tightness in arm

jbeardslee Member Posts: 75
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I had a modified radical mastectomy with axillary sampling 3 weeks ago. I'm having some trouble with the cord in my arm becoming tighter each day. The surgeon told me to keep it active but the only excersice he gave me was to stand against the wall and keep moving my hand higher. I do Taebo and work to keep using the arm daily. The doctor says the scar tissue is shrinking as it heals.....does anyone have any suggestions? I've contacted Reach to Recovery but haven't heard from them. I'm grateful that my cancer hadn't spread and that I'm doing so well otherwise; but I'd rather stop this tightness before it gets any worse. Thanks and God Bless you all. jbeardslee


  • cruf
    cruf Member Posts: 908
    Hi! Here are a few ideas.When climbing the wall, climb with both arms . You will be less likely to cheat by twisting your body. Next. cradle your arm like a baby. Gently lift it overhead as far as possible. Try to get higher each time. Also rock it side to side. When that's easy, hold a cane or umbrella or broomstick in your hands. Lie on the floor or on the bed. Lift the stick over your head as far as possible. Try to go further each time. Another, hands behind your head, .Stand facing the corner. Place each elbow on the wall and gently lean into the wall. These are just a few. Don't force movement! Don't move fast. Be gentle but firm. If these don't work, request an eval. by a physical therapist. Good luck! Keep in touch! Cathy
  • lauramarie
    lauramarie Member Posts: 39
    hello j.
    The doctor is right standing beside a wall and walking the fingers up the wall is the best excersice for the arm. Also get a ball about the size of your hand and squeez on it it helps move the blood in the arm. Taebo might be a little much right now. You do need to give it time to heal.. but streatching the muscles is the best thing. If you need any reach to Recovery information just email me here and I will send you a packet. We have a booklet on excersices that are good for the arm. And remember no blood pressure cuff or needles in that arm ANYMORE... Good luck
  • rae_98390
    rae_98390 Member Posts: 28

    Hi my name is Cindy. I had a modified rad. mastectomy over two years ago. My doctor suggested I find a wall I could draw a circle on. I drew on my basement wall. I know it sounds odd but it really helped me. Standing with my side to the wall I started drawing a circle. It was small at first, I tried to make it a bit bigger each day. Somedays my circle was only 1/8" bigger than the day before, some days I could only draw the same size as the day before but I just kept at it. It took a while but it is a way to stretch all this area without causing any damage. I took a few months but I could finally draw a huge circle extending my arm all the way out. My husband just painted the spot over when I was done.

    It did the wall crawl too, but the circle helped the best.

    Hope this works for you. Please post back or email me and let me know if this helped any.

    God bless you

  • gjjoybug
    gjjoybug Member Posts: 7
    After my surgery, my surgeon recommended an excellent local therapist who specializes in cancer care. She showed me some excellent exercises for the lymph cord you're having trouble with. They're pretty simple. Lay on your back on the floor and SLOWLY raise your hands over your head as far as possible. Do this EACH DAY, hopefully getting closer to the floor above your head. Do the same out to the side, raising it gradually until you have full range of motion. Also, while standing or sitting, clasp your hands together above your head and bend your elbows, trying to touch your clasped hands to the back of your neck. Another one is to stand, leaning over and make big circular motions with your arm as if you're stirring something. The key to all of these is to do them SLOWLY and REGULARLY. If you have radiation treatments, the cord can get even tighter as the tissue draws up, so be sure to keep stretching, within your pain tolerance. Good luck -- take care. Joy
  • waynick
    waynick Member Posts: 12
    Hello. I also had this right after my surgery. It worried me also but your doctor is right about the stretching. Just keep that up. I would put a hot pad ( not too hot) on the area that was tight and then begin to stretch it out afterwards. Do this a couple of times a day at least and you will be doing much better soon. It worries you to stretch it but believe me it is the best thing for it. Good luck!!
  • thatkylady
    thatkylady Member Posts: 1
    I think the sweeling is normal and the exercise should help..I am a BC survivor of 2 & 1/5 years! PRAISE THE LORD..and it will get easier..they told me that those exercises do help and I am still doing them..
    God bless Thatkylady
  • judyd
    judyd Member Posts: 124
    Hi, I just read your post. I had surgery in Dec. & I had the same trouble. I had done my exercises faithfully at least two or three times a day. I had been doing real good & then I found each day I was getting worse again. I asked my surgeon about it & he referred me for physical therapy. They had me doing most of the exercises Cathy told you to do. They would also go in there & massage that every day to break up that scar tissue. Yikes! It really hurt but started getting better. they told me I could even do that at home, just massage under my arm & on down the back of it. I went three days a week for three weeks. I never had any more trouble with that. I have trouble with my shoulder at times. It just pops when I do certain things & it really hurts. It seems the simpler things hurt it the worst. I can mow the yard & do things like that & it doesn't bother me at all. It is strange. My MD gave me vioxx to try to see if that would help. It seemed to a little. Good luck to you. Judy