Although the danger has already been removed, breast cancer is still capable of bringing about side effects. These side effects can range from the loss of motion range to long term risk of osteoporosis and lymphedema.
For those who had several lymph nodes removed and/or were exposed to radiation in the armpit area, they face a higher risk for lymphedema, which is caused by swelling due to the poor drainage of the lymphatic fluid. This condition can result in a lifelong risk. However, prevention can be done to ensure that it does not continue to develop. For patients who are concerned about this issue, do seek assistance from your physician to discuss the risk involved. It is essential to start by assessing your range of motion. You can make comparison between the affected and the non-affected side with a series of movements. Before doing any of the following exercises, your range of motion should be greater than 90 percent. Also, it is advisable to consult your doctor before commencement.
Firstly, from a standing or seated position, inhale while drawing your arms out to the side and reaching overhead. Upon exhale, allow your arms to descend back by your side. This promotes the opening of the shoulder joint, which increases lymph flow. If you can’t keep your arm straight, you may bend your elbow. Avoid leaning forward and focus on keeping your chest and shoulders open. After several repetitions, hold your arms overhead and gently squeeze and release your fists to create a pumping action, which encourages the lymph to flow up the arm.
Another useful posture to open up your shoulder is Trikonasana, or commonly known as the Triangle Pose. The Triangle Pose allows modifications to be made to your arm position as you gradually increase your range of motion. You can start off by standing on your yoga mat with the right foot pointing straight, while the left leg comfortably placed behind and toes turned slightly outward. Your torso should be facing the longer side of the mat. As you inhale, sweep your left arm upwards while leaning your torso towards the floor in a right side bend. Your right hand can slide gently down your right leg to either the shin, ankle, or floor. To recover from this pose, press your feet onto the floor and come back up into a standing position.
All standing postures in yoga aids in building strength in the hip joint, while at the same time, helps in combating osteoporosis by using your own body weight against gravity. For the full story, check it out here. If you are looking for a style of yoga to help in your recovery, take a look at Therapy Yoga offered by OMG Yoga. This style is best suited for individuals who are recovering or living with injury or illness.