Cancer patients often experience a number of side effects, caused by either the cancer or the treatment used to fight it—sometimes both. Research has shown that, in many cases, supportive therapies, like chiropractic care, may help patients manage those side effects and reduce the risk of treatment delays. This supportive care service is a non-surgical, drug-free option for some patients with pain or stiffness in the neck or back, muscular tension, headaches, peripheral neuropathy, difficulty walking and other disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
Like some other supportive therapies, misperceptions and misinformation have clouded some people’s understanding of the impact chiropractic care may have in a cancer care setting. Here are some of those myths:
Myth 1: Cancer patients should avoid chiropractors because they can break bones and spread the cancer.
In a 2005 study, published in the journal, Seminars in Oncology Nursing, encouraged the use of chiropractic services for cancer patients, concluding that a review of written resources suggested it appeared to have benefits for relieving their pain and suffering. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), practitioners are kept current on the patient’s evolving condition, including the type and location of the cancer, current blood work, most recent imaging and the treatment regimen, in the interest of the delivery of care. However, this therapy may not be for every cancer patient. For example, chiropractic services may not be recommended when a bone metastasis is found or the patient’s platelet counts are low. Recommendations for chiropractic care should be made in close consultation with the patient’s oncologist.
Myth 2: Chiropractic adjustments hurt.
Although practitioners vary in their degree of skill and methods of treatment, Dr. Fast offers a gentle, non-invasive style of adjusting with the goal to be pain-free. This approach may lead to patients experiencing quick and lasting relief from a number of musculoskeletal complaints common in cancer patients, including back and muscular pain.
Myth 4: Chiropractic care is not safe and positive results are due to the placebo effect.
A number of research studies have found chiropractic care safe and effective. These findings support the natural, whole-body approach of chiropractic care for a variety of conditions. Click on the link provided for specific details.
Because cancer and its treatment may cause a host of side effects and other complications, Dr. Fast recommends that cancer patients interested in chiropractic care look for a chiropractor not only trained and experienced in working with cancer patients, but one who works closely with a team of other cancer experts all focused on that patient’s care plan.
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