Breast Cancer Rehab
Women recovering from breast cancer surgery and treatment face many challenges; pain, movement limitations, fatigue, lymph edema and all of the emotional issues that arise when dealing with a serious illness.
WHAT COMMON ISSUES MAY ARISE FROM BREAST CANCER AND POST MASTECTOMY?
- Decreased shoulder range of motion
- Decreased shoulder strength
- Poor Posture
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Increased risk for premature Osteoporosis
- Increased risk for Lymphedema & Sarcopenia
- Physiological Muscular Imbalances
- Impaired functional ability to perform activities of daily living
- Some of the most problematic side effects from surgery include decreased mobility in the shoulder and decreased stability and strength in the shoulder girdle. Many Pilates exercises designed or adapted specifically for breast cancer patients help tackle these shoulder-area issues.
- Post-surgery breast cancer patients tend to limit their exercise and movement to the point that they set back their recovery. Many also develop guarding habits, such as raising their arm on the affected side to protect against being touched or jostled, that can cause further mobility problems in the shoulder area. Pilates can make a huge difference. It is more difficult restoring shoulder mobility in patients who stay guarded in a sling for six to eight weeks.
- Lymphedema, swelling in the arm caused by fluid that is not properly draining, is also common among breast cancer patients. These side effects can interfere with basic daily activities like getting dressed. Pilates’ emphasis on breathing techniques helps prevent injury by relaxing the body as a whole, and repeated gentle muscle contractions can help promote lymph node drainage to reduce the swelling caused by lymphedema.
- To help patients get back to their everyday routines more quickly, we encourage clients to do low-intensity Pilates exercises as soon as they get the OK from their doctor, ideally within a week of their surgery.
During cancer rehabilitation, the concepts of breathing, pelvic and lumbar spine alignment, rib cage placement, shoulder mobility and stability, and head and neck alignment can be applied to any Pilates movement. Bringing awareness to posture can be the first step in improving daily activities. Putting the body in a position where it moves and reacts more efficiently can take away unwanted stress and strain. Developing proper movement patterns will also allow the body to heal in a way that reduces the likelihood of compensatory injuries. We offer a multi-faceted program to help women in their process of recovery.