Aa
MedHelp.org will cease operations on May 31, 2024. It has been our pleasure to join you on your health journey for the past 30 years. For more info, click here.
Aa
A
A
A
Close
Avatar universal

pain in left shoulder after eating

I am a 46 year old female with a history of abdominal surgery ( laproscopic- Nissen fundu.) for GERD.  I experience left shoulder pain immediately following surgery and it last for several weeks.  The doctor stated it was caused by irritation of the diaphram nerve during the surgical procedure.   I am 16 months post surgery and again experience left shoulder pain after eating a meal(2 weeks).  It is a sharp pain in my left shoulder and radiates up the left side of my neck .  Do you have any suggestions of what may be causing the pain?  I believe it is related to my stomach some how.
Thanks
Sister Denny
38 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
Avatar universal
Pancreatitis can have radiating pain to the left shoulder or lower back. The Pancreas is responsible for making enzymes that break down food especially fat. When a heavy meal or high fat meal is consumed this can cause pain. Check with you doctors to ensure your pancreas is healthy, Management may be as simple as eating a better diet or you could be put on artificial enzymes that need to be consumed with every meal. I am unsure of the irritated nerve in the diaphram, thay may to be a source of the pain. I would stongly advise though that if the pain comes after a hight fat meal to speak with your MD about your pancreas. I am an RN by the way.
Helpful - 1
2 Comments
Thank you so much, Shanna! I think you are right in my case!
I found that FODMAP diet, stomach exercises help me - read my answer below on March 31, 2018.
Avatar universal
Update 2:
1. I did the HP-Pac treatment and the H. pylori bacteria was killed. I had a couple of painful weeks right after the treatment, I guess that was because I had problems with digesting because all the good bacteria in my intestine was killed by HP-Pac antibiotic treatment. Anyway killing H. pylori bacteria may be helped me to relieve left shoulder a little bit but not much - most of the pain remained.
2. I did more medical tests and one of the doctors who did endoscopy on me, before he did the endoscopy he listen to my story and said that it very likely that I have  irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and that FODMAP diet could help me. He was right!!! Now I am on a FODMAP diet (not very strict) and it really helps me a lot!!!
3. Although FODMAP diet helps me a lot I still have problems because something is wrong with my intestine - although I do not have pain, I have unpleasant feelings in stomach, I often feel tired and sleepy and I feel that my shoulder become stiff. So I continue to do stomach massage exercise about once an hour - and immediately after stomach exercise I feel much better and energetic!
For stomach massage I do exercises 10, 11 and 12 from here:
https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/ss/slideshow-exercises
And I also do the exercise: laying on the back, legs banded at the knees at 90 degree. Putting knees to the floor to the right for 5 seconds and then slowly moving them to the floor to the left for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
4. I also go to gym at least once a week. It helps me a lot - it clears my brain function - thinking.
Wow! How was I able to figure out what was wrong with me and what to do to fix it!!! So many hints from  unexpected places, peoples and moments!!! I believe that only with God's help was I able to figure that out! Glory to Jesus Christ - only with His help I live without shoulder and stomach pain today!
Helpful - 0
2 Comments
Update3: I do stomach massage exercise for about 5 minutes every 1-2 hours.
I forgot, one more, 5-th, stomach exercise: lay on the back, gently press the palm of your hand on your abdominal area and move it around on your abdominal area clockwise.
Avatar universal
I too have pain in left shoulder for about 15 years. I am a 44 a little bit overweight male. Only about 3 weeks ago after researching Internet I realized that the cause of pain is in the stomach area. I found that there are two phrenic nerves that originates in the neck (C3-C5) and passes down between the lung and heart to reach the diaphragm. The problem is that some sources describe the right phrenic nerve as innervating the gallbladder - it looks like it happens only in a few people. I think this is where the problem is.
Since childhood I did not take well greasy food. Now I find that I am particularly do not take well meat -  so I eat it only like once in three weeks. I also often have bloating, belching and pass gas.
After I eat, almost always, I feel a little bit heavy and unpleasant in stomach area. Soon after I cannot turn my head to the left because neck becomes stiff. Sometime later I feel pain in left shoulder. Which often becomes extremely painful.
What helps me: laying down on the back on a bed soon after I eat and gently massaging stomach especially close to rib cage. I can feel some stiff places in different parts of stomach. I gently massage those stiff places for about 15-30 minutes. After that my stomach becomes soft and I feel much better - pain is gone. I do this gentle stomach massaging almost after every meal and whenever I feel unpleasant in stomach or left shoulder so in total 4-7 times a day. After I started to do the massage 3 weeks ago I am new man - I feel so much better - I can work so much longer without pain!
