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How to Do Arm Exercises After Breast Surgery

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Updated August 08, 2012

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Get Ready to Do Arm Exercises!

After breast surgery, lymph node removal, or breast radiation, you will need to do some arm exercises to help you recover. Just doing some simple arm exercises helps you reduce the side effects of treatment, and get you back to normal activities. Be sure to discuss your exercise plans with your doctor - before you start.

If you have surgical drains, wait until those are out, to start exercising. If you have sutures in place, don't strain them. Do not do any of the exercises to the point of pain.

Dress for comfort, so you can move as easily as possible. Set up an area for your exercises - a carpeted floor, or an area where you can lay on an exercise mat or folded quilt. Warm your surgery-side shoulder and arm before starting to exercise - take a shower, tub soak, or use a warm compress for about 20 minutes. Move slowly and gently while exercising, getting a good stretch, but not a jolt of pain.

Be regular about doing your arm exercises. This will speed your recovery and give you the best results. Do your exercises two times a day. Repeat each exercise 5 to 7 times, doing it as correctly as you can. You might like to play some slow, soothing music while you stretch.

Here's what you need on hand to get started:

  • An area big enough to lay down on
  • A length of undecorated wall, taller than you can reach
  • A corner of a room, or an open doorway
  • A bath towel
  • A wand, broom handle, or cane (optional)
  • A hard chair with a back that can support your shoulders

Ready? Let's start with some Floor Exercises.

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