Mastectomy has a significant impact on upper body strength and it impairs the function of the upper extremities. Many simply adjust to the limited range of motion, muscle aches and swelling and sadly accept such limitations as par for the course.
- shoulder pain, which can be complicated by inflammation (tendonitis and frozen shoulder syndrome)
- pain in the chest and sternum
- tightness and pain in the pectoral muscles, especially with breast expanders.
- (The unnatural stretching of pectoral muscles with expanders affects other connecting muscles. Increased tension and lack of enervation to the tissue often causes pain and spasms of the pectoral muscles and others muscles surrounding it.)
- Range-of-motion exercises
- Manual manipulation (Massage and Compression)
- Scar Tissue Massage and Release
- Manual Lymph Drainage(MLD) Massage
- Strength Training
- Heat and Cold Packs
- Electrical Stimulation (TENS, NMES, Hi-Volt)
- Lymphedema Prevention Education
- Therapeutic Massage
Part of a comprehensive breast rehabilitation program is therapeutic massage. As a result of mastectomy or other breast surgery, the musculature of the entire upper body region is affected by guarding, which means it recoils from discomfort by tensing up and forming knots and tightness. A therapeutic massage specialist will glide over the affected muscles to relieve the fascia and connective tissue. Such myofascial release and kneading releases the muscle tenseness. Also, scar tissue manipulation by a therapeutic massage specialist can reduce hardened lumps of tissue under the skin.
- Post-Mastectomy Pain (PMP) Syndrome
Post-Mastectomy Pain Syndrome (PMPS) is diagnosed in women with ongoing pain and muscle tightness in the chest wall, shoulder, arm or underarm. This is a medically recognized condition with a specific ICD-9 code (457.1) for insurance reimbursement. The pain of PMPS is attributed to inflammation along the intercostal-brachial nerve, a peripheral nerve leading to tributaries that branch into the armpit and upper arm. Pain, numbness and burning can result.
Mastectomy and breast cancer patients who have had a lymph node dissection are at risk for developing lymphedema. When lymphatic fluid is blocked and cannot drain properly, swelling occurs in the arms, legs, or trunk. Certified specialists, either at your breast rehabilitation center, or at your hospital can control lymphedema using very specific treatment that includes manual lymphatic therapy and compression bandaging of the limb.
- Reduce Pain and Swelling
- Restore Function
- Restore Full Range of Motion
- Build Strength
- Lessen Scar Tissue
- Accelerate Overall Healing
- Increase Self Esteem
- Encourage Mindful Healing
- Develop Coping Skills
- Reduce Lymphedema Risk
- Treat Lymphedema Complications
- Prevent Capsular Contraction
(To add your center to the listing, read the Register a Breast Healing Center tab on this page.)