Cancer patients can often experience some side effects, caused by either cancer itself or the treatment used to fight it—sometimes both.
Research has shown that, in many cases, supportive therapies can help patients manage those side effects and reduce the risk of delays in treatment.
One such therapy involves chiropractic care. This supportive care service is a non-invasive, drug- option for some patients with:
- Stiffness or pain in the back or neck
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Muscular tension
- Difficulty walking
And other disorders of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
Like some other supportive therapies, misinformation and misperceptions have clouded some people’s understanding of the effect chiropractic care may have in a cancer care setting.
Myth 1: Cancer patients should stay away from chiropractors because they can break bones and spread the cancer
AICA Atlanta: The research does not support this conclusion. In fact, a 2005 study, published in the journal, Seminars in Oncology Nursing, encouraged the use of chiropractic care for cancer patients, concluding that it appeared to have benefits for relieving pain and suffering.
Chiropractors who work solely with cancer patients, like those at our five hospitals, are also knowledgeable in common cancer-related side effects.
At these practitioners are also informed of and kept up to date on the patient’s changing condition, including the type and location of cancer, the treatment regimen, current blood work, and most recent imaging in the interest of providing the best care possible.
Our practitioners also know that this therapy may not be for every cancer patient. For example, chiropractic services may not be recommended when the patient’s platelet counts are low, or a bone metastasis is found.
Recommendations for chiropractic care should be made in close consultation with the patient’s oncologist and other care team members.
Myth 2: Chiropractors only treat areas of the back
AICA Atlanta: To receive a chiropractic degree, students must complete four to five years of academic study at a certified chiropractic college.
The academic regimen includes extensive training in physiology, anatomy, pathology, radiology, neurology, differential diagnosis, chiropractic adjusting techniques, biomechanics, and other health-related studies.
This education and training prepare the practitioner to treat neuromusculoskeletal conditions throughout the body.
Myth 3: Chiropractic Adjustments Are Painful
AICA Atlanta: Although practitioners vary in their methods of treatment and degree of skill, the chiropractors at AICA Atlanta offer a non-invasive, gentle style of adjusting with the goal to be pain-.
This approach may lead to patients experiencing quick and lasting relief from some musculoskeletal ailments common in cancer patients, including back and muscular pain.