If you are undergoing cancer treatment like chemotherapy or radiation or
have had surgery, you may experience pain, inflammation, numbness and
tingling in your nerve endings, etc.
Our therapists can help you stay active with exercises that can minimize
the side effects. We understand that it is difficult to continue with daily
activities—not to mention exercise. However, the physical therapist can
show you how to adapt your usual activities and exercises and find a way to
continue at a lower intensity. After treatment is over, we prioritize
getting you back to your usual routine.
Physical Therapy services accompany other leading-edge treatments at BIDMC. Speak with your doctor about supplementing your treatment with Physical Therapy as part of your personalized care plan.
Lymphedema is swelling that occurs in your arms or legs as a result of the
removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. Our
therapists are highly trained to help relieve symptoms.
Our therapists will work with you to create a plan that you are most
comfortable with and may include:
Compression at the first sign of lymphedema, getting a fitted
compression sleeve may be all that is needed to keep the swelling under
control. When lymphedema has already produced an increase in the size
of the arm or leg, compression bandaging can help reduce the swelling.
Your compression bandage will be worn day and night, sometimes for a
few weeks, as the limb reduces in size. Once swelling has gone down, we
will refer you for a compression sleeve or stocking that is to be worn
during the day to keep the swelling under control.
Manual lymphatic drainage is type of light massage that can help
increase lymphatic flow. At first, your physical therapist will perform
the massage and then teach you a form of self-massage once treatment
Skin care to prevent dry, chapped skin and avoiding skin punctures or
injuries to reduce the chance of an infection that can worsen
Range of motion exercises, stretching, strengthening and cardiovascular
exercises to help improve your overall energy level, and restore full
motion and strength.
Soft tissue stretching and massage to help improve soft tissue and scar
flexibility and reduce pain and sensitivity.
Lymphedema & Physical Therapy(PDF)