Breast cancer surgery is the most common surgical treatment of early-stage breast cancer, According to the American Clinical and Climatological Association.
Persistent and chronic pain is a very debilitating condition affecting the physical and wellbeing of patients after breast surgery.
Signs of Discomfort After Breast Surgery
- Breast Tightness.
- Loss of Feeling.
- Shoulder and Arm Pain.
- Weakness in the Upper Arm.
- Restricted Movement.
- Scar Tissue Formation.
- Unable to Keep an Upright Posture due to Breast Tightness.
- Achiness and Muscle Soreness in Neck, Upper and Middle Back.
- Difficulty Sleeping.
- Joint Stiffness.
- Swelling or Edema.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Physical therapy is an expert health care professional in treating conditions that affect the movement of the body, especially during activities of daily living.
The Physical therapist is trained with specialized techniques to make the patient move effortless, painless, and enjoy the quality of life the patient deserve.
The physical therapist performed a detailed assessment of individual muscle strength, range of motion, pain level, fatigue, and function, to find the root of the problem.
The physical assessment gives the tools to guide the therapist in creating an individualized program according to the specific needs of each patient.
Doctor Chaux uses the Following Techniques to treat Breast Cancer Patients, with Emphasis in Myofascial Release for its Effectiveness in Decreasing Pain.
- Myofascial Release.
- Manual Stretching.
- Functional Manual Therapy.
- Cortical Field Reeducation.
- Relaxation Techniques.
- Isometric Exercises.
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Reeducation (PNF).
- Patient Education.
- Self-Myofascial Release Techniques.
What is Myofascial Release?
Myofascial Release is a physical therapy technique used to reduce pain, relax the muscle, restore movement, and reduce muscle tension in breast cancer patients after breast surgery. Myofascial release technique focuses on releasing the tension of the fascia that is affecting the normal movement and is producing misalignments in the body.
What is Fascia and Where is Located?
The fascia is a thin layer of collagen that cover and keep the whole body in place and gives form to every tissue and organ. The fascia has superficial layers covering the muscles under the skin. The deeper layer separate muscle groups, cover bones, and joints. In addition, the fascia shapes each structure of the body, makes it work as a unit and is the pathway for blood vessels, and nerves.
- A padding layer of fat that protect the body tissue from injury.
- Very Sensitive organ that perceives movement and postural changes.
- Interfere with coordination, sense self-movement and body position.
What Causes Unhealthy Fascia?
- Poor Posture
- Scars After Breast Cancer Surgery
- Scars After Breast Reconstruction
- Sedentary lifestyle.
Scar and Fascia
Scars are the result of the inability of the tissue to slide between the fascia layers.
This lack of movement causes inflammation, creating the scars. This scar could be the reason for chronic and persistent pain after breast surgery.
What Happen in an old Scar?
The superficial scar is already healed and looks smooth. However, in the deeper layers, the fascia is like a spider web attached to tissue and organs restricting the movement.
Recent researches found out that systemic diseases that involved the vital organs, vascular, and metabolic systems may be related to fascia issues by producing chronic fatigue, and pain.
Chronic fatigue may be related to the inability of the fascia to move between layers. This lack of movement is transferred to the whole body with uncoordinated and difficulty movement. This new pattern is transferred to the brain as fatigue instead of a fascia issue.
The fascia fails to slide between layers and produces an inflammatory response, causing a sensation of pain. This is a false signal of pain, that is related to lack of fascia movement.
How Do You Know If You Have Tight Fascia?
- The body feels stiff in the morning after waking up or being seated for a while.
- The arms and shoulders feel tight with reaching over head.
- It is very difficult to turn the head to look over the shoulder while driving.
- It is ver difficult or hard to scratch the back and shoulders feel tight.
- Unsteady gait or difficulty walking.
Muscle Tightness and Joint Stiffness Related to Fascia Issues
The lack of fascia movement produces an inflammatory response between fascia layers. This inflammatory response increases the tension in the surrounding structures, producing muscle tightness, and joint stiffness.
Why Myofascial Release is an Effective Approach for Breast Cancer Patients After Surgery?
- Speed up the healing process and the recovery time.
- Soften the deeper Scar layers that are pulling on the scar site.
- Reorganize the direction of the fascia fibers, making the tissue smooth
and more flexible in the deeper layers.
- Reduce muscle tightness and joint stiffness.
- Improve upright posture.
- Increase blood flow and the release of toxins .
- Correct muscle imbalances.
- Reduce pain.
- Promote relaxation and sound sleep.
- Reduce anxiety, and depression
- Able to move with less effort and easier.
Myofascial release uses gentle manual stretches of the fascia that is not painful combined with mindfulness breathing.
Mindfulness breathing is strongly recommended to release the deeper structures, release tension, and to make the patient aware of the body response to the myofascial release.
If you have had a breast surgery that is recent or many years ago, call now to find out how myofascial release technique can help you recover faster, move easier, and effortless.
The information in this blog is for educational and informational purpose only, its content is provided based upon evidence-based medicine, knowledge, and experience as a doctor of physical therapy