Any type of cancer often requires extensive treatments to eliminate the diseased cells from the body. Depending on the type of treatment that is used, the body can suffer other serious damage in the process. An important aspect of any cancer recovery is to include the right type of exercise to restore and maintain normal body function. A part of that equation that is often overlooked is to ensure that proper precautions are being made to avoid complications. Your body will not work the same as it did before cancer treatment, and diving back into an old workout routine can be dangerous.
Working with a professional that specializes in one type of recovery is a good way to help ensure that you are doing the right exercises and not doing the wrong ones. Many types of breast cancer treatment leave the patients with restricted and limited mobility in the upper body, chest, and shoulders. The musculature patterns that result from these treatments are often the same across patients, and methods to retrain them are taught through certification courses. Finding a Certified Breast Cancer Recovery Specialist is important, because they are also trained to avoid another big cancer recovery risk: Lymphedema.
Lymphedema can occur in cancer patients after damage or removal of lymph nodes during treatment. Infections in the lymphatic system can cause dangerous complications and the right steps have to be taken to avoid this being triggered by exercise. In addition to avoiding overactivity in the lymph system, it is does get activated and used properly. Certain protocols and tools, like the Power Plate, can be used to activate the lymph system without over stressing it.
The American Cancer Society discusses the importance of exercise after surgery and radiation:
If you’ve had radiation therapy after surgery, exercises are even more important to help keep your arm and shoulder flexible. Radiation may affect your arm and shoulder long after treatment is finished. Because of this, it’s important to develop a regular habit of doing exercises to maintain arm and shoulder mobility after radiation treatments for breast cancer.
The article goes on to discuss other important aspects of breast cancer recovery exercise:
Many women have burning, tingling, numbness, or soreness on the back of the arm and/or on the chest wall. This is because the surgery can irritate some of your nerves. These feelings might increase a few weeks after surgery. But keep doing your exercises unless you notice unusual swelling or tenderness. (If this happens, let your doctor know about it right away.) Sometimes rubbing or stroking the area with your hand or a soft cloth can help make the area less sensitive.
Cancer is a disastrous disease with tremendous destructive potential, but the more you put into your recovery the more you will get out of it. When it comes to protecting yourself from setbacks, gather all of the best information you can before forming a plan. Remember, you are your own best doctor, but take the time to seek the professionals that can help you the most.
Alex Simmons, Owner and Director of Wholebody Systems