|A cancer diagnosis is terrifying.
The questions, the fear, and the concept of facing mortality are enough to paralyze even the strongest individual.
In the not so distant past, the standard was surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, or some combination of the three, and that was it.
Then the patient played the waiting game to see what, if anything, worked.
People didn’t realize that the end of a course of chemotherapy was not the end of the healing process. They would deal with the lasting effects of chemotherapy long after their hair returned and the nausea ended.
One lasting effect for some patients is post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy.
Fortunately for the community, cancer patients are quickly learning that the right combination of physical therapy, nutrition, and often the correct forms of nerve stimulation in the hands of a skilled therapist can help alleviate the symptoms of post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy.
The post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patient is becoming an enlightened consumer of this specialty practice that goes beyond traditional medications and standard medical treatments.
A new, progressive approach to treating peripheral neuropathy symptoms gives specialty-trained DCs an ever-expanding patient population to serve. Treating patients who have already been through an experience that most people fear can be incredibly rewarding.
To get these patients in your office though, you need to show them exactly how your training, expertise, and specialty care can improve quality of life. It’s not just about marketing traditional care that people associate with post-op issues or sports injuries. It’s about educating potential post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients on a multi-pronged approach to their medical issues:
It’s Not Just About Weight Loss or Some Device!
Chances are that a therapist specializing in neuropathy has never treated your potential post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients. They may think they know what a specialty DC does, but they may not understand everything that your unique services can do to manage their condition.
Traditionally, your therapy is associated with the treatment of injuries and illnesses affecting the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. In educating post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients, recognize that they may deal with gait problems, muscular weakness, or even issues caused by radiation. Your usual techniques cannot always address the stress of dealing with any of these conditions.
Great therapy can help the post-chemotherapy neuropathy patient deal with the symptoms and pain associated with both their cancer and their course of treatment. Often, by carefully addressing pain in the correct way, as well as related tissues, we may actually stimulate a healthier nervous system, which is a basic building block for regaining pre-cancer health and alleviating nerve pain.
Chemotherapy and other cancer medications can wreck a patient’s digestive system. In the process of killing cancer cells, it can also damage healthy cells, which brings on the side effects of chemotherapy. This not only affects the ability to eat, but also prevents the body from getting the nutrients it needs.
Learn enough about good nutrition, but beyond that, knowing the basics of the biochemistry of nerve metabolism allows you to talk professionally to your post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients and their physicians about their nutrition issues. They may be dealing with any number of symptoms ranging from nausea and loss of appetite to dry mouth and changes in their senses of taste and smell. Offering nutrition information and dietary planning in your practice’s services is another way to serve this patient population. Good nutrition will boost the immune system and let it do its job fighting off illnesses brought on by chemotherapy.
Potential post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients may not realize that you can help with this is an area of their recovery. So if you trained in this specialty, make sure to include nutrition information in your patient education materials. Post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients need to make sure they’re getting nutrients to prevent or reverse nutritional deficiencies, lessen the side effects of treatment, and improve quality of life. Without appropriate, simultaneous nutrition, other treatment protocols have no chance to succeed. Just be sure you are trained and working within the scope of your license.
Appropriate Neuropathy Treatment
Once a course of treatment has been designed and a nutrition plan established, the final piece in the overall treatment of the post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patient treatment plan is modality selection and combination.
There are several neuropathy treatment devices and therapies being advocated to help peripheral neuropathy patients. Misapplication is dangerous. Learning the correct applications for both clinic and home care for each unique patient is the best course of action.
When specialty trained and properly equipped can offer them hope for a more normal life without debilitating pain.
Some patients may have adopted an attitude of “I went through chemotherapy and my cancer is gone. I shouldn’t complain about nerve pain, tingling, and numbness. I should just be thankful to be alive.”
What they need to know is that they don’t always have to live with sleeplessness, pain, and balance and walking issues secondary to their treatment. Those who are specialty trained and properly equipped can offer them hope for a more normal life without debilitating pain.
Yes, they survived cancer, but many can beat post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy too.
Precise combinations of therapy, nutrition, and often forms of LLLT and LED with combined neurostimulation are showing great promise in helping post-chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy patients return to a pain-free life without the debilitating effects of neuropathy.
Serving this courageous patient population can be incredibly rewarding. However, this subspecialty takes some study and time to learn—you can’t learn it in a weekend.
When you are ready, let them know you’re there to help them. Just be sure you are the real deal. If not, let them seek appropriate care elsewhere.
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