3 weeks post op, upper back & chest pain; is this normal? (Photo)

5'4" 125lb eat clean and exercised regularly pre-surgery. Recovery going well. Went 2 work after 2 weeks, desk job. Nearly standing straight-until noon, then hunched. Can't work more than 4-6hrs w/o back pain/swelling. I also started light housework- vacuum, dishes, garbage, etc. Started sleeping on side. Can't sleep through night still & have pain now in upper back-spine/right shoulder blade & chest muscle same side. Taking 800mg Advil & Valium at night. Only takes edge off pain-Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 14

Mommy Makeover Recovery

Your symptoms are normal at this point but I do believe you are over-exerting yourself at this point.  I advise all of my patients to take it easy for at least 2-3 weeks.  They are not permitted to sleep on their sides until the 3 week mark and they are not permitted to lift anything over 5 lbs until the two week mark and nothing over 15 lbs until the three week mark.   I do believe your pain is from too much activity too soon, but my recommendation is to consult your board certified plastic surgeon and follow the instructions they advise you to as each surgeon has their own protocol for recovery!


Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Still in pain 3 weeks after tummy tuck and breast augmentation

  • You are recovering well but definitely doing too much.
  • I tell all my patients that the first week back to work they will be exhausted -
  • And no exercise or house work until at least 4 weeks, usually 6-8.
  • Check in with your surgeon but the pain you describe sounds 'normal' for a person doing too much after these operations =
  • Be kind to yourself, let the house go and do nothing except get to work and relax afterwards until your surgeon gives you the green light to do more. 
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

Post op pain

I think the problem may be that you are overdoing it and your body is reacting accordingly. Try scaling things back a bit -- being very careful not to lift anything over 5 lbs. Resting a lot. Eating well. Drinking lots of water. Things should improve. Definitely share you concerns with your surgeon. Best, Dr. Nazarian

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Take it easy

Congrats on making it through a major surgery.  Your results look great.  Now it is time to take it easy.  No awards are given for too much exertion other than continued pain and poor healing.  Put your feet up :)

Cheers and best wishes!
Steven Camp MD
#HappyCamperMD 

Steven M. Camp, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Mummy makeover recovery

Its normal to have aches and pains after surgery particularly as you begin to resume your regular activities.  Its very important to avoid heavy lifting and vigourous activity for six weeks after surgery and then ease back into your normal routine.  Its possible you have been doing too much so listen to your body and take things easy.  Follow your surgeons post operative guidelines for the best results.

Mommy Makeover Recovery

Thank you for your question regarding recovery from a 'Mommy Makeover'. Your symptoms are completely normal  for 3 weeks post-op. Following surgery, you will be weaker than you were before. It will take some time to regain your strength and it is important not to overdo it. If you are having symptoms, I think you should consider working less and cutting back on the house chores. You should not be lifting anything over 10 pounds for the first 3-4 weeks. Please follow up with your plastic surgeon and adhere to his restrictions.  Your results look good so far!

Convalescence after mommy makeover vary from patient to patient.

Remember that she had a sizable amount of surgery and three weeks is fairly early into the healing regimen. You will not to damage to the operation by the activities that you are presently engaged in but recovery from the activities of the day will be much more difficult for a while.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

3 weeks post op

It looks like you are on your way to getting a great result but you may have started doing too much activity which is now prolonging your recovery.  You should speak to your PS about your back and chest pain to make sure the pain is from surgery and not anything else.  Good luck!

Anh Lee, MD
El Paso Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Is this normal?

Hello MellyQ and thanks for your questions. It sounds like you're having a hard time returning back to work and perhaps your pushing your body too much too early. Speak with your plastic surgeon about possibly taking some more time off and about chest/back right away. Best wishes, Dr. ALDO

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 192 reviews

Post Tummy Tuck Pain

Thank you for your question and photos. Healing is a process and overall it appears you are doing quite well. After tummy tuck and breast augmentation you are sore in many different places. You often don't realize how much you rely on your abdominal muscles for posture and daily activities and are likely compensating with your back muscles which is causing your discomfort. Most of these complaints sound pretty normal after a mommy makeover. I would discuss your activity restrictions with your plastic surgeon as you do not want to overdo it during the early healing process. Best of luck on a speedy recovery, Dr. Kludt

Nathan Kludt, MD
Stockton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.