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How Chiropractors Help Recovering Cancer Patients

Updated: Oct 24, 2019






Chiropractors Help in Recovery of Cancer Patients

A hallmark of the 21st century is the acceptance of complementary and alternative therapy as part of a multidisciplinary approach to traditional medicine. Intended to be part of a holistic healthcare plan, practices like massage and acupuncture play a bigger role than ever in managing symptoms and side effects associated with cancer recovery, as well as promoting healing in the body during that recover period. Leading centers like MD Anderson and the Mayo Clinic are using this integrative concept, and one modality they find helpful is chiropractic care.

The Health Benefits of Chiropractic Care

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, chiropractors can help with side effects and symptoms during recovery. Chiropractors on the center's staff use non-invasive procedures to realign patients' spinal joints and muscles. They also work with the rest of the medical team to develop a plan to reduce stress and pain and restore mobility. Usually, treatments take place at regular intervals while the patient's recovery and medical care are monitored by oncologists.

Chiropractors specialize in hands-on adjustments, but they may also use massage, physical stretching, traction, electrical stimulation, lasers, special instruments, and ice or heat. They may not recommend these procedures if cancer has spread to the bones, if the blood platelets are low, or if they feel it is risky for other reasons.

Chiropractic care is useful in providing relief for specific complaint, such as pain or stress and anxiety. But it is also a whole-body approach. The body naturally heals itself, but there are often impediments to that process, such as dislocated joints and pinched nerves. Chiropractors help to remove these roadblocks so the body can heal, something that is especially important in cancer recovery.

How Cancer Affects the Body

Being ill is stressful, and studies show anxiety affects the spinal cord and limbic system by causing tense muscles and increasing fear-related hormones. While some spinal injuries come from direct physical trauma, researchers say others are likely a mixture of emotional, chemical and physical stress. Chiropractors also believe weaknesses or misalignments can contribute to or worsen other conditions. People who have healthy spine, joint, and tissue balance are usually healthier and more able to withstand stress.

During a patient's recovery and treatment, a chiropractor or other integrative specialist can help with a wide range of symptoms and side effects:

Inability to think clearly and remember

Stiffness or difficulty moving

Headaches, especially those related to neck injuries

Unexplained fatigue or exhaustion

Nausea and vomiting

Peripheral neuropathy pain, numbness or tingling

How Chiropractors Help With Recovery

Research shows chiropractic care can reduce pain and improve the quality of patients' lives, regardless of whether they have a common disease like breast cancer or a rare one like mesothelioma, a respiratory illness caused by exposure to asbestos.

Recovery from cancer can be very painful and uncomfortable, but chiropractic care can help push the body to heal itself after the assault of tumors and harsh treatments like chemotherapy. While this kind of treatment will help patients with cancer resolve specific complaints like headaches, joint pain, digestive issues or anxiety, it will also open the body up to healing, allowing for better recovery. There is evidence from research to prove that chiropractic care helps cancer patients in recovery heal.

In one study, chiropractic treatments relieved headaches, joint pain, and back pain in women with breast tumors. Other studies suggest that chiropractic therapy may also lessen menopausal symptoms in survivors. Likewise, mesothelioma cancer advocates have pointed out that osteopathy, a medical discipline that combines holistic medical treatment and manipulation of the spine, might reduce stress and pain in patients.

Researchers believe that chiropractic care can ease the side effects of conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation and speed healing. It may also make it possible for patients to delay the need for surgery and medication. This important type of care is more than just a supplement; it’s a useful tool helping patients recover from a terrible disease.


This article was written and edited by Chelsey Darling and Matthew Brooke.


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