Cancer Pain Treatment with Physical Therapy
You have likely heard of physical therapy. Perhaps you even previously received physical therapy for injuries like knee pain or muscle strain. But physical therapy can also be beneficial for cancer patients experiencing pain. At Jersey Premier Pain, we specialize in treating cancer pain with every tool in the toolbox, including physical therapy.
If you are suffering from cancer pain and wondering about your options for pain management, the Jersey City pain treatment specialists of Jersey Premier Pain encourage you to consider physical therapy.
What Is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a type of medical care that aims to:
- Ease pain
- Promote healing
- Improve function, movement, and quality of life
Physical therapists are licensed medical professionals who have completed graduate-level training. You might think of them as movement experts.
Physical therapists evaluate patients’ conditions and develop tailored plans to achieve their goals. They treat various conditions, including acute or chronic injuries, disabilities, and pain management. They use a range of modalities, including the following:
- Therapeutic massage
- Myofascial release
- Joint mobilization
- Heat or cold therapy
- Balance/coordination training
- Body mechanics/ergonomics
- Water therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Laser or light therapy
How Does Physical Therapy Help with Cancer Pain?
Cancer and cancer treatment are hard on the body and mind. Many patients experience significant pain throughout their cancer diagnosis and treatment (sometimes even in remission). Even so, every cancer patient’s experience will be different, requiring a personalized approach to pain management.
That’s why physical therapy is an excellent treatment option for cancer patients. Physical therapists have numerous tools to treat pain and improve function, which they can tailor to each patient’s needs. They are highly experienced at listening to patients’ concerns and adjusting their treatment plans accordingly. Physical therapists also teach patients how to participate in their own care and pain management with at-home exercises and treatments.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for Treating Cancer Pain
Cancer patients who treat their pain with physical therapy can benefit in the following ways:
- Comfort – Having cancer can be painful and uncomfortable. Physical therapists can help alleviate your discomfort through various treatments, such as hands-on manual therapy and electrical stimulation. They can also teach you techniques to perform at home to alleviate pain and discomfort.
- Less medication – While medication may be essential to your cancer pain treatment, many medicines also have adverse side effects that add to your pain and discomfort. By managing your pain, discomfort, and side effects of cancer treatment through physical therapy, you may become less dependent upon medication.
- Musculoskeletal strength – Cancer and cancer treatment can weaken your musculoskeletal strength, which makes you susceptible to further injury. Physical therapy can help strengthen your bones and muscles, allowing you to move more comfortably and safely.
- Cardiovascular health – Cancer treatment can also worsen your cardiovascular health. Physical therapy will get you moving, which may help reduce fatigue and promote healing.
- Improve mood – Numerous studies show that movement helps boost your mood. While cancer takes a toll on mental and emotional health, physical therapy could help alleviate depressive symptoms.
What Do the Studies Show about Physical Therapy for Cancer Patients?
The following studies have shown an appreciable impact on pain management for cancer patients who receive physical therapy treatment:
- In a study in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 28 patients undergoing cancer treatment showed a significant decrease in pain measurements after a 12-week aerobic, resistance, and flexibility therapy treatment program.
- A study in Cancer showed that 52 head and neck cancer survivors significantly reduced shoulder pain and disability and improved strength and endurance after a 12-week therapeutic exercise protocol.
- A review of multiple studies in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews shows that interventions involving movement therapies, such as resistance and strength training, positively impacted overall health-related quality of life.
What Can I Expect in Physical Therapy for Cancer Pain?
Here’s what you can expect when receiving physical therapy for cancer pain:
- The first appointment – Your physical therapists will ask you questions about your pain, movement challenges, and goals for physical therapy. They will evaluate your current condition by feeling your muscles and joints or asking you to perform specific movements. Together, you will develop a treatment plan to achieve your goals. They may perform treatment modalities, such as therapeutic massage or ultrasound, at your first appointment and give you at-home exercises to work on until your next appointment.
- Subsequent appointments – At subsequent appointments, your physical therapist will ask you how you are feeling, what has improved or worsened, and how your at-home exercises are going. They may repeat previous treatment modalities, try new ones, and give you new at-home exercises to work on.
- At-home treatments – Physical therapists often give patients at-home exercises or treatments to perform daily or every other day between appointments. When performed diligently, at-home exercises can help you improve more quickly.
- Long-term care – Physical therapy can adjust as your condition improves or worsens. Over the long term, a physical therapist’s goal is to improve their patient’s condition so that they go from once-a-week appointments to once a month or even less. You and your physical therapist will agree on your care timeline and adjust as needed.
Contact Our Jersey City Cancer Pain Physical Therapist Team Today
If you are suffering from cancer pain that makes daily life difficult, contact Jersey Premier Pain to see if physical therapy might be a good option for your cancer pain treatment plan.
Our physical therapist, Dr. Sunil Hamadani, specializes in helping cancer patients experience comfort and relief through gentle, strengthening movement. He is committed to building a strong rapport with his patients and helping them achieve their physical therapy goals.