Physical therapy has become very popular due to its effectiveness and safety in managing medical conditions which usually involve the musculoskeletal system. Perhaps unknown to many, the benefits of physical therapy is not limited only to this field but may include other areas of medical therapy. One such area in which physical therapy has been very beneficial is in the management of cancer diseases.
Cancer patients may enjoy the following benefits when undergoing physical therapy:
Increase Strength and Endurance
The lack of activity and the effects of the cancer may result to the loss of strength as well as cardiovascular endurance. This may lead to difficulty in moving, reduced resistance, and further fatigue. With the help of a physical therapist, a program may be instituted to address these issues. The patient may be taught activities that will improve muscular strength, increase aerobic endurance, and enhance muscle metabolism. Strategies will likewise be offered that are designed to increase function and allow the patient to adjust to his or her present circumstances.
Swelling, which can be very discomforting and painful, is a very common occurrence among cancer patients due to surgery and medications prescribed. Other factors such as radiation and the removal of lymph nodes during a surgical procedure may contribute greatly to the onset of swelling. When deciding for a physical therapy, the patient will be assessed properly in connection with the swelling and recommendations will be made accordingly. Treatment may include compression therapy and manual drainage techniques aimed at reducing swelling while promoting efficient fluid clearance.
Lessen Weakness and Fatigue
Most likely a cancer patient will feel weakness and fatigue as a result of the disease, which may be made worse by the medications and inactivity. Losing that muscular strength while being inactive will only further add to the feeling of weakness. In such cases, a physical therapist will make a thorough evaluation of the general condition of the patients and will then offer a program that will deal with the patient’s weakness and fatigue. This program may include exercises that will strengthen the muscles, enhance mobility, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Improve Balance and Flexibility
One major impact of cancer is the loss of balance and flexibility in a patient. This may be due to the effects of medications and treatment programs such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. This is further caused by the loss of muscles’ strength brought about by prolonged inactivity or due to the effects of the disease itself. It is not unheard of for patients to have difficulty moving (or worse, suffering falls due to loss of balance and flexibility). This is where physical therapy becomes beneficial. A therapist will offer a program that could answer this challenging problem. This will not only focus on strengthening exercises but will also include addressing issues involving connective tissues, restricted muscles, and sensory faculties.