New therapy eases post-cancer muscle tightness


by KING 5 Healthlink

Posted on January 5, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 5 at 3:46 PM

What's the cost of independence? For many cancer survivors, the price is steep. The effects of radiation can restrict even basic activities, but a new post-cancer therapy ensures treatment doesn't just end after you leave the hospital.

Vonda Jones is moving, again. Good news, after a breast cancer diagnosis sent her reeling.

"I wouldn't say it was tragic for me, it was more of like an interruption," said Vonda Jones, Breast Cancer Survivor.

Chemo and radiation treatments beat back the disease. But before this year's race for the cure, muscle problems hit her hard.

"What happened was, this right arm, I could only get it to about here," said Jones.

Cancer treatment can cause muscle tightness, impairment and fatigue. And with more than 11-million people now survivors of invasive cancer, relief is key.

"Regardless of the stage of the cancer, people want to be independent."

Doctor Curtis Whitehair at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C. He helped Vonda by getting physical. She dove into six-weeks worth of specific rehab exercises to regain movement.

"One size doesn't fit all when you're talking about cancer, because the cancer itself can attack any part of the body," said Curtis Whitehair, M.D., National Rehabilitation Hospital.

For Vonda, exercises included walking the wall. Simply inching her hands along a wall to improve mobility. Also, this wand exercise, which boosted her strength by stretching with a cane or weighted bar. It's therapy so new, no medical texts existed until last year and for vonda it was a lifesaver.

"Each time, you can see the progression and I definitely have been able to notice a lot of benefits from doing the therapy. I highly recommend it," said Vonda Jones.

That progress led to a cancer-free, pain free "race for the cure".

Cancer treatment can cause muscle tightness, impairment and fatigue. Until recently, doctors routinely told patients their post-cancer pain would fade with time. In many cases, it did not.