hi i had mx 7 wks ago got cording only wk later i am having physio at moe who as only seen 3 cases she is massaging it at moe but said that it dont always work i have to be able to use my arm properly for my job and of coursr rsdio i know some plp get it but have any one had it and physio not worked what happens then many thanks laura

Hi Laura

I had cording and as I was having physio for shoulder after surgery anyway, my physio did some massage for me. She also told me to do the massage myself as well - only gently, using some cream. It was very effective and within a couple of weeks it had gone completely.

PM me if you want any more info.
Sal x

Hi Laura and Salopets

I have cording as well and have been massaging with Aqueous cream (along with my other bits!). It is easing Laura, so hang in there In addition to the exercises I was given post op which the physio has told me to do little and often, She’s also given me an exercise where you lie on the bed with appropriate arm outstretched so your hand hangs over the side of the bed and then let our wrist drop downwards - hold for a few seconds or until it starts to pull and then flex your hand back to its normal position before doing it again. Only do what feels comfortable though and repeat 5 times.

My cording varies - sometimes I can feel and even see it more than at other times. Anyone else have the same experience?

Hope you are keeping well Laura - I’m off to Oncologist tomorrow for results of 2nd WLE and whatever else this next phase of the journey entails!!!

Love and Hugs Leigh xx

I developed cording a week or so after my op. First, I had it from the armpit to the elbow, then from the elbow to the wrist instead. I just massaged it myself and made sure I exercised it many, many, many times a day, in particular stretching my arm so that I could feel the actual cord stretching. It gradually went after a few weeks.

Good luck! Ann x

I am fairly sure I had cording (I never got it looked at) which appeared 6 weeks after surgery, and like Ann, treated it by stretching my arm out every evening while watching telly.

I was flexing my wrist in all directions and pulling my arm in various directions to stretch it as much as I could, gently, but challenging it. It disappeared after 1-2 weeks of doing this and I feel I have now got full movement and strength back now (I am now 12 weeks post-surgery). I can raise it as high as my ‘good’ arm now, where previously the cording was making me bend at the elbow.

Keep gently pushing it, and it should come good. I know it can be frustrating though.

I’ve been having physio almost every week for nearly a year now and still have limited movement with my arm and have cording. My previous physio lady used to manipulate it until it popped, then it felt so much better. A painful procedure at the time, but it seemed to work.

I’ve still got some cording and see a different physio now, he just doesn’t seem to get the hang of getting it to pop. I’ve mentioned about the cording and he says it is quite normal to always have some.

I will try the exercises that have been suggested to see if it helps so thanks for giving the info on this.

Hope it feels better soon Laura

Hi all, Peacock

Like you I see a physio nearly every week. Mine has just come back from a conference in Paris and she mentioned that the latest thinking on cording is that ‘not to pop’ is best.

I’ve never had cording, but I don’t think you have to put up with it indefinitely, surely?

X to all


hi all i can move my arm quite well but i cant lift it straight up as high as other one maybe it still bit early my physio dont seem to no a lot about it i only had snb so im surprised i got it that bad its very tight in arm pit and when stretched out fully pulls on my scar and above and below i hope i dont have to put up with it by the way physio talking u can only go for so long laura

Hello everyone,

I was told I didn’t need any physio on discharge, but have pulled out the BCC exercises leaflet and started to do those as I can feel that I am slowly beginning to stiffen up on that side post-surgery (not quite 2 weeks ago).

Thanks very much to Sal and Leigh - I’ll be PM-ing you both for more information/questions if I may. I love the wonderful sharing and caring feeling this forum has - I am a regular forum user and its been great to find the same supportive nature here too.

