Breast Cancer: 5 Exercises during Treatment

Treatment of breast cancer has the potential to be both mentally and physically taxing. Although amazing strides have been made in the treatment and management of breast cancer, a few simple exercises still remain the most effective way to ease recovery.

How Exercise Helps

Exercise helps with many forms of breast cancer treatment including surgery. Often a patient who has undergone surgery may feel a reduced range of motion or flexibility, especially in the arms and chest area. They may experience pain or discomfort when trying to do normal, everyday tasks, and performing the proper exercises can assist in recovery of these functions. Also, some forms of surgery require that the patient perform regular exercise afterward to ensure a full and speedy recovery.

Always remember to consult your doctor first before beginning any exercise regimen after surgery. Here are a few exercise suggestions that can help during breast cancer treatment.

1. Regular Activities

Although this might not technically be considered an exercise, regular activities such as combing your hair or brushing your teeth unassisted are important ways to regain function. Do these activities as you normally would, and eventually your body will be comfortable with them again. In other words, don’t avoid them.

2. Elbow Winging

This exercise is done by first lying flat on your bed or floor and clasping your arms behind your head with your elbows facing the ceiling. Do your best to keep your hands clasped and lower your elbows as close to the bed or floor as possible. Eventually you’ll get closer and closer as time goes on. This will help increase the flexibility in your chest that may be restricted due to breast cancer treatment.

3. Shoulder Blade Stretch

This is an exercise done while sitting in a chair next to a table. You’ll want to put your unaffected arm on the table with your palm facing down and the elbow at a 90 degree angle. You’ll then take the affected arm, lay it on the table with palms facing down, and try to slide it to the opposite end of the table as far as you can. Be sure to keep your back against the chair. This movement will stretch your shoulder blade.

4. Side Bends

This exercise is also done while sitting in a chair. Clasp your hands in front of you and then raise them over your head. Then, proceed to move your hands toward your left and the your right, being careful to only bend at your waist, thus stretching your trunk and body. Stretching your trunk is especially important during breast cancer treatment.

5. Chest Stretch

This exercise is done in a corner of a room while standing. Bend your arms upward with your upper arms making a 90 degree angle with your body and your lower arms making a 90 degree angle with each upper arm. Your arms should be up at about shoulder height, and it should look like you’re waving. Place your left forearm on the left wall and the right forearm on the right wall. Proceed to carefully stretch the chest by moving your body forward.

By incorporating the above exercises into your daily routine, you will experience relief when undergoing breast cancer treatment.


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