• Lymphedema risk

    Asked by Valentinegirl on Sunday, March 10, 2013

    Lymphedema risk

    I had a unilateral mastectomy and reconstruction in May, and have recently completed active treatment which involved chemo and radiation. I would like to get back into shape, and have thought about using hand weights or doing power yoga as an adjunct to the walking or swimming that I usually do. Would it be risky to lift 5lbs weights with the arm on which I had surgery? How about power yoga? There are poses in which you are supporting much of your weight with your arms.


    4 Answers from the Community

    4 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Not at all, in fact it would be highly beneficial. You might also consider upper body strength training with resistance bands which is what most PTs use for lymphatic exercise and they allow for greater variation in resistance and arm movements than hand weights. I would suggest easing into the power yoga and to hold off on some of those moves until you have built up to joint strength they require (especially shoulders and wrists). Here is a link with some go info on the benefits of exercise for those with lymphedema or at risk for lymphedema.


      over 3 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I had bilat and when I remember I use weights when I walk.....and I think your surgeons would be pleased with you excercising....all the best to you

      over 3 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I would think that any serious risk of lymphedema appearing would have happened by now (my only serious moment with it was within 4 months of surgery) so I can't imagine it would be an issue. I'm back at the gym and haven't found anything that I can't do and haven't had another bout of it since Oct (I keep very active which I think helps with this). In fact, looking at my arms now, even the minor swelling I've had seems to have disappeared although I expect it to return when the weather warms up again.

      over 3 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Exercise is great for managing lymphedema but it's extremely important to ramp up s-l-o-w-l-y. Start with light weights and few reps, then advance from there. If you experience any swelling go to a lymphedema therapist for guidance. Yoga should be fine - ramp up slowly with this, too, and avoid heated room yoga.

      over 3 years ago

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