Chiropractic Care And Physical Therapy During Cancer Treatment

Posted on: 4 August 2016

If your oncologist says that the treatments are safe, cancer patients often find non-invasive treatment techniques associated with chiropractic care and physical therapy beneficial. But it helps to understand the benefits and potential risks that both these treatment approaches offer when it comes to preserving and restoring health during and after cancer treatment.

What are the benefits?

Chiropractic treatment can help relieve pain associated with the tight muscles and stiff joints that may follow surgery or worsen during radiation therapy or chemotherapy. A chiropractor also may recommend physical therapy as part of your treatment plan to increase your strength and flexibility and improve your mobility and overall ability to function.

Chiropractic adjustment of the spine may help ease back pain, neck pain, headache, and nausea – symptoms that can occur with cancer or as the result of cancer treatments. Spinal manipulation to restore alignment to relieve pain or improve restricted movement may include techniques such as hands-on adjustments, massage, or traction.

A physical therapist will focus on exercise to strengthen your bones and muscles, reduce nausea and fatigue, lower anxiety, and reduce the risk of depression during cancer treatment. Physical therapy usually includes stretching exercise to increase flexibility and maintain range of motion in your joints.

Both chiropractic care and physical therapy treatment may involve the use of techniques such as the application of heat and/or ice and ultrasound. The use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) generally isn't recommended for cancer patients.

When are manual chiropractic and physical therapy techniques not recommended?

The type of cancer you have and the stage of your cancer can affect your treatment plan. For example, your oncologist may not recommend chiropractic care if your platelet counts are low or you have a bone metastasis.

A low number of platelets in the blood caused by chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy can cause you to bruise easily and increase the risk of bleeding. If blood tests show that your platelet counts are low, you should avoid chiropractic and physical therapy treatment techniques that apply pressure or involve the use of massage.

When cancer cells spread to a bone, you can experience pain and the bone can break more easily. Multiple myeloma, lymphoma, breast cancer, and lung cancer are some of the cancers that can cause bone metastasis. If you have cancer that involves a bone, doctors don't recommend manual therapies to relieve pain.

How can physical therapy help when chiropractic care can't?

While chiropractic care that involves manual manipulation techniques should be avoided if you have a low platelet count or bone metastasis, physical therapy may focus on muscle strengthening exercises and exercises to improve your balance. A physical therapist also can help you maintain function and improve your mobility by recommending assistive devices such as a cane or walker to help you walk or a brace to stabilize your spine. He or she will instruct you on how to properly wear a brace as well as on the safe use of a mobility assistive device.

For physical therapy and chiropractic treatment, contact a company such as Burgman Chiropractic Clinic PC