How Vancouver Physiotherapy Can Help with Breast Cancer and Mastectomy Recovery
Initially, your arm movement may be limited into the over-head reach positions and this task may be painful. Your muscles will have weakened and shortened and will require physiotherapy to restore normal length and strength.
Also greatly impacted by this type of surgery is the lymphatic system (part of the circulatory system of arteries and veins). Its specific function is to remove excess water and impurities from the blood and tissues. When lymphatic vessels are impaired or when lymph nodes are removed, lymph pathways become congested or blocked and can result in swelling. This chronic, persistent swelling in the arm(s), breast, abdomen, legs, neck or head is called lymphedema.
What Can Physiotherapy Do to Help?
What Treatment Can Physiotherapy Provide?
In the early phase, massage and soft-tissue release techniques are carried out in conjunction with stretching to reduce cording and to assist you to regain range of motion but without exacerbation of pain or undue strain to the healing tissues. We also provide posture correction and specific individualized exercises appropriate for your stage of healing, carrying out joint mobilization and manual therapy to reduce stiffness in the neck or back areas and relieve discomfort. In addition, diaphragmatic breathing combined with exercise and compression garments can facilitate a muscle/joint pump action to prevent or reduce any limb swelling.
Your physiotherapist will guide you regarding the time-lines for returning to a normal active life. She will prescribe and direct a more progressive exercise regimen once adequate tissue healing has taken place. Only a physiotherapist with the appropriate background medical knowledge, expertise and experience would be ideally suited to provide this post-mastectomy rehabilitation through all stages of your recovery process.
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IMS is a needling technique using a fine acupuncture needle to help reduce adverse tone in tight muscle bands or trigger points that contribute to pain and dysfunction. By targeting localized areas of tightness with the needle insertion, a ‘muscle cramping’ and reflex relaxation is produced in the muscle.
Discover a safe and effective stretch to help your recovery after mastectomy. Susan Deslippe, a physiotherapist at Go! Physiotherapy Sports + Wellness Centre in Vancouver, will show you how.
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