Physical Therapy Treatment for the Cancer Survivor

There are many healthcare providers who will guide you through cancer treatments, but who is there to help you through your transition back to daily life and normal function? Your physical therapist, that’s who! Many people do not know the role physical therapy plays in the care of cancer patients. There are many techniques that a physical therapist can utilize to help you achieve your goals and return to daily life with improved mobility and decreased pain. 

At BodyGears, we believe in a multidisciplinary approach, ensuring that we have open communication with all health professional involved in your care, to ensure all aspects of your health are being addressed.  

Cancer Physical Therapy Treatment for the Cancer Survivor

Post-Cancer Exercise 

It has long been questioned whether or not resistance exercise increases the risk of lymphedema in cancer survivors and they are often given the recommendation to not lift over five pounds. The results of a 2009 study called the PAL trial showed that slowly progressed resistive exercises done in a very precise fashion (e.g. ½lb incremental increases) did not increase the risk of lymphedema. Physical therapists are exercise experts and are uniquely trained to provide exercise training while monitoring patient status. 

Another challenge for cancer survivors is the fatigue that is often a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation. Patients used to be told to rest when feeling fatigued. Now we know that physical activity within your tolerance is important during these periods of fatigue.  

How can physical therapy help? 

After procedures such as mastectomies, lumpectomies, or radiation, there can be significant scar tissue development within the treatment area that can limit the nearby joint mobility during daily activities. This can also affect the resting position of those joints, decreasing postural efficiency. At Body Gears, we utilize Functional Manual Therapy™ to treat soft tissue restrictions, including scar tissues, to restore normal movement. We also teach you how to improve your postural alignment in any positions you need for your daily activities. 

Pain due to cancer surgery or treatment can also be a major issue. Physical therapy management includes myofascial release away from the area of radiation, gentle exercises, and education. Continuing with your range of motion exercises for at least a year once you’ve achieved full joint range is important for managing latent cell changes that can occur. Those with chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) conditions will also benefit from strengthening and balance exercises for safe walking.  

Call us or Request Free Consult or Contact Us Today at Chicago Lincoln Park, Oak Brook, Oak Park, & Winnetka, IL Centers to learn more about how we can help you feel your best after cancer treatment.