LYMPHOEDEMA
EXERCISE CLASSES AND REDUCING YOUR RISK

This page contains 5 videos on the subject of Lymphoedema awareness and reducing your risk.

Lymphoedema Awareness – reducing your risk

Length 4.44mins

Leading world medical expert on lymphoedema, Professor Peter Mortimer talks about how these films can help someone who is concerned about or who has lymphoedema. He talks about the fear that people have around developing and living with this condition and that it is a visible reminder of breast cancer and its treatments. He reassures that there is a lot that can be done to help it and it can be improved.

He says that this series of films provide both information, guidance and reassurance to people that they are doing the right thing to help themselves and help put them in charge of the condition and empowers the self-management.

The other films give more information on:

  1. An interview with a world leading lymphoedema nurse specialist explaining what lymphoedema is and who might be at risk (10.44 mins)
  2. A film giving instructions as to how to do the seven lymphoedema exercises (9.55 mins)
  3. A lymphoedema exercise class to participate in (8.44 mins)

Lymphoedema – The Facts

Length 10:24mins

What is Lymphoedema? 

It is tissue fluid that develops as a result of drainage to the lymphatic system. For people affected by breast cancer who have had one or more lymph nodes removed, this swelling may occur in the breast or the arm area.

How likely is it that you will develop lymphoedema?  

Current research shows that one in five women with breast cancer will develop lymphoedema in their lifetime. The swelling is likely to happen in the first one to two years following breast surgery.

What are the factors affect this? 

Being overweight, infections in breast or armpit area, repetitive arm movements such as ironing

How do you know if you have lymphoedema? 

Perhaps tightness, heaviness, puffiness that is not just weight gain. If you have any signs, speak to your breast care nurse.

It is not life threatening and you are invited to live as well as possible and there are suggestions as to how to do this.

What is the role of Exercise and a Healthy Lifestyle?

Regular exercise can help protect you against lymphoedema. This includes lifting weights. Gradually increasing levels of exercise over time is the best and safest way to do this.

You can also help yourself by living healthily, pacing your activities, looking after your skin against the risk of infection, lose weight or maintain a healthy weight so that you can minimise the risk of fat causing you to develop swelling. 

There is no evidence for air travel leading to the development or exacerbation of lymphoedema. There is no evidence that the wearing of a sleeve on an aeroplane will prevent lymphoedema. If you already having aching or heaviness, then consult your healthcare professional. If you are going somewhere hot, there is no evidence that you will develop of swelling from being in the heat or the sun, with the exception of sauna use. 

Having your blood pressure taken or having an injection is generally safe but not without risk. 

Manual lymphatic drainage done by lymphoedema professionals may help but the outcomes are not conclusive.  

Organise your workspace well so that your equipment is not too close to you and give yourselves regular breaks.

What is the exercise sequence that the Haven provides for?

The exercise programme, which takes less than 10 minutes, is for people who want to do something to bridge from post operative exercises to get back to normal regular exercises. These exercises are a sequence of nine movements that, done in order, will help keep the lymphatic channels open and lymph moving naturally around the body.

 

Lymphoedema Exercises Demonstration – Reducing your risk

Length 9.55mins

This film is a demonstration of the seven exercises designed to improve the lymph flow in your arms. There is a separate film with a class that you can join once you have learned them from this film.

Who can do these exercises?

You can start these exercises when you have finished the post operative exercises given to you by your hospital. Make sure you practice within your own range of movement and avoid pain.

Do these exercises once a day and take your time. The slower and more smoothly the exercises are done, the more effective they are.

At the end of the sequence, you repeat the first three exercises in reverse order. Just do a few repetitions and build up as you can.

Why do we practise some deep breathing?

Deep breathing is practised to wake up the lymphatic system and to drain lymph into the blood stream.

The exercise sequence is as follows: Deep Breathing, Shoulder Shrugs, Straight Arm Raises, Biceps Muscle Exercises, Triceps Muscle Exercises, Sideways Arm Raises, Wall Presses, Straight Arm Raises, Shoulder Shrugs, Deep Breathing.

 

Lymphoedema Exercises Demonstration – Reducing your risk

Length 8.54 mins

This film is a class of the exercises designed to improve the lymph flow in your arms that you can join in.

Who can do these exercises?

You can start these exercises when you have finished the post operative exercises given to you by your hospital. Make sure you practice within your own range of movement and avoid pain.

How often do I need to do these exercises?

Do these exercises once a day and take your time. The slower and more smoothly the exercises are done, the more effective they are.

At the end of the sequence, you repeat the first three exercises in reverse order. Just do a few repetitions of each exercise and build up to five repetitions when you feel able to.

What do I need to wear?

Just wear some loose, comfortable clothing so that you can move your arms freely.

What is the exercise sequence?

The exercise sequence is as follows: Deep Breathing, Shoulder Shrugs, Straight Arm Raises, Biceps Muscle Exercises, Triceps Muscle Exercises, Sideways Arm Raises, Wall Presses, Straight Arm Raises, Shoulder Shrugs, Deep Breathing.

 

Lymphoedema Exercises Class – How others found it

Length 2.30mins

Listen to some feedback from class members about how these exercisesd helped them

 

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