Legacy Physical Therapy 2961 Dougherty Ferry Road Saint Louis, MO 63122
Call: 636-225-3649 Fax: 888-494-7074 Email: info@legacytherapystl.com

Breast Health Rehabilitation

Many women with breast cancer need rehabilitation with a specialized physical therapist.

Surgical intervention and adjuvant therapies, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can cause lymphedema (swelling) in the arm, breast, and trunk. Breast surgeries – including mastectomy, lumpectomy, and reconstructive surgery (such as implants) – can irritate or disturb the soft tissues of the shoulder, chest wall, and under the arm. Scars and radiation can make the tissues under the skin “stiffen” and cause a pulling sensation in your chest or shoulder when you try to move your arm.

After surgery you may be afraid to move your arm because of pulling sensations or pain. This lack of movement may cause stiffness in the shoulder and pain or swelling in the arm. You may then find it difficult to do daily activities like reaching the top shelf of a cabinet or washing your hair.

Common conditions/symptoms we treat: 
  • Impaired Range of Motion and/or Strength
  • Pain and Movement Dysfunction
  • Cording (axillary web syndrome)
  • Impaired Exercise Tolerace

How Physical Therapy Can Help:

A physical therapist can evaluate you problem and help you manage the debilitating effects of breast cancer and surgery.

A suggested program may include:
  • Exercises to overcome tightness, weakness, and pain in the shoulder, neck, chest, and abdomen
  • Exercises to improve posture and strengthen upper back muscles, which may include the use of elastic bands, light weights, and pulleys
  • Scar massage and stretching
  • Manual techniques to improve mobility of the shoulder and ribs and to improve circulation
  • Education on preventing or reducing arm swelling
  • Suggestions for lifting and energy-saving tips to make your daily activities easier
  • Instruction in wound and skin care