Arms Over My Head: Astym therapy changed my life by restoring my movement after breast cancer treatment

I am a survivor of breast cancer. I had a bilateral mastectomy in August of 2013 followed by a year of chemo and 4 more surgeries to the chest finishing in December 2014. I developed chemo induced neuropathy and began falling from balance issues. This sent me to the Neurologist who sent me to physical therapy. After 2 months of work on the balance issues with success we turned our focus on the limited use of my upper body. I was working and trying but didn’t see very much progress when my PT mentioned to me that she was going to a training for a treatment called Astym therapy and that she wanted to try it on me when she got back. At this point, I can’t lift my arms parallel to my shoulders so I am willing to try anything. After the first treatment, and it hurt enough that ugly words came out of my mouth I felt more loose but really didn’t know what it had accomplished, they had me try to do a plank and I could only get about 1/2 inch off the table and had to keep my knees down on the table just to do that. I was so wore out from my workout that I could not change back into my work clothes. 3 days later I realized that I had just randomly raised my hands above my head-jumping jack style-and I got excited, really excited. I had not done that in a year & 1/2. 2nd treatment-didn’t hurt as badly and we added stomach to Astym treatment because of the lypo that had been done for reconstruct filler. The work out afterward went much better, then it was plank time…I was able to do a FULL plank, no knees down and fully off the table! WHAT? I just finished my 4th treatment, I feel better than I have in almost 2 years, I can lift and stretch and do many things that just 3 weeks ago were not even in my thoughts as being obtainable for months. I cannot tell you how much this treatment has changed my outlook and progress. I am so excited that there is a possibility that I can now swim this summer. I have 4 more treatments and even though I want to punch the PT (don’t judge;) sometimes because it hurts, I have realized no pain no gain really is true! It is over quickly and if I can go through chemo then I can handle a little Astym pain! My treatments times varied between 4-7 days in between because of my scheduling issues. I want to spread the word, shout it from the treetops and hopefully help someone else find a simple solution in this not so simple disease to find their strength and mobility again.

Alicia Stallings
Treating Clinic: Heartland Rehab Services-Murray
208 South 6th Street
Murray, KY 42071
Phone: 270-759-9500
Website:  www.hcr-manorcare.com

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