Chiropractic and Cancer: An Effective Pain Management Option

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Cancer and Chiropractic Treatment in Virginia

While an oncologist treats cancer patients with chemotherapy and other options, a chiropractor can be part of an integrated plan to improve quality of life.


We all know someone who has suffered from cancer, and understand what a challenge it can be, both for patients and those around them.
According to data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and the cause of one in six deaths globally.
The primary goals of cancer treatment are generally to cure the disease, prolong the patient’s life, and improve quality of life.
When many people hear the word “chiropractic,” they usually associate it with the treatment of joint, back, and neck pain. Can it help cancer patients, too?
According to a 2005 report published in Seminars in Oncology Nursing, chiropractic care for cancer patients is a leading alternative to standard medical treatment for pain management, and:

[…] appears to offer many economical and effective strategies for reducing the pain and suffering of cancer patients, as well as providing the potential to improve patient health overall. […]

Cancer treatments often put great stress on the musculoskeletal system, and as a result many cancer patients suffer from peripheral neuropathy, neck and back pain, muscle tension, and headaches, and may have difficulty walking.
Although not all patients undergoing cancer treatment may be candidates for chiropractic care, including those with bone metastasis or low platelet counts, chiropractic manipulation can help many patients deal with the secondary effects of cancer treatment and the associated discomfort they experience.

How Chiropractic Care Benefits Cancer Patients

Chiropractic treatment can benefit cancer patients in many ways. It can reduce stress, increase mobility, and optimize function, and generally improve quality of life.
By easing headaches and nausea, and relieving muscle tightness and neuropathy pain, chiropractic can help patients follow through with their treatment plans, which may even help extend their lives.
Chiropractors treating cancer patients approach patient care in much the same way as other primary care providers by:

  • Gathering a comprehensive health history
  • Conducting a thorough physical exam
  • Ordering necessary diagnostic tests
  • Deciding on an appropriate treatment plan

The chiropractic course of treatment often includes spinal manipulation and adjustments that provide patients with pain relief as well as overall improvement in function.

Chiropractic as Viable Alternative to Pain Medication

Chiropractic care can also be a viable alternative to pain medication for cancer patients. Although the use of medication is common in the management of a patient’s pain, it’s estimated that at least half of all cancer patients do not receive tolerable relief from their pain. Chiropractic care can address this issue, potentially even decreasing a cancer patient’s dependence on pain medication.

Integrated Care Plans

Cancer treatment has historically been focused on treating the disease itself. While doctors of chiropractic don’t treat cancer directly, they function very effectively as part of an integrated care plan to help the patient obtain the best treatment results possible.
While an oncologist provides the treatment necessary to fight cancer, a chiropractor is uniquely equipped to offer cancer patients a variety of noninvasive and nonpharmaceutical options at any stage in the disease process. These options not only help decrease pain but also dramatically increase quality of life.
If you need help managing the pain associated with cancer treatment, contact Tuck Chiropractic to schedule an appointment for your initial assessment today.
Image by racorn/123RF.

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