Physical therapists are trained professionals who have studied and practiced to help all kinds of clients, from healthy athletes to people struggling to live with cancer. For someone living with cancer, life can become challenging. Patients struggle with pain, fatigue, and a decrease in activity that can make symptoms worse and life less enjoyable. Working with a physical therapist can provide these patients with a number of benefits:
Minimize treatment side effects
The side effects of cancer treatment can be uncomfortable, painful, and for many people, severe. Researchers have found that being physically active with the guidance of a physical therapist can help cancer patients experience minimized side effects from treatment, particularly pain. Physical therapy may be especially helpful in reducing or preventing discomfort and lack of mobility after a surgical procedure.
Greater mobility is one of the most important things a physical therapist can do for a cancer patient. Using guided exercises, stretches, and other modalities, a physical therapist can help a patient move more easily and with less pain. This opens up a whole world of opportunities for the patient from simply being able to perform daily tasks like bathing and cooking to being able to go out to be more active and socialize with friends. Mobility has a profound impact on patients, negative when mobility is limited and positive when it is restored.
Improve overall physical fitness
With limited mobility, pain, and fatigue, being physically active is a big challenge for cancer patients. Being active is important though, because maintaining fitness while sick helps patients feel better and recover better. It even helps improve outcomes. Studies have proven that when cancer patients are physically active, mortality rates go down. A physical therapist has an important role to play in helping patients get more active and physically fit. They help patients learn and perform exercises that are adapted for their specific needs and limitations.
Fatigue is a major issue for most cancer patients. The cancer itself causes fatigue, but this is also a common side effect of chemotherapy. Being more active, although it seems counterintuitive, is one of the best ways to fight fatigue. Patients will feel more energized when they participate in physical therapy sessions.
Improve mood and quality of life
Working with a physical therapist is a great way to battle the anxiety, depression, and stress that often accompany life with cancer. Physical activity is proven to boost mood and reduce stress, but the specific benefits of physical therapy, like pain and fatigue reduction and increased mobility, also help to improve mood. Together all of these benefits help a patient with cancer enjoy a better quality of life.
There are many good reasons why working with a physical therapist is an important strategy in the overall care of a patient with cancer. The benefits range from reducing side effects of treatment to increasing energy and helping patients get more active and physically fit. If you, or someone you know, have been diagnosed with cancer, AZOPT can help you gain your “life back”.