Making the decision to have a mastectomy is not easy nor is going through with the procedure. Unfortunately the difficulty often does not end after the incisions have healed. There are many potential post-surgical side effects that you are just left to deal with on your own.

These can include:
• Pain and tenderness
• Swelling
• Weakness
• Limited motion in shoulder or neck
• Numbness
• Fatigue
• Capsular contracture

Often women are told they will just have to learn to live with these problems or that they will eventually get better on their own. The truth is that something can be done to help with these side effects and that you don’t have to wait years for the problems to go away on their own. Treatments can help greatly accelerate the recovery process and maximize your ability to return to an active, mobile, and energetic lifestyle.

Scar tissue is one of the most overlooked causes of problems in the medical world, and when it is acknowledged as a problem, the usual solution that is offered is surgery. This only creates more scar tissue.
Scars create physical restrictions in the body that can cause pain, swelling, weakness and loss of mobility. They also create energetic roadblocks that limit the flow of energy through our nervous system and the acupuncture meridians which can create an even greater set of problems. Those problems likely won’t be felt until years down the road and the medical doctors will insist that it cannot be related to the mastectomy.

Fortunately there are people who recognize these issues and are here to help. Physical Therapists who are trained in scar treatment have many tools to help you get back to doing the things you love to do. Modalities such as Laser and Micro-current can help speed up the healing processes of the body and break up scar tissue. Hands-on soft tissue work benefit to break up scar tissue in areas that are more resistant. Combining these with muscle re-education and exercise will have things moving and feeling better quickly.

If you can’t find a professional to help you there are some things you can do on your own to help with the scar tissue and to speed the healing process. This could include gentle self-massage, using pure essential oils such as Frankincense or Helichrysum in a carrier oil on the scar and taking a restorative yoga class. You will want to make sure you have clearance from your surgeon before beginning any of these activities.

If you have any questions about your scar tissue and any of the symptoms you are experiencing please feel free to contact us at Ocean Therapy Center.

Julietta Wenzel, PT

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