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Osteopathy for Breast Care

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At The Osteopathic Pelvic Hub our osteopaths are trained in treating mastitis and blocked ducts using both ultrasound and manual techniques as well as  scar tissue and discomfort following a mastectomy or breast surgery.

We believe in treating the body as a whole and take a holistic approach to treatment.
For mastitis and breast concerns this can include assessing and treating the ribs, the nerve
supply to the breast, and working on the joints and fascia that impact the breast and rib cage
as well as any other compensations throughout the body that might be occurring.


We also educate our patients on massage techniques and movement practices to prevent recurrence.

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Osteopathy for Breast Cancer recovery

After breast cancer surgery, which may include lumpectomy, lymph node removal, or mastectomy, women may encounter pain and limited upper body movement due to scar tissue, adhesions, or constrained mobility.

 

Osteopathy aims to provide relief and address any symptoms that may arise after breast cancer surgery.

Scar Tissue

Formation of scar tissue is a natural part of the body's healing process after any surgery, including breast surgery. Radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer can also lead to scar tissue formation.

Scar tissue buildup can cause pain and restricted range of motion in the breast and surrounding areas, including the shoulder. In some cases, scar tissue may adhere to underlying tissues, causing adhesions and further discomfort. Early intervention and regular treatment can reduce the likelihood of adhesions.

Osteopathic treatment can effectively manage both external and internal scar tissue. Using gentle techniques, osteopaths work with the body to soften deeper breast tissues.

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Cording (AWS)

Axillary Web Syndrome (Cording) refers to tight cords that extend from the armpit down the arm, possibly reaching the hand. These cords are believed to be scarred or hardened tissue resulting from breast or lymph node surgery. This condition may develop a few weeks or months after the operation.

The hardened cord-like tissue can cause pain and restrict mobility, particularly when lifting or moving the arm. Osteopathic treatment can support those experiencing cording.

 

Utilizing mobilization techniques, osteopaths work to alleviate pain and improve mobility. With proper treatment, most individuals can expect increased mobility and reduced pain in the affected area.

Capsular Contraction

Capsular contraction can occur after breast implant surgery. The body naturally forms a protective capsule around the implant, but in some cases, this capsule may become unusually hard and tight, squeezing the implant and causing pain.

Capsular contraction can lead to pain and breast asymmetry. Risk factors for this condition include radiation following breast implant surgery and a predisposition to scarring.

Osteopathic treatment can help reduce the effects of capsular contraction. Osteopaths work with the body to soften the tissue around the capsule, reducing tightness and improving mobility while reducing associated pain.

By addressing scar tissue, cording, and capsular contraction, osteopathy can enhance comfort and freedom during the recovery process after breast cancer surgery.

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Osteopathy to help with Mastitis

Mastitis is an inflammatory condition of the breast tissue, which may or may not be accompanied by infection. It occurs when breast milk becomes stagnant or congested in the breast tissue, leading to an inflammatory response.

Symptoms of mastitis can develop rapidly and typically peak within the first 24-48 hours. Recovery may take about a week.

Signs and symptoms of mastitis include tenderness and pain in the breast area, swollen breast tissue, redness or rash over the breast area, heat emitted over the affected area, fever or chills (not always indicating bacterial mastitis), tachycardia, and pain when feeding, lifting the arm, or lying on the affected side.

 

Severe symptoms may include vomiting and delirium and may require immediate medical attention.

FAQs about Mastitis

1

What causes Mastitis?

Mastitis conditions are caused by Hyperlactation and Mammary Dysbiosis, which can both lead to ductal narrowing. Ductal narrowing is the temporary constriction of mammary ducts that carry milk from the alveoli to the nipple, affecting the normal flow of milk. Hyperlactation refers to the overproduction of breast milk, leading to increased volumes of blood (hyperemia) and fluid (edema) in the breast tissue. This, along with congested alveoli, can result in inflammation in the mammary system, causing ductal narrowing. Mammary Dysbiosis is a disruption of the milk microbiome. Healthy milk microbiomes contain bacteria, CoNS, and viridans streptococci, forming a thin film lining the mammary ducts' epithelium. When there is a dysbiosis (imbalance) in the milk microbiome, CoNS and viridans streptococci proliferate, forming a thick film that inflames the epithelium and narrows the ductal lumen.

2

Reasons for ductal narrowing or inflammation that contributes to mastitis 

Ductal narrowing or inflammation leading to mastitis may be caused by suboptimal feeding of the baby, such as improper latching, restrictions in the baby's mouth, jaw, tongue, or neck, or postural issues during feeding. Other factors include tongue ties in the baby, breast pump use (especially when exclusively or predominantly used), feeding until the breast is "emptied" disregulating milk production, and the use of nipple shields, which can impact optimal feeding and milk removal.

3

How can Osteopathic treatment help with mastitis?

Osteopathic treatment can address postural restrictions, breast tissue restriction, tight muscles, and poor lymphatic drainage to address the root cause of milk stasis and breast congestion. Therapeutic ultrasound can be used to support recovery by promoting fluid movement, reducing swelling, and decreasing inflammation. Therapeutic ultrasound is a painless treatment where sound waves are absorbed by tissues in the body, causing movement that promotes circulation of fluids. It is an important tool in treating mastitis and is typically used for 3 to 10 minutes with a gentle wand moving over the skin. Addressing mastitis with osteopathy involves comprehensive treatment to improve breast health and relieve symptoms effectively. Our Osteopaths work very closely with our Exercise Physiologist who is extensively trained in whole body mobility and strengthening. Exercise Physiology works with you to improve functional movements to get you back living a healthier and more independent life!

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