physical therapy

ever1 Member Posts: 26
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hi Everyone!
Has anyone had to have physical therapy due to their arm hurting and the skin feeling sore to touch? It hurts to straighten it, feels sore to touch and is swelling just a little. The swelling is not obvious to others - only to me and by the way my sleeves fit. I had a mastectomy & lymph nodes removed & reconstruction last February. In March of this year, a lump was under my arm, so I had a biopsy through the same incision of the lymph node removal. Since then, my arm has been getting worse. Today, the surgeon recommended physical therapy. Just wondering if any one of you have had physical therapy and whether it helped. Thanks to everyone for your support!


  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
    Hello, my dear.
    I am not far enough out yet (surgery was 8/05...lumpectomy with lymph node removal) to say for sure, but as soon as they let me (even encouraged me) about 1 week after drains came out, I started exercising my arm. I now have full use of it, and only one small spot of numb.
    Please let me know if the P.T. helps you, (post it), so I can file for future reference!
    You are a brave lady!
  • cruf
    cruf Member Posts: 908
    Hi! As a 5 1/2 year survivor and PT, I'll tell you it really helped me. My arm wasn't bad but not normal and I had a Tram Flap so my posture wasn't normal and I was generally deconditioned. I went to PT for about 8 weeks and it did help! I was back at work(PT in a nursing Home) and back on the tennis courts in 7 weeks. I was very pleased. I've had PT several other times for various things and didn't get much relief but did do well after mastectomy. Try it out. It will be uncomfortable but shouldn't be awful. Take some pain meds or at least tyelonal before you go and this will help take off some of the discomfort. Good luck.Feel free to E-mail me if you have any questions. HUGS!! Cathy
  • krkath
    krkath Member Posts: 72
    Hi There,
    I chickened out on the Lat Flap Reconstruction. Do you think it has anything to do with the reconstruction?
    I still have pain in my left arm and numbness. The surgeon had said to expect this since sometimes they cannot help but clip a nerve.
    I have seen a physical therapist, mostly for my legs. With my upper arm I massage it and use a heat creme for the pain. Slowly stretching it above my head to try to get it more flexible, but my first action was to alleviate the pain. Hot baths, gently rubbing under my arm from my armpit to my elbow and Capsaicin creme which is really warming to the muscles. After I got the pain under control then I started the stretching excercises. Physical Therapy is definately recommended. I had to get pretty demanding to even get an appointment.
    Don't forget, also, we are(those with Masectomy and lymph node removal) are prone to lymphadema, where the arm does swell up and you loose mobility, so be careful. A support group member of mine ended up getting lymphadema by lifting her baby daughter over her head. When I saw her she had on that arm sock to keep the swelling down.
    Best of luck to you!
  • Future
    Future Member Posts: 133 Member
    I saw physical therapy and then they gave me option to continue with physical therapist or see a personal trainer through the wellness center. The trainer has been great, like I shared a couple of weeks ago, I passed my physical fitness test. I know some of the fitness gyms around here offer a significant discount for their trainer if you're referred by physical therapy. A church member who's a breast cancer survivor pays $25 a month at a Gold's gym. Not supporting one business over another, just the only one I know about. Only caveat, no matter who you work with ask about their background/knowledge and experience working with mastectomy patient, not all of them have had the additional training needed to work with our unique physical needs.
  • LesleyH
    LesleyH Member Posts: 370
    I bought a book called: Thriving After Breast Cancer : Essential Healing Exercises for Body and Mind. I know the title makes it sound a little new-agey but I love the exercises.


  • 24242
    24242 Member Posts: 1,398
    I have heard of a band of scar tissue that can form that restricts movement and is very paintful since effects nerves and nerve endings. The only way to get mobility is to stretch it out and almost break it up.
    Don't know if this helps
  • Sarah06
    Sarah06 Member Posts: 30
    I may have only had 1 node removed, but my right arm had limited movement and it was painful to move it. I thought I could get through it myself, but ended up needing physical therapy. I would suggest getting a script for physical therapy.
  • uscmom63
    uscmom63 Member Posts: 2
    Message: I have been diagnosed with lymphedema in my right arm. I had to go to a therapist for everyday for two weeks to learn how to massage and bandage to try and remove the fluid from my arm.I wish some one would have lead me to pt. maybe I wouldn't have to be going through all this. Once you are diagnosed with this you have it for life, but they say it is like diabetes once you get it under control then all you do is manage it. So I recommend pt. but try to find someone that has taken Vodder Training they specialize in the massaging cancer patients.

    Good Luck