Four-year battle with pain ends with successful operation

A young woman from across the ditch has finally been able to resume her active lifestyle, thanks to treatment from a pain specialist at St John of God Murdoch Hospital.


In 2016, then 18-year-old New Zealand woman Shana McManus began experiencing crippling stomach pain. Despite countless scans, tests and medications, nothing was bringing her any relief.

“Over the next four years and countless medical appointment, the pain was still unexplained and I was gradually participating less in running, ballet and social activities with my friends. I was taking a lot of pain medication and sometimes couldn’t get out of bed,” the now 22-year-old said.

“While I was searching online for other cases like mine, I saw a YouTube clip about Perth teenager Skye Shaw, who suffered the same symptoms.”

Pain specialist Prof Krishna Boddu had diagnosed Skye with ‘Abdominal Cutaneous Nerve entrapment’.

Alongside her GP in Auckland, she underwent a physical exam with Prof Boddu via FaceTime, with Shana’s GP acting as his hands and eyes until he was able to confirm that she too was suffering with the same nerve entrapment.

Following the diagnosis, Shana travelled to Perth with her mum for surgery on Saturday 29 February. Her recovery was swift and while she was in Perth she made the most of visiting tourist sites in Perth and the southwest.

She describes her trip to Perth as an adventure.

“I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel after the surgery or if the treatment would even work for me, I was anxious to say the least,” Shana said.

“I woke up Sunday morning and felt no pain in my abdomen, aside from bruising like pain at each injection site, and thus began my holiday. I was told to keep active but I had no idea how active I really would be!”

“I have been able to start looking ahead and get back into activities I previously enjoyed doing prior to my pain. These activities include playing on a sports team, hiking, and other physical pursuits.

“It has been an incredible feeling waking up each morning without abdominal pain, and I have continuously been pressing down on my abdomen just to make sure it’s real and that the treatment has completely worked.

“I am incredibly grateful to the team at St John of God Murdoch for their support, compassion and professionalism during my battle with nerve entrapment and I thank each and every staff member that has been part of my journey.”


Nerve entrapment

Prof Krishna Boddu, who has been operating at Murdoch since 2013, said that nerve entrapment was rare but may be caused by exercise, stretching or tearing of muscles and sometimes after surgical procedures.

“In searching for the cause of pain, many health professionals will focus inside the abdomen, whereas the abdominal wall, which is full of nerve endings, is often ignored,” he said.

“In these rare cases, the nerve entrapment can be identified by careful physical examination, mapping of pain and the use of various imaging techniques and correlating the findings with clinical picture and the location of pain.

“Without diagnosis, Shana’s pain would have gotten worse over time and this type of nerve entrapment doesn’t respond well to pain medications.”

Shana is continuing a strict six-week regime of exercise and stretching to avoid re-entrapment of the nerve.