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How to Do Arm Exercises After Breast Surgery

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Updated August 08, 2012

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Wand Lift - Floor Exercise for Both Arms
Wand Lift for Arm Exercises

Wand Lift for Arm Exercises After Breast Surgery

Illustration © Pam Stephan
After breast surgery, your surgery-side shoulder may feel stiff, so arm exercises are an important way to increase your flexibility and extend your range of motion. You can use a household object for a wand: a cane, broom handle, yardstick, wooden dowl or an exercise cane. Your wand should be wider than your shoulders and thick enough to grasp easily.

Wand Lift - Floor Exercise

Get your exercise wand and prepare for the wand lift by choosing an area on which to lie down. Lie down on your back, keeping your back and neck in a straight line. To help keep your lower back flat, elevate your knees (see illustrations). Your feet should be flat on the floor, shoulder width apart. Don't keep your knees together - like your feet, they should be spaced apart. Your upper arms will be on the floor by your rib cage, and your hand will grasp the wand as it lays in your lap. Your hands should be shoulder's width apart during this exercise. This allows your arms to help each other lift the wand and rotate your shoulders.

  1. Hold the wand in both hands and straighten your arms. If you like, lock your elbows, but don't tense up. Keep your shoulder blades flat on the floor.
  2. With both arms straight, raise the wand over your head. Raise the wand as far as you can without causing pain. Use your unaffected arm to help your surgery-side arm. Keep arms parallel - don't twist the wand over your head. Hold the wand in this position for 5 seconds as your muscles stretch.
  3. Lower your arms to Position 1, and rest a bit.

Repeat this exercise 5 to 7 times. Don't worry if you can't lift the cane all the way up - just do as well as you can. Gradually increase your stretching, so you may become more flexible. Try not to move your shoulder blades during this exercise - just concentrate on your shoulder motion.

Next Exercise: Elbow Winging - another floor exercise

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