Cancer puts a tremendous amount of stress on the body. Cancer treatments add to that stress, affecting the organs as well as the musculoskeletal system. Pain is a common complaint among cancer patients. They experience a variety of aches and pains including headaches, neck pain, muscle tension, and back pain as well as painful peripheral neuropathy. They may also have mobility problems and difficulty walking.
Many cancer patients have found chiropractic care to be a very effective treatment for pain management and to improve flexibility, mobility, and muscle strength. They find it helps to reduce stress and helps the body function more efficiently.
It provides these benefits without the use of medication or invasive treatments. For patients undergoing chemotherapy, it is very beneficial because chiropractic’s whole body approach to wellness helps to combat the debilitating effects of the treatment.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Cancer Patients
There are many different reasons that cancer patients may seek chiropractic treatment. Cancer is, in itself, very hard on the body. The disease can cause headaches, muscle stiffness, neck pain, and back pain. However, the treatments can also cause problems.
Patients undergoing radiation treatment must lie on a table for extended periods of time which can be very uncomfortable. Surgery can cause pain in the joints and connective tissues. Chemotherapy drugs can cause unpleasant side effects including nausea, neuropathy, and headaches.
Some of the ways chiropractic care can help cancer patients include:
- The relief of nausea, headaches, and fatigue
- Improved balance
- Alleviation of neck and back pain and stiffness
- Reduction of joint inflammation
- Better mobility
- Restoration of nerve function
- Reduced muscle tension
Often cancer patients have also reported improvements beyond the typical musculoskeletal complaints that chiropractic treats. Reduced effects of peripheral neuropathy, improved digestion, and even easier respiratory function are just some of the added benefits.
Chiropractic Treatment Approaches
Chiropractors use a drug free, hands on approach to treatment for a wide range of issues. It restores nerve function, corrects musculoskeletal problems, and helps to bring the body back into proper alignment. It is non-invasive and offers patients a safe, natural alternative to medications and other treatments that can have unwanted side effects.
One barrier that may prevent a patient from seeking chiropractic care is the common misconception that it is aggressive and forceful, even painful. The truth is, most chiropractic techniques are very gentle, applying very low force and some no force at all.
Most are also not painful at all and work quickly to enhance range of motion and increase energy as well as reduce pain. It can help relieve a patient’s symptoms while helping them stay strong while they undergo treatment.
Some of the chiropractic treatment options that are used for cancer patients include:
- Spinal manipulation
- Hands-on adjustments
- Non-force techniques
- Electrical muscle stimulation
- Special instrument applications
The Whole-Body Wellness Advantage
Whole body wellness is an integral part of chiropractic care. It can involve diet modification, lifestyle changes, exercise, and stress reduction practices.
When a chiropractor treats a cancer patient – or any patient – he or she will look beyond the obvious issues or symptoms to find the root of the problem and ways to help the body heal itself. Sometimes this may involve supplements, vitamins, or minerals that will aid in correcting the condition. Other times it may simply be a matter of getting the body to a healthy state where it is strong enough to combat the condition or heal from injury.
The treatment is individualized and tailored specifically to the patient’s needs and lifestyle. For instance, many conditions benefit from weight loss or exercise and many pain issues respond well to adjustments in diet and stress reduction. Chiropractic looks at the whole body and works to provide it with what it needs to get strong and get healthy.
The information herein on "How Chiropractic Can Be Used As Supportive Care For Cancer" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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