awful.

I know when I had my lumpectomy/sentinal node biopsy it was definitely the axilla area that took the longest to heal up, and I did have some nerve stuff happening. not to the extent that you are tho, you poor thing. 😍

I might ask @Skye2 to chime in here. if I recall she may have had some of the same pain as you are experiencing.

for sure, talk to the medical team. and try some of the pharmaceutical nerve meds….nerve pain is something else….ugh.

let us know how things move along for you. thanks for your post - no doubt this helps others in the same situation.


#postsurgery #nervepain #breastcancer #breastfriends

341 Posts


thanks @supersu for he tag. Caz, I had a double mastectomy with bilateral sentinel lymph node biopsies as well as a left axillary dissection, and I think 9 lymph nodes originally taken on the left side. I got that stabbing, burning neuropathic pain. I was in tears… I would sit with ice packs under my arms.

I got in touch with my surgeon and went on Lyrica (Gabapentin) 50 mg 3x /day. It did get rid of it, but it has to build up to a certain level first. I also still have numbness in my “bingo wing”! On the left side, and my initial surgery was April 2021. (It has never gone away).

I also had to have the remainder of my lymph nodes removed on the left side as there were more positive nodes, even after chemo….

I stayed on the lyrica for 1 year as I knew they had to go back for those lymph nodes, and It didn’t do any harm to stay on it for me. I weaned off it the month before I was going back to work (as an OR nurse).

That burning, stabbing pain never came back, and mine was positional as well.

Absolutely speak with your surgeon, and try the lyrica….

I hope you get some relief.


15 Posts

@Skye2 @supersu @Lianne_Moderator

Thank you for your kind words. It's so funny, but it really does help and make a big differenced hearing that someone else has experience this.

My doctors appointment yesterday was my initial consult with the medical oncologist. He said not to be worried about my range of motion, that it was good. But I have to reach back to the surgeon to get the Lyrica, so I'm doing that. The cream I got actually helps, and takes the edge off. It's called LivRelief.

I'm getting Paclitaxel plus Herceptin for 12 weeks, then radiation, then Herceptin for the rest of the year. Radiation consilt next week. (So happy to have a plan, and really impressed with the cancer clinic. Support seems much better than dealing with my surgeon on my own)

I asked about nerve pain (neuropathy) side-effects and was told it's possible. I will definitely do my research to try to prevent that (ice I think), and hopefully like Skye that Lyrica will help.

Again, thank you so much!!

Hope you have a wonderful day 😊

Good to hear back from you. Happy that you have a plan and that the cream is helping too.

Keep us posted as you are comfortable.


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