I do believe that the problem is that in some people something squeezes a shoot from phrenic nerve in the stomach area. In my case I think that it could be gas pressing on gallbladder or pancreas or stomach. Or may be some ducts in those organs are not functioning properly and inflame and squeeze phrenic nerve. In any case gentle stomach massaging is helping me!
Originally my doctor did not know anything about this and treated me from inflamed neck muscles/tendons.
I wish some doctor would get to the button of this and help those who suffer from this terrible pain.
Helpful - 0
3 Comments
Update: My doctor did blood and breath tests that confirmed that I have an active H. pylori bacteria in my stomach. I do have several symptoms that are associated with H. pylori: Frequent bloating, Frequent burping, Frequent unpleasant feelings in stomach and the pain in left shoulder that gets worse if I skip a meal.
My doctor says that frequent bloating pushes on the nerves in my diaphragm and that is probably what causes a referred pain in my left shoulder. I asked my doctor why stomach massage helps me, she said it probably helps to move gas and thus relieves the pressure on the diaphragm.
I started the HP-Pac treatment today to kill H. pylori bacteria.
I will let you know if this is going to help to relieve all the pains.
Update 2:
1. I did the HP-Pac treatment and the H. pylori bacteria was killed. I had a couple of painful weeks right after the treatment, I guess that was because I had problems with digesting because all the good bacteria in my intestine was killed by HP-Pac antibiotic treatment. Anyway killing H. pylori bacteria may be helped me to relieve left shoulder a little bit but not much - most of the pain remained.
2. I did more medical tests and one of the doctors who did endoscopy on me, before he did the endoscopy he listen to my story and said that it very likely that I have  irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and that FODMAP diet could help me. He was right!!! Now I am on a FODMAP diet (not very strict) and it really helps me a lot!!!
3. Although FODMAP diet helps me a lot I still have problems because something is wrong with my intestine - although I do not have pain, I have unpleasant feelings in stomach, I often feel tired and sleepy and I feel that my shoulder become stiff. So I continue to do stomach massage exercise about once an hour - and immediately after stomach exercise I feel much better and energetic!
For stomach massage I do exercises 10, 11 and 12 from here:
https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/ss/slideshow-exercises
And I also do the exercise: laying on the back, legs banded at the knees at 90 degree. Putting knees to the floor to the right for 5 seconds and then slowly moving them to the floor to the left for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
4. I also go to gym at least once a week. It helps me a lot - it clears my brain function - thinking.
Wow! How was I able to figure out what was wrong with me and what to do to fix it!!! So many hints from  unexpected places, peoples and moments!!! I believe that only with God's help was I able to figure that out! Glory to Jesus Christ - only with His help I live without shoulder and stomach pain today!
I do stomach massage exercise for about 5 minutes every 1-2 hours.
Avatar universal
I have had the pain also. I have had digestive issue on and off for years. I have had a complete Gi work up and did not want to go through that again. I found a dr trained by Dr. Weils. She is running test to find out the cause, But she gave me a bottle Of GerdX-PO. I've only been on it for a day now but I can eat! The pain has gone from a 10 down to a two. :)
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
I had this pain for over ten years before God gave me the answer. The pay always happened after big dinner meal. I don't have any allergies so the answer was funny. "Milk" I had a glass of milk with every meal. I quit drinking milk the pain stoped,started drink milk again,pain was back. Stoped milk for the last 7 years......no pain . Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
I have been going through this for 4 months now.I had x rays on my neck , I had ct scan on my neck and solder and i just had a MRI.I do have a problem with a couple vertebrae but the dr. doesn't seem to think operating will help.up till a couple weeks ago i noticed the pain after eating.The pain brings me to tears most of the time.I am in pain as i write this because i just finished eating.I am a social man but lately my life has come to a hault. I need answers. I'm going to a shoulder Dr. next and then a upper and lower Gi series.I can't stand it anymore. Where ever i go i end up leaving early ......Help us


Helpful - 0
2 Comments
Hello, I have had this same issue for awhile now. I know this post is old, but did you ever get an answer?
Re to mooky13: I found that FODMAP diet, stomach exercises helped me to remove the pain in left shoulder - read my answer here below dated March 31, 2018.
Avatar universal

Try drinking a LOT of water right away!

