Exercising will help you ease the tension in your
arm and shoulder and will hasten your recovery. It is especially
important for women who have had an axillary dissection. You will
probably be able to begin exercising within a few days of your
operation. Your doctor, nurse, or physical therapist can show you
what exercises to do.
Ask your doctor if you might begin with these few simple
- Lie in bed with your arm at your side. Raise your arm straight
up and back, trying to touch the headboard behind you.
- Raise your shoulders. Rotate them forward, down, and back in a
circular motion to loosen your chest, shoulder, and upper back
- Lying in bed, clasp your hands behind your head and push your
elbows into the mattress.
- With your elbow bent and your arm at a 90 degree angle to your
body, rotate your shoulder forward until the forearm is down and
then backward until it is up.
- With your arm raised, clench and unclench your fist.
- Breathe deeply.
- Rotate your chin to the left and right. Cock your head
The key is to exercise only to the point of pulling or
pain-don't push yourself.