Breast Cancer and Shoulder Exercises

Today was the day to dig into what is new in the research world.

To be honest, I started it in yesterday’s blog post.

In yesterday’s blog post I talked about new research in muscle imbalances.

Yes, there is research about it. More and more keeps coming out.

Now to today’s research.

Harrington S, Padua D, Battaglini C, Michener LA, Giuliani C, Myers J, Groff D. (2011). Comparison of shoulder flexibility, strength, and function between breast cancer survivors and healthy participants. J Cancer Surviv. 2011 Jan 12. [Epub ahead of print]

I know this is a little new for me, to be talking about breast cancer and exercise.

I have been having more questions about this of late, plus it reminds me of the group of breast cancer survivors that I trained while working in Penticton, BC, Canada.

The ladies were a group from a local Dragon boating team that were all cancer survivors.  It was amazing to train these ladies and they were so much fun.

Here we go into the research.

What They Looked At:

They compared cancer survivor shoulder function with healthy subjects.

They looked at active and passive shoulder range of motion for shoulder extension, flexion, external rotation at 0° and 90° of abduction, internal rotation at 90° of abduction.

Plus they looked at the strength of scapular upward rotation and abduction, scapular adduction and depression, internal rotation, flexion, external rotation, scaption, and horizontal adduction.

What They Found:

 They found that there was a significant difference between the groups

Decreased Range of Motion in:

  • active flexion
  • active 90° external rotation
  • active extension
  • passive flexion
  • passive 90° external rotation

Decreased Strength in:

  • scapular abduction
  • upward rotation
  • depression
  • scapular adduction
  • flexion
  • external rotation
  • internal rotation
  • scaption
  • adduction

Take Home Message

 Assessment of the Breast Cancer Client – They suggest that the above should be tested at the start of an exercise rehabilitation program for a client recovering from breast cancer.

Exercises to Focus In On – The above gives you an idea of the movements to focus on when it comes to your exercise rehabilitation program with a breast cancer survivor.

I have to step away from the computer, but I will go through these articles in a few minutes.

Yiasemides R, Halaki M, Cathers I, Ginn KA. (2011). Does Passive Mobilization of Shoulder Region Joints Provide Additional Benefit Over Advice and Exercise Alone for People Who Have Shoulder Pain and Minimal Movement Restriction? A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phys Ther. 2011 Jan 6. [Epub ahead of print]

Roy JS, Ma B, Macdermid JC, Woodhouse LJ. (2011). Shoulder muscle endurance: the development of a standardized and reliable protocol. Sports Med Arthrosc Rehabil Ther Technol. 2011 Jan 11;3(1):1. [Epub ahead of print]

I really enjoy looking at what is new in the research and learning how to better design exercise rehabilitation programs.

If you have any feedback, please do let me know by asking below.

Rick Kaselj, MS

P.S. – It looks like I won’t be able to get to the other two articles today.  Check back tomorrow and I will take them on.  Just want to let you know, I received this from a customer who got the Effective Rotator Cuff Exercise Program:

“I thought your effective rotator cuff exercises manual was great. It truly is an all inclusive look at the rotator cuff and covers even the minute details which can enhance your client/patient’s program. The information and easy to utilize exercise descriptions will be a big help with my patients.”
Kristen King, PT, DPT
Nashua, New Hampshire