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muscle pain and stiffness long after treatment has ended.

Posts: 4
Joined: May 2007

I have muscle pain, stiffness and limited range of motion in all of the muscles that were radiated during my cancer treatment. I was treated over 8 years ago, and this is just now happening. They radiated my lower abdomen and pelvis, including my thighs. Has this happened to anyone else?

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006


You may want to contact the American Cancer Society's National Cancer Information Center. Cancer Information Specialists are available 24 hours a day and can assist you with your questions. They can be reached at 1-800-227-2345. I wish you the very best.

Take care and be well,

CSN Dana

Posts: 46
Joined: Jan 2002

Hi Linda,
This is not an uncommon problem for long term survivors. There is actually one physician in the country who has written on the subject. His name is Michael Stubblefield and he is at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC. He is a rehabilitation physician who specializes in radiation injuries. He has answered some of our questions on the long term survivors discussion group at www.acor.org and they are in our archives viewable by members.
Hope this helps,
Linda Zame

Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2007

Linda / all,
It has been 5 years for me since I received chemo/radiation for lung and brain cancer, and I have muscle pain, stiffness, limited range of motion. For a long-time I considered it a part of getting older (I'm 54)and the lack of activity I went through for 2 years. A week ago I picked up one of my wife's nursing magazines (she has been an RN for 18 years) that featured an article on "The Cancer Survivor’s Prescription for Living" (American Journal of Nursing - April 2007). I found all this to rather normal after effects of chemo / radiation.
I do not remember any of my oncology doctors or nurses telling me about these after effects. So, I am making in my project to help spread the word, in plain, simple words. The nursing article had 15 to 20 percent of the words I had to stop and look up, medical terms. So, unless I can find somebody that has already did it, I wiil have my web booklet ready in a few weeks.
For everybody, DO NOT be afraid to ask questions, knowledge is power.

CherylHutch's picture
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

I would love to read your web booklet when it's ready, cottom! I am only 4 months post-chemo and this is probably my biggest complaing... muscle pain, stiffness and limited range of motion. I am so relieved to hear that this is normal after chemo/radiation!

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2009

Hey guys, I had neck cancer 4 years ago. Chemo/radiation. Stiffness, limited range of motion, the norm basically. But has anyone every heard of or even noticed muscles to "shrink". The side of my neck that had radiation, the muscles seem almost shrunken and im very self-consious about it.It seems like one side of my neck is normal, but the other seems smaller. I wondered if anyone had heard of a solution. thanks

blueroses's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Hello Linda Leger, I am a 20 year survivor of NHL and muscle pain and range of motion issues are very bothersome for me. There is alot of information, as has been pointed out to you here, on this subject so read up as much as you can. I found over the years it very hard to have these kinds of late effects diagnosed though but it seems to be getting a bit better as the medical profession sees it more and more with each new long term survivor they see. I will be entering a Pain Clinic program in the not too distant future and hope they can give me some relief. There are so many things that can cause muscle pain, stiffness and lack of range of motion too so it might take some time before the docs can determine what is causing yours but I will be that it comes down, at least in part, to your treatments. Sometimes some docs are reluctant to 'blame' this kind of medical issue on cancer treatments, preferring to point to age and other reasons first and foremost. Anywho, hang in there, you know your body better than anyone else but remember too, you are not alone, many of us survivors have the same issues. Blessings, Blueroses

Connie Jo
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2009

I am 10 years post surgery after having my right lung removed.
I have so much stiffness that it causes pain every day. After
pleading with my Dr. about any other alternative treatments (I
can't begin to list what I've tried over the years) he recommended
I go see a Physical Medicine & Rehab Dr. which I did. It has been
such a positive treatment that I will continue with it indefinitely.
The treatment is called myofacial/E-stem and the technician works
on muscles and nerves with a machine that relaxes the muscles and
calms the nerves - with no pain. She also works on the facia which
gets stiff. This is basically deep tissue massage which does hurt
at the time but feels so much better long term. These people are
far and few between according to the Dr. The tech has been able to
work on specific areas that not ONE other Dr. or physical therapist
has been able to help. I am very impressed with her work and have
recommended her to many people. (Their office is located in Long Beach,
My best advice is to keep looking for someone who can help you. Never
give up! Be your own best advocate and good luck!
Connie Jo

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2009

I am so glad I came across this! I did not have radiation, only chemo, but I have experienced painful joints, muscles, and had a lot of stiffness especially if I stay in one position for very long. I even mentioned this at a recent visit with my oncologist and he blew it off. He said it could just be my age. I am only 55 and not ready for a nursing home yet! I have always been very limber and have been a gym member most of my adult life then suddenly several months after my chemo was over, this came on.

RE's picture
Posts: 4638
Joined: Feb 2004

I had 16 weeks of rad in 98 for bc cancer. I was told that I could loose total range of motion and use of my hand in the arm and shoulder of the side that was being radiated. It was also explained to me that I could develop lymphedema as a result. I now have both lymphedema and range of motion issues along with severe muscles spasms that rear up every now and again. You too may be having a bit of a lymphedema problem in the pelvis area as there are a lot of lymph nodes located in that region, its worth asking your doctor about.

My best to you,


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