Stiffness in Area of Radiation Treatment

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Last Modified: December 13, 2011

Question

I feel stiffness in the area where I had radiation. What can I do about this?

Answer

Gary Freedman, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Penn , responds:

Stiffness in the area of radiation is relatively common, depending on the site treated, the technique and equipment used, and the dose used. Most women with breast irradiation can have temporary pains or stiffness of the chest and ribs. Treeatment can be ibuprofen or tylenol. Patients can do stretching and range of motion arm exercises to stretch the underlying pectoralis muscles that can be tight. For more severe cases affecting quality of life, a patient can be referred to a physical therapist for a more formal course of therapy.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat. Series, View the Life After Breast Cancer transcript.

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