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Breast Cancer Surgery – Arm and Shoulder Exercises – Week 2

This video is to complement the Your Journey through Breast Cancer Surgery booklet.

You should have received this booklet from your healthcare team.

If you have not received a booklet please contact your healthcare team.

Exercise after breast cancer surgery is an important part of your treatment and recovery.

Exercise can help you reduce joint stiffness, move your arm and shoulder more easily, strengthen

muscles, and get back to normal daily activity.

It’s important to know what you were able to do before surgery (called your baseline

movement) so you can track your recovery.

To know your baseline, try these exercises before you have surgery.

You should avoid vigorous exercise and sports in the early weeks after surgery, but it is

important to stay active.

Talk to your surgeon about how much activity is right for you now, and when you can return

to your previous exercise and sports.

Work towards 30 min of activity most days.

You may find that light housework is a helpful way to get gentle exercise.

Ask your surgeon when you can lift more than 4.6 kg or 10 pounds.

These exercises are for all types of breast surgery except breast reconstruction.

If you have had breast reconstruction, speak to your surgeon about what exercises you should

do.

These exercises are for patients with or without a drain.

These exercise instructions refer to your affected side (the same side of your body

as your surgery and your unaffected side (the side of the body that didn’t have surgery).

Do the exercises on both sides of the body if you’ve had surgery on both sides.

If you have any concerns about how well you can move (your level of mobility) or strength,

talk to a physiotherapist.

Week 2 Start week 2 exercises in the second week

after your breast surgery.

If you’re finding any of the week 1 exercises are still hard to do, you can keep doing week

1 exercises in week 2 along with the week 2 exercises.

You shouldn’t feel pain during these exercises but it’s normal to feel some pulling.

Some of the exercises are stretches.

Hold the stretch for 5 to 20 seconds.

Some of the exercises are repeat movements 5 to 10 times each.

Trunk Side Bending (Repeat) Sit in a firm chair with your back straight

and your feet flat on the floor.

Place your hands behind your head.

Slowly bend to one side as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your opposite

side and under your arm.

Return to the starting position and repeat on your other side.

Repeat 5 to 10 times.

Shoulder Flexion Stretch (Hold) Stand behind a chair with both of your hands

on the back of the chair.

Back up a few steps and bend forward until you feel a stretch in your shoulders.

Keep your back flat and your elbows slightly bent.

Do this exercise with a slight bend in your knees.

Stop the exercise if it causes discomfort in your back.

Hold this position for 5 to 20 seconds and then return to the starting position.

Pectoralis Stretch, Supine (Hold) Do this exercise on your bed or on the floor.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms out to your side at 45 degrees.

Keep your shoulders down and turn your palms face up.

Hold this position for 5 to 20 seconds and then relax.

You should feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder and across the top of your chest.

When you are able, move your arms further away from your body trying to get them to

90 degrees and then to 120 degrees.

Lower Pectoralis Stretch (Hold) Do this exercise on your bed or on the floor.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your palms facing up.

Bring your arms out to your side to 120 degrees.

You should feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder and across your chest.

Hold this position for 5 to 20 seconds, and then relax.

Shoulder Abduction (Repeat) Sit up straight in a chair with your arms

at your side and look straight ahead.

Face the palm of your affected hand forward and lift your arm out to the side towards

the ceiling.

Keep your elbow slightly bent and your shoulders down.

Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

When your arm is raised you can bend your wrist up and down (wave) for an added stretch.

Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times.

Active Shoulder Flex: 1 arm (Repeat) You can do this exercise standing or sitting.

Tuck in your chin and pull the shoulder back on your affected side.

Lift your arm in front of you as high as you can and keep your elbow slightly bent.

Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

When your arm is raised you can bend your wrist up and down (wave) for an added stretch.

Repeat 5 to 10 times.