Cancer surgery and treatments can affect posture in cancer survivors. Studies have shown that if you have breast cancer surgery and treatments, you are more likely to have faulty body posture. I would like to see every person who has had surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation be evaluated by a cancer exercise specialist who is trained for your particular situation. Thus, a cancer survivor can receive specific and targeted recommendations.
A mastectomy without reconstruction can cause imbalances. After surgery, cancer survivors have the tendency of protecting the area where they had the surgery. The chest area can feel tight and the cancer survivor compensates by rounding their shoulders. Muscles and skin are shortened because of the surgery and there is scar tissue. Nerves may be irritated which can cause numbness and tingling. Cancer survivors must learn the essential stretches for the pectorals and shoulders. Eventually, strength training is introduced with an emphasis on the upper back muscles. When the back muscles are strong, it will help decrease the chance of developing round shoulders with forward head posture.
Exercise Good For Cancer Survivors
Some of the reconstruction processes also change muscle placement, which can affect the posture of a cancer survivor. Whenever there is a change in muscle placement, it is necessary to have a postural assessment. For example, abdominal surgery can result in abdominal tightness which in turn creates an initial tendency to walk leaning forward. The good news is that most posture issues are corrected with stretching and strengthening exercises.
Good posture is important for overall health. Posture awareness can decrease the chance of back and neck pain. Poor posture can create imbalances in the rest of the body. This is harmful to the back, knees and other areas. If you are having posture problems after surgery you need to tell your health team. They can help you find in programs tailored to your needs. There are free cancer survivor exercise classes and affordable small group classes available.
A typical exercise given by the hospital as part of the discharge package is walking your fingers up the wall. This is a start but it is not sufficient for a full recovery.
The Recovery Fitness cancer exercise program just released a new DVD called Simple Stretching. The exercises in the DVD will help you to improve your posture. The exercise equipment needed can be things already in your home such as a broom or ball. The posture exercises can be done at your convenience and in your home.