I just had the same thing after dinner tonight. I came back from work and I did some boxing only for 5 minutes then eat dinner. only one minute after dinner I got this pain attack exactly like somebody stick a knife in the back of my neck. I had more than 10 surgeries before because of accidents and sports and I remembered I got this once before and it felt as close to death experience. I had to push my self to the closest water bottle and drink as much as I can. The pain went away in 5 minutes! Although I drink more water than an average person I got super dehydrated I guess! seriously "We have made ​​from water every living thing"
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi I too suffer with severe pain in my left shoulder usually after indulging myself in a large carvery meal. It is as most people describe a severe stabbing pain. I had a third of my small intestine removed January 2013 ( mainly my jejunum) following a benign double perforated tumour was found and I went in to total obstruction requiring emergency surgery. I have only experienced the pain since my operation but to be honest albeit painful I am just glad to be alive. I don't seem to experience as much if I only eat smaller meals. Here's hoping you find a solution.
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
Re to DeeMK: I found that FODMAP diet, stomach exercises helped me to remove the pain in left shoulder - read my answer here below dated March 31, 2018.
Avatar universal
My wife had a full abdominal surgery last year and had ovaries, womb, gallbladder and appendix taken out in one operation. She has made a full recovery but now suffers with this intense pain in her left shoulder thats radiating up to her neck. This only happens a few minutes after she has eaten. She then has to lay down on the floor to help ease the pain. sometimes she doesn't even get to finish her meal as it sometimes starts while eating.
Her Doctor said its unrelated to her surgery but i highly doubt that, and he said its a (Referred Pain). There are 3 different  types of oral medication she has tried and so far none of them have worked which is very disappointing. So over a year has past since her operation and she has been suffering with this for over 11 months.
We hope there is something out there to cure those who have (shoulder revered pain).
So removing the gallbladder doesn't prove to cure revered shoulder pain as my wife doesn't have a gallbladder now and she get intense pains.
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
I'm thinking maybe a nutionalist could help...But it seems like it's to long to be something like where the gas settled after a surgery...But having so much done at once. I'd diffently see a heart dr maybe answers there. Good luck
Avatar universal
I had my gallbladder removed about 3 months ago from similar attacks and since the gallbladder has been removed I am have at least 3-4 of these attacks per week start in stomach and move up to my left shoulder, I find they come from no where I have had a small sip of water first thing of the day and a attack has come on also from a cup of tea always come on from the first bite of a meal and the food just sits at the top of my stomach I vomit sometimes get very light headed! I take buscapan 20mg sometimes I take 2 then the pain starts to ease and I get a weasy feeling which makes me cough and then the pain goes away, it's really weird and extremely annoying and frustrating, seeing dr next week hopefully can get to the bottom of this as can't put up with it for much longer! Had been great reading that I'm not alone in this.
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
I'm thinking maybe you should see a nutritionist..I find they have been very helpful with fining out if stomach is the Problem of many things that you wouldn't even ever begin to realize
Avatar universal
I too suffer with this problem even now 2 years post colon resection for ca colon. So many people on here with sam/similar problem but no one seems to have the answer. My gp says diaphragm irritation and nerve damage from surgery but dont think she really knows and only those that surrer truly understand
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I too suffer with this problem even now 2 years post colon resection for ca colon. So many people on here with sam/similar problem but no one seems to have the answer. My gp says diaphragm irritation and nerve damage from surgery but dont think she really knows and only those that surrer truly understand
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Well I am another who thought it was just me.  I'm a 61 year old female, overweight, no surgeries, long history of GERD.  I only noticed this pain in the last couple of years, and it used to be only after lunch!  Never breakfast or dinner.  Tonight, I got it while eating dinner in a Mexican restaurant and decided to check it out online.  I was astonished to see so many other people with the same complaint!  Mine is more in my collarbone on the left side, though it does radiate out to the shoulder.  It's a very uncomfortable ache and I tend to rub or massage from the collarbone outward trying to get relief.  Generally this passes in 15 minutes or so, but until now I've never had a clue why it comes, nor why it goes. Since I take ranitidine or Tums fairly often anyway, I wouldn't have known if the cessation came from the medication or not.  Interesting!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Wow, cannot believe so many people with my same problem.  I recently had a major surgery involving removal of a tumor in my kidney cavity (already had kidney removed), spleen removal, and part of the tail of my pancreas removed.  Surgery went well but its been only 2-1/2 months since and now I get that sharp pain in my left shoulder but it does not radiate up to my neck.
It is however extremely painful and seems to only happen when I eat a full meal.  I told my family and they look at you like you"re crazy.  I am so grateful for finding this site.  I am going to try and not eat full meals, just more smaller meals.  Good luck everyone!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Ok so I have had this from being in my early teens My dad got it in his 20's. I got it in my early teens . Son number 2 early 20's son number 4 early 20's daughter 1 from being a few months old. Daughter two early teens  Out of 7 children I have 3 who are not affected.

