Many cancer patients receive powerful chemotherapy drugs that alter their blood counts and peripheral nerves, causing fatigue. Studies show that patients benefit from exercise and movement during treatment, but it’ss not always as easy to do as it was before chemo.
Even basic training routines can be a lot more difficult to do, depending on how active the patient was before the therapy, Karen Hock, a physical therapist at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Even walking can be a challenge for some. “Exercise will help you dial back to a physical level that’s appropriate for you.”
Most people begin to gradually regain energy 4-6 weeks after treatment. Their hair is growing back and they may look as they were before, but they are not. “This is what many patients say others don’t understand,” Hock says. “People expect you to be the same after chemo but you can’t – you’re still struggling with fatigue and concertation.”
“Getting your flexibility back after surgery is important,” Hock says. Upper body posture is affected especially among breast cancer patients. Women submitted to mastectomy presented with asymmetries and modifications in posture, according to research. They had deficits in range of motion in the shoulders on the operated side.
Patients can do several exercises to get themselves back in fighting form. While they may appear simple, even something as “easy” as lifting your arms above your head can cause a lot of strain after cancer treatment.