Take It Easy After Breast Reconstruction Surgery, But Also Take Time To Start Moving

Posted on: 30 September 2016

Any surgery, but particularly breast reconstruction surgery, can make moving seem like the last thing you want to do. With reconstruction, you're dealing with scars and soreness by your arms and on your chest. Moving your arms and shoulders seems like it would aggravate any pain you have from the surgery. However, exercising after the surgery -- starting with light, doctor-approved exercises and gradually increasing in intensity -- can bring you more benefits than bad feelings.

Helps Restore Range of Motion

When you have surgery on a part of your body that either moves a lot or that is near a part that moves a lot, you risk losing some of your range of motion for a while if you don't move the body part. The surgery site and any scarring can tighten up and make you feel stiffer. So you're not unable to move -- you just don't want to because it feels like you're pulling on skin and tendons that you shouldn't be pulling.

Moving helps loosen up the area and lets you retain more flexibility. You do have to be careful, which is why you should stick to exercises that your doctor recommends, but other than that, you should try to start moving as soon as you can.

Helps You Sleep Better, Which Aids Recovery

Like exercise before surgery, exercise after surgery can help you sleep better. The movement adds to your overall health and lets you be a little more restful during slumber. All of that helps aid your recovery. Your body gets a chance to do whatever sleep-related repair work that it needs to do, and you stress yourself out less by not waking up continually during the night.

Counters Any Weight Gain You Might Otherwise Experience

It's normal after surgery to gain a little weight if you aren't exercising the way you were before the surgery. Exercising post-surgery, then, helps your body burn off more calories. While recovery from breast reconstruction doesn't take very long (you'll technically be recovering for a few weeks, but you'll get better and better quickly after the first few days), and you shouldn't gain a lot of weight, even a few pounds can be annoying.

It can't be said enough, though: Always talk to your doctor about what you can and can't do as the weeks progress. In those first few days, lifting a heavy purse could feel like too much, for example. But your doctor will give you exercises to do during the first week, the next, and so on, so that you can get back to feeling relatively normal as soon as possible.