Physiotherapy and complementary therapies
In an attempt to rehabilitate (bring back to normal) you may undergo physiotherapy to restore the function, repair the damage, improve mobility, reduce stiffness and pain and eventually improve the quality of life. Physiotherapy plays an important role during recovery for helping the body build strength and heal. Many with cancer, during and after treatment face a lot of difficulties physically in flexibility, strength, endurance, balance and coordination. Physiotherapy will help to reduce the long and short term side effects of cancer treatment and also prevent unnecessary disability.
Issues in which Physiotherapy helps:
- Shortness of breath
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Fall prevention
- Pelvic floor muscle functioning
- Sexual dysfunction
During cancer treatment, you may hear or read about complementary therapies. Many people may give different information. Complementary therapies can be used in combination with conventional (Treatment which is scientifically based such as chemotherapy) to help control symptoms, but it does not aim to cure the disease. Many people will use to:
- Reduce the side effects of cancer treatment
- Improve physical well being
- Improve the recovery from cancer
Some of the complementary therapies which have been useful for cancer patients are:
- Physical Activity: participating in physical activities will help to rebuild strength, relax and cope with stress and to relieve, pain, anxiety and depression.
- Nutrition: this therapy helps to control weight changes, make right choices of food during treatment and for recovery, cope with nausea and vomiting.
- Acupuncture: this therapy involves the use of very thin needles to stimulate specific points in the body. Acupuncture can help to relieve pain, reduce chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. It can also help with headache, fatigue, sleeping problems, appetite loss, weight changes, diarrhea, constipation, anxiety, swallowing difficulties and lymphedema,
- Mind and body techniques: these help to manage depression and stress during treatment. Mind and Body techniques improve the quality of life.
- Yoga: uses breathing exercises, meditation, posing and stretching of certain muscle groups. Yoga has proved to be effective to help regulate stress hormones, improve well being and mood. It also plays a role in reducing pain, nausea, fatigue and sleep problems.
- Meditation: is a therapy which includes focussing attention in order to relax and calm the mind. It decreases chronic pain and improves the mood and quality of life. There are different types of mediation, focused meditation, open awareness/mindfulness and compassion meditation.
- Music therapy: can help with recovery and general well-being.
- Massage: it has been proven that massage can reduce pain, decrease tension and stress, help with recovery after surgery, ease anxiety and depression, help with sleep problems and fatigue.
Before you decide to use a complementary therapy, do discuss with the your treating doctor. It is also important to be well informed about the therapy.
- Has this therapy been used on cancer patients or on people with other diseases?
- What are the side effects of the therapy?
- Who delivers this therapy and what are the required qualifications?
- Will this therapy affect my conventional cancer treatment?
Authored By : Dr. Shiva Kumar Uppala