Chad Franche, SPT, and Raakhee Patel, PT, DPT
With October being National Physical Therapy Month, it’s a good time to highlight programs that can help cancer patients at CTCA regain their strength, address incontinence issues and reduce pain when battling their disease.
Physical therapists help patients maximize their functional mobility. We aid them in achieving optimal function and pain relief, while preventing disability.
As part of a patient’s care team at CTCA, physical therapists provide a broad range of skilled services including: the Motion for Life program, ReBuilder treatment, lymphedema management, the Total Control Program, pulmonary rehabilitation and inpatient care.
Motion for Life
Patients with fatigue and weakness can improve their symptoms by participating in a therapeutic exercise program like Motion for Life. In the program, physical therapists provide instruction on stretching, resistive band exercises and aerobic training.
Patients with peripheral neuropathy can benefit from Rebuilder treatments. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include numbness, tingling, pain and sensitivity to temperatures. The ReBuilder uses electronic stimulation to increase muscle tone and blood circulation in the affected area, such as the hands or feet. Sensitization and desensitization techniques can also be taught to the patient in order to improve their symptoms.
Lymphedema occurs when excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling, commonly in the arms or legs. To manage this condition, physical therapists use manual lymphatic drainage, a vasopneumatic pump, bandaging and compression garments.
Physical therapists obtain patients’ baseline fluid level before their operation, assess their range of motion and strength, educate them on lymphedema precautions and create a home exercise program to prevent adhesive capsulitis, which is stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint.
The Total Control Program treats bowel and bladder incontinence in patients. Physical therapists guide patients with exercises of the transverse abdominus, multifidus and pelvic floor muscles to promote bowel and bladder control.
The pulmonary rehabilitation program is geared toward patients with primary lung cancer or lung cancer that has metastasized. Patients are monitored closely throughout the exercise program. Research shows that patients engaging in aerobic activities can improve lung capacity and quality of life.
Inpatient physical therapists focus primarily on maximizing patients’ functional mobility. Our therapists work with patients in the intensive care unit and other specialized units, along with patients in the general oncology floor. We address bed mobility, transfer training, balance and gait deficits, among others issues. Physical therapists work alongside with nursing staff, care management, hospitalists and respiratory therapists.
Learn more about Oncology Rehabilitation programs at CTCA.