Coping with Surgery forum: Physical Therapy

Views: 11, Replies: 1 » Jump to the end
Nov 7, 2010 11:15 PM CST
Name: Critter (Jill)
Regardless of the type of surgery you have, you'll have some form of physical therapy afterward to be sure you regain your strength and range of motion in your arm and shoulder on the surgical side(s).

PT may be as simple as a series of exercises that you can do at home. Be sure to start slowly and gently. These exercises are very important, but this is not the time to be chanting, "no pain, no gain!" My therapists were very clear in telling me that pain is a signal to stop, or at least not to push farther today with a particular motion.

I was skeptical about the value of sessions at a PT clinic after my surgery. I figured if I did the at-home exercises and felt myself gradually improving, I was doing fine. But I went, and I was surprised at how much the therapist was able to help with reducing my post-operative pain, particularly from the tissue expander (which was pretty well inflated at the end of the surgery). She did some delicate massage techniques to help break down any adhesions (scar tissue) forming under the skin, and she also did a lot of passive movement of my arm and shoulder that really reduced the cramping pains I was having across my pectoral muscle (the one that has been pushed up by the expander).

In addition, she has been able to suggest additional exercises and fine-tune what I'm doing at home, based on my particular situation and rate of recovery. She's also giving me some good advice about regaining some more general physical stamina, since chemotherapy knocked me almost totally off my feet for several months.

So, if your surgeon or hospitalist suggests PT -- don't blow it off! It can play an important role in your recovery after surgery. And the better you recover, the better your body will be able to handle the next step, whether it's chemo or radiation or reconstruction.

Please share your own experiences (good or bad) with physical therapy after surgery.

Remember that any specific exercises described in this forum are things that were recommended for one particular patient -- this discussion is not a substitute for medical advice, and you should check with your doctor or physical therapist to see what exercises are best for you.
Circles of Support for Breast Cancer
I'm learning to dance in the rain! Thank you, Sally & Chris.
Nov 8, 2012 11:36 AM CST
Name: Critter (Jill)
We're been discussing PT on another thread, so I wanted to update this one...

I haven't been back to my physical therapists for quite some time, but I still need to be faithful about doing muscle & skin stretches. If I skip the lymphedema massage more than a day or two, I start getting swelling...

And if I don't continue to move and slide the skin on that side of my chest around, gently stretching it in various directions, I start getting new adhesions. The tissue in the area is mostly pretty "mobile" still, because I've kept at it.

Fewer adhesions means less pain, so keep up with your PT!
Circles of Support for Breast Cancer
I'm learning to dance in the rain! Thank you, Sally & Chris.

« Back to the top
« homepage
« Circles of Support for Breast Cancer cubit homepage
« Coping with Surgery forum

Only subscribed members of this cubit may reply to this thread. There is a "Join this cubit" button at the bottom of this page.

Circles of Support for Breast Cancer

discussion forums, resource links, and personal circles of support

» Home
» Forums
» Links

Cubit owner: critterologist

Admin team:

We expect everyone to be courteous and respectful members of this "me too" community. This is not a place for profanity, political or religious debate, or controversial or disruptive posts. Please don't add or copy photos to or from this site without permission from the image's owner.