Clin Pain.  2021 Jun;20(1):25-29. 10.35827/cp.2021.20.1.25.

Feasibility of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Complex Upper Limb Morbidity in Breast Cancer Patient

  • 1Department and Research Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Upper limb morbidity including shoulder pain, lymphedema, adhesive capsulitis, myofascial pain syndrome, and limited range of motions (LROMs) occurs frequently in breast cancer patients. Especially restricted upper limb motion aggravated by chronic lymphedema results in functional limitation and impaired activities of daily living (ADL). However, conventional rehabilitation therapy including complex decongestive therapy and stretching exercise is insufficient for managing advanced breast cancer patients with complex upper limb morbidity. Here, we report a case of breast cancer-related chronic lymphedema in a 62-years old female with severe LROM in all joints of the affected upper extremity that caused severe disability in ADL. Significant improvements in range of motion and upper extremity function were observed after serial extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), combined with conventional rehabilitation therapy. Therefore, ESWT might be recommended for managing the extensive limited joint motion which causes functional decline in a patient of chronic lymphedema with trophic skin change.


Breast cancer-related lymphedema; Joint contracture; Extracorporeal shock wave therapy
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