I had a lumpectomy: 8x9x10 cm. of breast tissue removed July 29, 2004. No chemo, just radiation. since the actual IDC was 1 cm. I have been working out with a personal trainer for about a month, lifting no more than 50 lbs. with both arms, or only 15 lbs free weight with one arm. In the middle of the night, my arm and hand tingle. When I lower it over the side of the bed, the tingling stops. This just happens at night, rarely during the day, unless my arm is immobile for a long period, like at the cinema. Also, since beginning working out, my entire muscle, from the breast, to under my arm, feels pulled and tight when I hyper-extend my arm, backwards, and upwards. Do I just keep doing what I'm doing? Or should I be alarmed about the tingling and the tight muscle?
Often times patients will report the same tingling sensation at night,, I have come to the conclusion that this represents compression on the nervous or vascular system while they are sleeping. I instruct my patients to be conscious of the position of the head on the pillow ( allow for neutral positioning of the head on the pillow) and I caution them not to sleep on their involved side.
The tightness that you are feeling on the front of the chest is related to a tight (or shortened) pectoralis muscle which is common post surgery and radiation. The best way to regain the length of the pectoralis is to perform a slow stretch into the bathroom opening while both arms are stretched overhead and your hands on the door jams. Be mindful not to overstretch and cause pain to linger on after you have finished the exercises. Also be mindful to take appropriate rest periods and not to fatigue the arm while exercising. Drinks lots of water.
While the pectoralis muscle is tight you may notice the arm and shoulder are slightly depressed and the shoulder is coming forward. This posture is conducive for the feeling of tingling in the arm while at rest ( movie theatre).
I would not be alarmed by the tingling sensation or the tight muscle overtime and with exercise you will regain the length of the muscle.
Janet Scheetz, PT