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Axillary web syndrome


Re: Axillary web syndrome


Hi sunbeam


Thanks for your post here.


Pain and numbness are common after breast surgery which includes the removal of lymph nodes. Axillary web syndrome, also known as cording, can also happen in some people. Any discomfort can impact on the mobility of your arm which is why it’s suggested people take regular oral pain relief (which might include anti-inflammatory drugs such as voltarol for those who can take them) and perform routine arm exercises after surgery.


The usual approach to managing cording includes physiotherapy and additional specific exercises to stretch the cord. You can ask your breast care nurse for a physiotherapy referral if you haven’t already had one.


Use of massage with voltarol gel is not a routine recommendation, but may be a local hospital recommendation for all patients or in individual situations as an alternative to oral medication.  It may be a good idea to contact your breast care nurse or physiotherapist to ask more about this.


Do call our free, confidential Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The number is 0808 800 6000.


Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.


Please note our Helpline will be closed on Saturday 17 November for training purposes. 


Best wishes




Breast Cancer Care Nurse


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Axillary web syndrome

I've been advised to massage axilla with voltarol gel by my oncologist. It took me by surprise so wanted to know if this was because of anti inflammatory properties? Couldn't see any mention of this approach anywhere on web.