Shoulder Mobility Is The Key to Breast Cancer Rehab Programs

shoulder mobility
Marian Barnick

Marian Barnick

Marian Barnick is a Registered Kinesiologist and Movement Therapist helping you decrease pain and elevate performance by correcting compensations and creating better body biomechanics.

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Shoulder Mobility is the Most Important Part of Breast Cancer Rehab


I’m taking a stand.  Actually I took the stand a long time ago.  I’m just saying it loudly now.

Do NOT use shoulder shrugs as a recovery exercise from surgery.


If you’ve got aches and pains through the chest and shoulder, if you’re trying to stretch and move and get active again, if you’re ready to grab hold and get back to a better quality of life you love with vitality, passion, and action, then shrugs are not for you.

After breast cancer surgery the healing process causes scar tissue and the skin and muscles tighten up.  So you naturally roll your shoulders forward (look in the mirror and tell me if I’m right).  This is one of the key reasons you need to start as soon as possible with shoulder mobility exercises.

Start with the Foundations First Framework for Shoulder Mobility

What you’re ready, and have consent to start active movement therapy, you need to start with the six foundation shoulder movements.

If you want some help with these, check out my YouTube Channel with the link below.

Breast Cancer Corrective Exercises

By starting with the foundations shoulder movements, you ensure you have the proper baseline for all your future activities.
Range of motion always comes before any resistance type training. This is another reason why shrugs need to be avoided. They rely on strength instead of working on movement.

I know you want to get your strength back and that you want to return to the activities you love. But the process required to reach your best potential means starting with shoulder mobility. Once you’ve got good range of motion, you can proceed to the next level of the Foundations First Framework and start working on your stabilizers. Another reason you really want to ensure you’ve got a properly structured program.

If you need some help in knowing where to start, click the link below.

Where to Start with Movement After Breast Cancer Surgery

You can also make sure to work on the peripheral joints, working range of motion in the fingers, wrists, and elbows to not only help with range of motion but stretch the fascia and decrease the risk of lymphedema.

Five Reasons To Say No To Shrugs

  1. You’re re-enforcing an improper body posture
  2. You’re using the wrong muscles to try and move the shoulders
  3. You’re increasing your risk of Frozen Shoulder
  4. You’re ‘training your brain’ to increase neural input to the wrong muscles causing the right muscles to become weaker
  5. You’re increasing neck tightness and decreasing neck flexibility

Marian Barnick

With 25+ years experience, Marian’s passion is teaching patients how to use movement to overcome adversities. 

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One Response

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Exercise Benefits and Improving Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

I’m always adding new videos to help with range of motion,  mobility exercises, and exercises for shoulder pain .  Click the link below and subscribe so you’re notified of new content and new exercises.