Some advice please, think i have cording


This is the first time i have posted, I’ve been visiting the site for about 4 weeks now and have found it very helpful. i am 39 and was dx on 27th november with IDC 1cm grade 3, had lumpectomy and sentinal lymph removal on 12th dec. Thought i was recovering quite well, until about 4 days ago when i started feeling as if i have a cord running from my breast up and through my armpit and along my arm, feels very bruised and tender and i’m wondering wether to consult the dr before my post op on friday 2nd jan?
Has anyone else had this problem and am i right in thinking it maybe cording?

If anyone can advise me i would be very gratefull.


Sorry I cant help but hopefully someone along soon to help you.


It sounds like my cording was. I had a mx and full lymph clearance and due to stiffness in my shoulder post surgery, my bcn sent me to physio. They were brill and when I mentioned this tightness and feeling of having a thin rope up my arm, it was cording so they massaged it and popped it. I still get it mildly on occasions and have exercises to do. If it gets too bad, they will massage it again as I am still going to physio every week to 10 days for taping to reduce lymph swelling !

I would say, see if you can get to see a physio asap.

All the best,



Thanks for your advise, i think i’ll give the clinic a call tomorrow and see if they can refer me for physio. How long ago did you have surgery?


Hi Karen,

Surgery was almost 12 months ago - Jan 10th. 1st lot of physio 2 weeks later - they were on the ball !! Had the start of some cording again last week from elbow to wrist and into hand but physio checked it, made me do my exercises and it’s all but gone now. Think I’d lifted something I shouldn’t have !! May get it again soon as I’ve carried stuff today - whoops…

It’s better if you can get it seen to quickly and know what to do if it starts from time to time.



Hope you don’t get it again! Mine is quite painfull and i wouldn,t wish it on anyone.
Have left a message with the breast centre, so fingers crossed they will get back to me today.

All the best and thanks for the advise,



I had severe cording after the full lymph node clearance. It lasted for several weeks but the only way to get rid of it is to exercise although it is horribly painful it will eventually go. Don’t worry if you feel things pop this happened to me on many occasions and was told it was the lymph vessels breaking up. Also massage under your arm I was a bit scared to do this at first because if felt so horrible and I could see the cords under my arm and at my elbow. The physio told me to massage and exercise which I did and thankfully it eventually got easier. Good Luck!



thanks for the advise, i have been trying to stretch my arm and as you say it is painful, The bcn got in touch today and she told me to go see her at the the clinic tomorrow to be refered for physio, so hopefully they will help.


Karen, do hope you get quick and useful response, if you are up for hippy herby option may be worth contacting a homopath, the remedy hypericum is good for “nerve pain” ( take orally)

best of luck


Hi, I also have cording problem on my armpit. The only relief I found is by using oil or moisturiser and massage it. As your fingers and skin are well lubricated with oil/moisturiser try to massage the tight cord, to soften it. Massage it for about 15 minutes and you would find a big relief and your arm more manouverable. I always massage it before the exercises or raising my arm high up. It helps to relax the stiff cord. Good luck.

Thanks misspiggy i’ll give that a try, at the moment i’m getting my husband to massage it as i think i would stop as soon as it hurts. We haven’t used any oil though, so will give that a try.

Hi Khar35, It sounds like you had the same as i had done. I had a lumpectomy on the 1st October last year and 25 lymph nodes taken out on the 3rd November. At the time, i was quite concerned as i thought my arm would never get better. Even getting dressed in the mornings was painful. It went from my shoulder all the way down to my wrist. Even touching it was painful. I also had sever cording under my arm and everytime i wanted to shave i burst in to tears as i couldn’t just swipe at the fuzz all in one go. I had to do the left side of the cording, then the right. It must have taken me 15 mins just to shave that one armpit! I was refered to a physio at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford named Debbie and she was an absolute Godsend! I have no idea what i’d have done without her. I saw her once a week every week for around 8 weeks and everytime she massaged, she gently eased my arm a little further away from my body coaxing the cording away.
Don’t worry, it will eventually go away, but i was told that if i didn’t feel like exercising my arm or massaging it one day, then not to worry about it.
I did end up being a very bad girl, as i quickly stopped touching it and exercising it all together and just let Debbie deal with it as she knew exactly what she was doing and everytime i tried, i felt like i was doing it wrong as it hurt more when i did it.
It does make you wonder whether you’ll ever be able to move it again. But trust me, apart from feeling weird even now as i have a little sensation back under my arm, but nowhere near what it was like before, you will get full use of your arm back, the pain for me went away 100% and you will definately be able to shave normally again eventually.
Definately go to a physio. They’re absolute life savers!
Hope everything goes well for you
Take care

Hi all,

I’m not sure whether I have cording or not, I get a really tight pain mainly in my hand, the side I had lymph nodes removed, but it doesn’t feel like a rope if anything it feels like it is badly bruised, although I have not banged it. Do you think this is cording??

Many Thanks
Carole xx

P.s I have had this for some time now

Hi Carole,

I have put for you below links to 2 of BCC’s publications which may help you with what you are experiencing. I hope they help. You are also welcome to phone the helpline and have a chat with one of the nurses here about this. Calls to the helpline are free of charge.

After surgery:

Exercises booklet:Search Results | Breast Cancer Now

Kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator