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Physical Therapy and Cancer Recovery

April 5, 2022

Cancer physical therapy can improve your overall health while recovering from cancer. It offers significant benefits for patients who experience difficulties from cancer-related treatments. Additionally, it helps ease the emotional turmoil caused by the inevitable waves of fear and frustration. Supervised exercise promotes healing through increased blood flow while simultaneously improving muscle tone and encouraging emotional wellbeing. 

Oncology Treatments Can Be Physically Taxing

Most medical treatments for battling cancer include prescription medications, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. These treatments can have an adverse effect on the physical abilities of the patient, who may be experiencing pain and fatigue while also having difficulty with muscle movement. Daily tasks such as cooking, laundry, house cleaning, and maintaining personal hygiene are more difficult when your muscles are weak or swollen. 

Physical Activity Can Ease the Burden

Physical activity can improve a patient’s quality of life. Oncology treatments can leave the body feeling weak and depleted. Oncology physical therapy offers several benefits to patients who experience dizziness or have difficulties walking and lifting groceries. Incorporating a trained physical therapist during this time can ease the burden of cancer treatment methods by reducing problems caused by muscle weakness and atrophy.

Cancer Rehabilitation 

Many medical treatments for cancer are designed to treat aggressively, which can have unfortunate side effects, including pain and swelling in the surrounding muscles. The pressure from this swelling limits muscle movement, causing frustration when the pain affects and limits mobility.

Rehab for Cancer Patients

A patient’s emotional health can impact cancer treatment processes. Stress can cause physical manifestations, such as excess stomach acid or nausea. Oncology physical therapy services offer proactive diversion and relaxation techniques to help shift the patient’s focus away from the associated emotional stress. It’s essential to address and alleviate feelings of overwhelm and frustration.

Physical Therapy and Cancer Rehabilitation

Because each patient has unique problems and limitations, oncologists can include physical therapy in the treatment plan to provide a better patient care experience. Physical therapy helps the patient to focus on stamina and physical strength. Improving physical condition is a significant advantage when dealing with some treatment complications. With stronger muscle tone and better physical conditioning, you can avoid potential problems with mobility. Physical therapy for cancer patients increases physical strength, which protects independence.

Physical therapy can provide a full range of services that benefit mental, physical, and emotional health when undergoing cancer treatments and improve the patient care experience. Physical therapy can focus on building muscle and stamina while increasing mobility and range of motion. Additionally, massage techniques can be used to increase blood flow to the inflamed areas, allowing them to heal more quickly. Your oncologist can set you up with an appropriate cancer rehabilitation center to help you lessen the rigor of aggressive treatment methods.

Types of Physical Therapy Exercises 

Similar to cancer treatment, physical therapy receives individualized treatment. Many physical therapists will incorporate cardiovascular exercises and strength and resistance training into their cancer patients’ routine, contingent on their energy level, physical abilities, exercise goals, and more. Remaining active through physical therapy will help minimize the patient’s muscle loss. 

Traditional Physical Therapy 

Your physical therapist might create a personalized physical therapy exercise plan based on the patient’s unique needs. These exercises will restore flexibility, strength, endurance, and proper biomechanics. 

Manual Therapy

During manual therapy, a physical therapist uses their hands to massage and move the patient’s joints to help with mobility and range of motion. Manual therapy can help decrease the patient’s pain from muscle spasms, tensions, and joint issues. 

Lymphedema Treatments

A patient’s arms or legs might swell up from fluid buildup after cancer treatment. Lymphedema therapists are trained to safely drain the fluid and fit for compression bandages or other devices to prevent issues in the future. Lymphedema treatment will also incorporate exercises that help prevent fluid buildup and keep patients active. 

Pelvic Health

Some patients might experience issues with incontinence or constipation post-oncology treatment. These issues can cause pelvic pain that limits specific physical abilities. Pelvic floor therapists are trained to treat these complications through specific stretching and exercise routines that target pelvic floor dysfunctions.  

Support Network for Cancer Rehabilitation

A support network can enhance emotional health during cancer recovery. You can control feelings of loneliness with a support network of friends and relatives who can offer help and compassionate conversations for sharing personal problems or concerns. Avoiding loneliness and alienation is essential when going through such a difficult time. Being as physically active as possible will help brighten your mood during this trying process.

Cancer Treatment Decisions

A team typically makes decisions about cancer treatments of medical professionals and the patient. With a cancer diagnosis, it’s crucial that you, as the patient, understand what you’re facing, what your treatment options are, the patient services that are available to you, and how cancer and treatment will likely affect you. 

Nashville Oncology is committed to treating the whole person, not just the disease. We offer a comprehensive package of personalized advanced medicine to meet the individual needs of patients and their families. Contact us to learn more or schedule an appointment.