Debs x

Hi Laura
I’ve been having physio for cording and tightness caused by scar tissue along my chest area since my mastectomy for 3 months now and now its fantastic. My physio only took about 5 sessions to clear the cording problem but the tightness in my chest and under arm has taken a bit longer because it was so bad…but it’s been the best thing I could have had, I can’t imagine how I’d have managed on computer in work without it. I’d say I have 95% full mobility now so keep with it and persevere, it will get better. I’ve even started to get some feeling back in my arm and chest which was completely numb after surgery in September. This is because the nerve endings are being stimulated again.
Good luck & hope you see signs of improvement soon
Bev xx

Hi there Bev,
I have a very tight tethered scar which is making me very upset and wondered what you did to help release it?
Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.
I am having physio for tendonitis in my shoulder and have been told to massage scar for cording through my breast. However, nothing has changed with the tightness of scar/wound!
I’ve had three operations so far on the same site, with mx 9 weeks ago.

Wanting to hear anything that will help.

Thanks so much from Welsh girl x

Hi all

I’d be grateful for any more tips also. My surgery was way back on 30th last July, but I have suffered pain after each chemo, which has settled each time except the last time, which was on 18th December. My onc said its cording, but I can’t feel anything like a cord in it. The pain & tightness continues to be horrible however, despite the fact I’m stretching the arm almost constantly. The upper inside of the arm hurts from the armpit to the elbow, with the armpit feeling really ‘scratchy’ when I move. Sometimes, but not all the time, it feels like a tight strap round the upper arm. Also, & I haven’t asked anyone else about this, sometimes my unaffected sidw is tender also. I’m hoping this is because the lymph nodes are having to work twice as hard, or even because my bras are obviously not as well-fitting as they should be. Does anyone else have experience of this?

I haven’t read the whole of this thread so apols if I duplicate something already said.

Post surgery, I had 2 x problems. 1 was distinctly cording and it started 3-4 weeks after and after when I had regained quite good arm movement. one of the hospices near me has a physio who is genned up on post breast surgery, cording and lympodema. She saw me and ‘broke’ some of the cords (it was very painful but the pain stopped immeadiately). The rest she gave me excersises and advise for and confidence of how far to ‘push’ it. I remember she said I would have to work through the pain but she also told me what not to do!

Months later, I started to have pain shoulder to wrist, extremely tender and move movement was restricted because of it. I recall a sense of tightness. I saw a lymphodema nurse who arranged an arm sock for me. She didn’t think I had developed lympodema but she couldn’t rule out there was a threat of it developing. I wore the arm sock regularly for a short while each day and the pain went and its never come back.

My friend developed sever cording when she had chemo (pre surgery) and though it is much better than it was, its never quite gone away.

Our BCN and oncologists were really helpful each time she or I had problems - is yours able to help you?

Sending you feel better wishes
L x x x

Just sharing some info on cording. I had a bad cording on the under arm despite the regular stretching and exercises. My tissue is over healing and caused the cording effect. the doctor at the hospital treated me with a steroid injection. It was done along the axiliary scar, several pricks slowly, after having local anaesthetic to numb the injection. it seems to work! I have no problem since then. the injection softened the tissue. Probably you need to ask your surgeon if you could have the same injection if your cording is so bad.

I had my mx 3 years ago and occasionally suffer cording in my right arm (right mx and axillary clearance) I havent had physio but every day massage body lotion on both arms sometimes my arm can feel swollen and tight as well as side mx was done. I also find my bra can feel quite tight at times and ok others. I am waiting on reconstruction but wear a prosthesis at the moment, Which means my bra has to be quite firm and supportive to support the prosthesis. I think the firmness and tightness of the bra aggravates the area. Often I have to take my bra off in the house and just wear a loose fitting t-shirt and after a few days all is well again. The hot weather seems to make me feel a bit swollen and tight which made me make my mind up about reconstruction as I dont like the feeling of the hot prosthesis. When I go for a bra fitting the fitters always want to tighten up the straps for better support but this traps lymph fluid. This is my theory anyway. Would love to be able to wear a comfy crop top but cant do this yet.

Hope this helps some ladies that suffer discomfort.

Carolyn x