Cancer PT Treatment
Women recovering from breast cancer surgery and treatment face many challenges; pain, movement limitations, fatigue, lymphedema and all of the emotional issues that arise when dealing with a serious illness.
After lumpectomy, or mastectomy (with or without reconstruction) a woman often feels tightness in her chest. This is sometimes described as feeling like “an iron bra.” Physical Therapy can help loosen tight muscles through hands on techniques such as stretching and massage. In addition, we educate the patient in ways to stretch at home, as well as how to correct posture to prevent ongoing tightness.
Decreased shoulder motion:
It is common for women to have less shoulder motion after lumpectomy, mastectomy or even from radiation therapy. Much like with tight muscles, Physical Therapists are able to increase your motion through hands on techniques as well as empowering you through education and exercise to help yourself at home.
Sometimes decrease in shoulder motion is due to a condition called Axillary Web Syndrome.
Axiliary Web Syndrome (or “cording”) that develops most commonly from the incision used to remove lymph nodes, but also occasionally from port placement in arm. There is not a lot known about why these occur, however the good news is they don’t last forever and often resolve on their own.
Even better news is your physical therapist can help speed the process and reduce your discomfort from them.
Lymphedema is a condition that occurs when lymphatic fluid (which carries the waste products of the body) becomes trapped and builds up in a specific part of the body. There are many reasons this can happen, but most often it is a result of lymph node dissection and/or radiation therapy.
Our Certified Lymphedema Therapists (CLT) can answer any questions you may have about ways to reduce your risk of developing this condition. If you do develop lymphedema, we use Complete Decongestive Therapy to reduce it. This is often referred to as the “gold standard” of treatment, and is a combination of manual lymph drainage (a special, gentle massage) and compression bandaging. Once your swelling has reduced, we can assist you in obtaining the proper compression garment to wear in order to minimize chance of a reoccurrence.
Cording feels just like the name implies: a strong, distinct sensation of something very tight being tugged on when you move your shoulder, elbow and/or wrist.
Scar tissue can form after surgery or radiation and can lead to restricted movement and increased risk for developing lymphedema. Our therapists use several strategies to reduce this, including specialized massage (such as myofascial release and manual lymph drainage) as well as modalities such as the HivaMat. Rehab Specialists Inc was one of few clinics nationally to have this equipment.
The HivaMat produces deep oscillations through use of electromagnetic field. The experience is of a gentle, vibrational massage.