Patients living with mesothelioma are usually treated by a medical team that addresses multiple needs, from treating the cancer to treating the symptoms and improving quality of life. Not all patients include complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, but those who do may experience better symptom relief. One of these practitioners that can help patients feel better is a chiropractor, a trained medical professional who can help relieve pain, increase mobility, and generally improve the quality of life for someone struggling with this difficult type of cancer.
Chiropractic Care Facts
Chiropractors are trained and licensed practitioners of a type of CAM that’s dedicated to working with the musculoskeletal system of the body. This means that chiropractors can examine, diagnose, and treat patients, often in conjunction with a traditional physician. Chiropractors treat symptoms and conditions by applying controlled forces to the body, most often to the spine.
This kind of physical manipulation can improve mobility of joints and realign the spine, resulting in less pain and greater mobility. The most common reason that people visit chiropractors is to find relief from back pain, from neck pain, and from headaches. Chiropractors treat symptoms and conditions without the use of drugs or surgery. Not everything can be treated with chiropractic medicine, but it can be a useful and beneficial supplement to traditional medicine.
Chiropractic Care for Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma, as well as other types of cancer, should be treated with traditional medicine. However, patients get the most relief and the greatest benefits when including a variety of specialists in their medical teams. There is plenty of evidence that certain types of CAM practitioners can help improve symptoms for mesothelioma patients, and this includes chiropractors.
If you have mesothelioma and are interested in chiropractic care, be sure to talk to your doctor and medical team about it first. Your oncologist may even have a chiropractor to recommend. While chiropractic care can help you and bring additional relief, there are limitations and risks too. You need to be sure you are able to withstand the physical manipulations a chiropractor will use, and that your practitioner will understand your limitations and unique needs as a cancer patient. If you take all of these things into consideration, you may receive many benefits of chiropractic care.
Chiropractic Care Reduces Pain
Pain is the number one reason that people visit chiropractors for care. It is well documented in research that chiropractic manipulation can reduce pain, especially back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Mesothelioma patients experience pain, sometimes from the cancer itself, such as when tumors push against the spine, and sometimes from the treatments. Chiropractors may not be able to eliminate pain for these patients, but they are likely to be able to reduce it.
A serious consequence of chronic pain is limited mobility. For a patient with mesothelioma, being in pain can seriously limit mobility, which in turn limits activity. When chiropractic care can make a dent in that chronic and sometimes debilitating pain, it means that patients can move more, be more active, and do at least some of the things they used to do before getting sick.
Limit Pain Medications
In one study of cancer patients being treated by chiropractors, the researchers found that the patients were able to reduce the amount of narcotic painkillers they took. These prescription painkillers cause their own side effects and are also habit-forming and put patients at risk of having an overdose. Chiropractic care, by reducing pain, can also reduce the need for these drugs.
Reducing Anxiety and Stress
Chiropractic care has also been proven to reduce negative emotions. Being in pain and being immobile can contribute to feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. By relieving that pain and helping mesothelioma patients to regain some mobility, chiropractors can help them reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and elevate mood.
Fight Nausea and Indigestion
Mesothelioma and its treatments, like chemotherapy, can cause a range of symptoms and side effects. These may include symptoms of the digestive tract, like indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Studies have proven that chiropractic manipulations impact the nervous system and that this in turn can have a therapeutic effect on the digestive system, reducing symptoms like nausea and indigestion.
Nutrition is often a concern for mesothelioma patients for several reasons. Symptoms like nausea and vomiting makes eating difficult; chemotherapy reduces appetite; and certain medications may reduce the absorption of nutrients from food. Most chiropractors have received nutrition training and take a holistic approach to treating patients. They can counsel mesothelioma patients about nutrition and what to eat for maximum benefits.
Better Quality of Life
With mesothelioma there is no cure. Patients are living with limited time. The most important thing that CAM can do for a patient is to improve the time a patient has left. The many benefits of chiropractic care combine to provide cancer patients with a better quality of life than they would otherwise have. These patients can live a better life with less pain, with less stress, with better sleep, with better nutrition, and with greater mobility that allows them to be more active and to enjoy life more.
Chiropractic Care and Massage
Chiropractors approach patient care from a holistic perspective and that means embracing other types of care, including massage. Chiropractors often work together with massage therapists to help patients feel better. As with chiropractic care, massage therapy has been proven to help cancer patients find relief from pain and immobility and to have a better quality of life. If a chiropractor is limited in some way in treating a patient, he or she may turn to a massage therapist to help the patient.
Chiropractic Care as Part of Medical Care
Although a part of CAM, chiropractic care is considered legitimate health care. If you think that this kind of care could help you feel better, talk to your physician about it. Since it’s recognized as medical care, most insurance plans cover chiropractic care.
From pain relief to better nutrition and reduced stress, this type of care can really improve quality of life. Be sure to talk to your medical team before beginning treatment and take their recommendations for a trained professional experienced in working with patients being treated for cancer. Chiropractic care is not a substitute for traditional care, but it is a supplement that can provide many benefits.