Benefits of Physical Therapy Following Breast Cancer Surgery

Physical therapy after breast surgery, whether it is a lumpectomy or double mastectomy, can help patients gain back range of motion and strength, reduce lymphedema, and relieve pain. After breast surgery, patients may find it hard or painful to lift their arms above their head or behind their back. Physical therapy exercises can help restore these common movements and reduce pain. Lymphedema occurs when lymph nodes are removed or damaged from disease, cancer surgery, or radiation, causing swelling due to a buildup of lymph. This can be uncomfortable and painful and may even result in infections. While physical therapy may not be able to assist in the lymphedema going away, it may help reduce swelling by moving fluid back into the lymph system.


Physical therapy a critical component while recovering from breast cancer surgery. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Published May 7, 2019. Accessed April 28, 2022.

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