Helpful (I hope) info on Exercise & lymphedema of arms, torso, chest. Let's share ideas!!

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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 1/22/2005 2:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi ladies:
re: kinesiotaping--I have heard great things about it too! Just haven't tried it yet. I am getting ready to buy some new wraps, though. I am tired of the multiple layers I have to use to bandage, so I will be trying this: : Ready Made/Quick Ship Full Arm Spiral Wrap  JoViPakĀ® Home Page This should be MUCH easier on me since I have to wrap BOTH arms.

I have just started a formal workout program at a local fitness center. I wear my sleeves & also something called Under Armor "turfgear" from the sporting goods store. I bought a size smaller than I would wear in real life. It is a very stretchy lycra-type longsleeved top that I wear under my Tshirt. I have some lymphedema in my chest, upper back & torso & this seems to help it while I exercise.

I have been focusing on repetitions, rather than WEIGHT. I use machines set at 10-15 lbs and work on my arms, chest & back. I have actually noticed a REDUCTION in my swelling since doing this, but ONLY while wearing my sleeves. I don't dare try it without, since even vacuuming & gardening (when my arms are lower than my body) wreak havoc on my LE.

If you do NOT currently have lymphedema (LE), you need what is called a "Class I compression sleeve." This has less compression than a class II or class III. The way the doc would write the prescription is:

_____ arm, wrist to armpit
Class I compression sleeve
Diagnosis: 457.0 post-mastectomy lymphedema

If you already DO have swelling, the prescription would be the same, EXCEPT it should say Class II compression sleeve.

If your hand or fingers are swollen, the doc should also add a "gauntlet" (which is a partial glove WITHOUT fingers--just covers your palm & back of your hand to where your fingers start)

If you prefer, the doc could write for a "glove" instead. This is a compression garment that pulls on like a glove, but the fingers are cut out--and only go the first or 2nd knuckle.

I would recommend going to a medical supply house that has a Women's section, specializing in mastectomy products. They can measure you. If your arm is a "standard" size, you can usually get an off-the-shelf sleeve. If your arm is weird, like mine, you will need a special order. My upper arm is disproportionately larger than my forearm (always has been--that is just ME lol)

Hope this helps. If you need further info, you might want to check out my lymphedema page and links page on my BC website.

Hugs, Michele

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 734
   Posted 1/23/2005 1:14 PM (GMT -7)   
tongue  Hi Nurse Mikki,
Many thanks for your great information. I do have a question. I wear the big blue potholder that we first saw in St. Louis to bed. I can't really recall the name. I do wrap over it. It helps hold the wrap on so  that it doesn't fall off in the middle of the night. It I had the other arm wrap that you showed us here, does that mean it  would do just as well and I wouldn't have to wrap over it? That would be too great and probably cooler in the summer too. It will be awhile before this one wears out though. I may even be able to have it taken in a little as it wears out. That is what my new OT thought.  Love you, Di

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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 1/23/2005 7:50 PM (GMT -7)   
My heart goes out to all of you who have to deal with lymphedema. It makes me so mad that the cancer itself is not enough...that you have to have such troubles. A couple years ago, I took a basic yoga class for beginners. I mentioned to the instructor that I had some limits in my range of motion with my left arm, due to node removal. She said that she too was a survivor, post mastectomy, and that she had severe swelling and LE. She started yoga and found that to have a dramatic impact.

Of course, please check with your doc or LE therapist before starting any new program...


Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 352
   Posted 1/23/2005 8:17 PM (GMT -7)   

When I was first diagnosed with LE, I was told NEVER to do the LE exercises without either having my arm wrapped (in the multiple layers) or having my compression sleeve on.  Also vaccuuming.  That seems to really raise havoc on my arm.  That JoViPak looks really neat and simple to use.  Am going to check it out.  Have new insurance this year, so who knows what they will pay and how much I will have to go through to get them to pay anything on existing issues.

Thanks for the info, Mikki.



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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 955
   Posted 1/24/2005 8:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Sending hugs to all of you ladies that have to deal with lymphedema.


^j^ ^j^
"What sweetness is left in life if you take away friendship? It is like robbing the world of the sun"

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 734
   Posted 1/24/2005 9:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Tavish,
Please tell me what LE Is? I did try Yoga one summer and it was fun. The problem is that my legs are crooked and don't turn out. This being the reason that I am not in the American Ballet Theatre. Now, after the chest surgery, I can't bend at all. I can barely tie my left shoe or cut my toe nail. I may go back to water aerobics though. And I do the treadmill, and tap. I might go back to Curves a few days a week and only do the legs. I'm fine and so thankful for that. I just have to be very careful. Love, Di
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