We have had all the tests known to Man. from white cell scans to normal exrays, Nothing ever truns up.

can start with a dull ach around the side them full blown attack. Hurts to move breath lay flat hit the shoulder moves around over  a few days some times mirror on the opposit side to  where is starts. goes accross the tummy and eventulay passes . Spells can be a few days or much longer, puts you in bed on pain killers and really bad attacks see you crying and fighing to get enough air in you, Look up T.R.A.P.S of non familar meditaranion  or non fam Hibirnian.,  The write up for these fit my symptoms perfectly. Most the time, No cure though no ideas of how to stop the shoulder neck pain on eatingwhen you have qa bad bout.

Sorry if this is a bit jumbled but off work today in bed with another bout. no trigger (I use to think nuts and bazil and pork, were common in my attacks. but then you have them other times and you dont get ill,,. Its almost like you get a irratation from  something you have eaten that acouses a reaction that triggers  inflamation that irriates  and causes pain, Then its like what ever it is causes a lot of wind that moves around and untill it all goes right around the gastro tract your screwed.   I was to know how to dispell the wind and pain. Charcol and wind ease peppermint, hot water and all the other things I have come accross and nothing works!!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Yesterday was my 4th doctors appointment over this. I have had this off and on for a year.  I am 38 physically fit, no surgeries, no alcohol or cigarettes, pretty healthy diet-not an over eater, at 5'7" I weigh 130LBS.  I have had an endoscopy, EKG, ultrasound, x-rays, blood tests and all is normal-thank God, but disappointing at the same time.
      My shoulder pain is similar to everyone else's. Too much fatty, rich, processed, or sugary food and within moments stabbing intensity in my left shoulder only. My remedy has been limiting my food intake (no fun) and veggies and fruit (no fun).  Today I learned that even low fat yogurt causes me pain!!! The pain is lingering longer too. it used to fade away in an hour, now it's sticking around for a couple days.
     At this point I am on a mission to find answers, because like others, it is getting worse. I think there's truth behind a Gall Bladder and diaphragm relationship to this freakish ailment. I am a Christian believer who trusts in the truth behind Christ's healing power, (for me this includes medical, practical and common sense solutions as well as super natural ones). If anyone finds clues to solving this dilemma-please share, perhaps we can crack this mystery collectively.

    
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I can't believe so many other people have this ... I thought I was crazy (as did everyone who I told "when I eat too much, rather than get a cramp in my stomach, I get a cramp in my left shoulder"!

I have had this for as long as I can remember and am nearly 50 now!

I've never had any kind of stomach surgery, but when in hospital to have my appendix removed, I had my left shoulder cramping thing ALL the time.  I told the Dr "I have a pain in my left shoulder that I normally get when I eat too much."  The Dr didn't seem phased at all by my remark and just commented "Ah yes, that's because there is pressure on your diaphragm."

