Exercises after Mastectomy & Breast Reconstruction Surgery
By: Courtney Floyd
What exercises can help with range of motion after breast reconstruction surgery?
After mastectomy or any breast reconstruction surgery, you will notice a significant decrease in your ability to perform simple movements, such as moving your arms up and down. This is a normal part of the healing process for most patients.
Anytime you have surgery, it is important to listen to your body and incorporate exercises slowly to build back up to your full range of movement over a number of weeks. Of course, getting your doctor's blessing before starting to exercise is a must!
The purpose of exercising after your mastectomy and/or reconstructive breast procedure is not to burn calories, but to get you back to your normal activities and full range of movement faster.
It is important to be patient and not push yourself too hard too quickly. We recommend taking it easy for 2-3 weeks before beginning any type of strenuous movement. Again, you should always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise routine.
The exercises below are designed to keep you moving and get your range of motion back sooner:
- While sitting in a chair, reach your arms forward and backward. Do not extend your arms too far, just enough to feel a slight stretch.
- While sitting in a chair pull your arms back until you feel a slight pull.
- While standing and facing towards a wall, crawl your arm up and then back down.
- You may also do this same exercise from the side.
- These simple exercises will help ease you back into your regular range of motion. It is important to note if you feel tired and achy you should slow down. Your shoulder, chest and back may feel tight and uncomfortable but these exercises should not be painful. If you do have pain, stop and contact your nurse.