“I don’t understand why I still hurt. It doesn’t make any sense and nobody can explain it. I feel like I’m crazy.” This is what many of my patients tell me in their first visit to physical therapy after they have had breast cancer surgery. Here is how I go about addressing patient concerns and crafting a physical therapy routine that works.
Addressing Patient Concerns
What do I tell them? That this is a common complaint after surgery for breast cancer. In fact, 20-65% of women who have surgery complain of burning, aching, stabbing, shooting, tightness, or other pain in their back, chest wall, breast, or side. And that although we do not completely understand why this happens, it is called Post Mastectomy Pain Syndrome. And that they are not crazy.
And physical therapy can help.
Utilizing Physical Therapy
One of the possible explanations of why this happens is aggravation of the nerves in the area. In physical therapy we address this and other issues, and have great success in helping reduce or even get rid of the pain.
A recent patient had 7 years of pain she could not get rid of. After her first treatment she was pain free for 3 days. And she had even longer lasting pain relief after the second treatment.
So if you or anyone you know has pain after breast cancer treatment, encourage them to see a physical therapist with training in breast cancer rehabilitation.
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