So, it's definitely something to do with the diaphragm.  I just wish I knew why some people get this pain when eating a big meal, and those that don't think we are crazy!
Helpful - 0
11585043 tn?1419613267
This last Christmas eve was the first time I've experienced this kind of pain. I ate so much food during the evening dinner -- meat, potatoes, rolls, wine -- you name it -- that when I had barely finished stuffing myself, I started to feel a slow slice into my shoulder. It felt like I was being impaled. Excruciating!

I feel better now, but this was a thoroughly sobering experience for me. It made realize how much more attention I should pay towards my body and what I put into it. I hope, I truly hope that I never experience it again. I feel bad that it's a regular occurrence for some. My best wishes to those who suffer from this affliction.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
So I'm not crazy!  About 15 years ago the pain in my left shoulder got so bad when I started eating that I almost quit eating all together.  It hurt so bad that I would sit and rock and cry.  I lost a lot of weight. After a few months, it went away.  Just like that!  It was gone.  Well, it's back.  Not as bad thank god, but it is back.  As I am getting full, it starts to come on, like a knife is being twisted in my shoulder socket.  It takes my breath away.  My husband can see what's going on by the look on my face.  I have figured out that it is more the amount of food rather than the type of food.  I am a very healthy 51 year old female.  The only surgery I have had was a c-section 24 years ago.  I hope this can be figured out.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I too am having this pain. I thought it was gas from not being able to burp yet. I'm only 8 days out from surgery and can hardly swallow water. Every-time the pain is so bad. I'm glad I found this page. I'm having issues and am afraid. I also can't talk I have a nasally voice the air keeps coming out my nose
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I had my gall bladder removed 4 years ago and still suffer occasionally from the same painful attacks that sent me to the emergency and 2 days later surgery. Now I have been suffering lately with sharp left shoulder blade pain after eating a meal. I noticed that I get the pain if I eat a little too much. I decided to look it up on line and found this site. I really didn't think I would find anything and am surprised to find so many suffering the same symptoms. I guess my next move is to make a dr. appointment and get to the bottom of this. Sorry I don't have any answers yet.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I forgot to say. The shoulder pain is every time I eat anything. I only eat soft foods. No meat or bread. I have been to the ER and had every test done. My surgeon is no help at all. It's so frustrating. Any information would be so helpful!!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I had the Nissen wrap on Nov 1st 2013. I have had terrible left shoulder pain for the past month. I just had a hydra scan last week and my gallbladder is functioning less than 28%. Did you have your gallbladder out and if so. Did the shoulder pain stop?  I can't take this pain.
Helpful - 0
7943671 tn?1395622230
I am so glad that I found this page.  I thought I was the only one with this problem.  I couldn't understand why my left shoulder would hurt so bad after I ate a meal.  I too have had stomach surgeries.  Three to be exact but I just couldn't see the connection between the surgeries and the shoulder pain.  Reading these posts have helped me to understand a lot better and it makes me feel better to know that I am not the only one with this problem.
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
Re to VikiH: I found that FODMAP diet, stomach exercises help me - read my answer below on March 31, 2018.
Avatar universal
I too am amazed at the number of people who suffer this pain!  I had gastric banding surgery three years ago and have suffered this severe pain since the very day of my surgery. Sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. After many visits to chiro,physio,oesteo, and finally a second shoulder surgeon who confirmed it had nothing to do with my shoulder and was more than likely from my stomach  Finally I went to a new bariatric doctor who confirmed that the pain was associated with my stomach, after loosening my band i can now identify the foods that trigure the pain. Finally an answer ... I am finding pasta a problem and general overheating (feeling very full). I am monitoring now and my doctor will re-***** and decide whether or not to carry out further test on my spleen and diaphragm. I am very grateful to be heading in the right direction after 3 years, I was truly beginning to think I was going crazy!!! Good luck to every else that suffers this most distressing pain :-)
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
Re to DaniLoc: I found that FODMAP diet, stomach exercises helped me to remove the pain in left shoulder - read my answer here below dated March 31, 2018
2
This discussion was closed by the MedHelp Community Moderation team. If you have any questions please contact us.

You are reading content posted in the Gastroenterology Community

Popular Resources
Learn which OTC medications can help relieve your digestive troubles.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
Discover common causes of and remedies for heartburn.
This common yet mysterious bowel condition plagues millions of Americans
Don't get burned again. Banish nighttime heartburn with these quick tips
Get answers to your top questions about this pervasive digestive problem