Lately it feels like everyone is touting some month out of the year as their own. For instance, October is Breastfeeding month, Vegetarian month, and Outdoor Lighting month. As important as lighting is to outdoor ambiance, I think October is important for other reasons. When I think of October, I think of Breast Cancer Awareness. Pink ribbons seem to be everywhere and each weekend there seems to be a race to raise money.
As a woman, I think about how to be aware and preventative personally but as a physical therapist I instinctively think about how I can help those that have fought this battle. The physical therapy connection to breast cancer may not be clear but many people that have had breast cancer have post-mastectomy or post-lumpectomy pain.
It has been shown that many people following any thoracic surgery emerge with postsurgical pain due to myofascial pain syndrome. This results from the trauma tissues undergo during surgery and presents with palpable trigger points along a band of skeletal muscle. These trigger points can cause referred pain in patients that adds to the psychological aspects of recovery and quality of life.
Physical Therapy Can Treat Post-Surgical Pain
Approximately 45% patients following mastectomy and lumpectomy were found to have pain at their one year follow up1. Can you imagine going through so much to fight breast cancer and still suffering from its effects one year later? This is where my colleagues and I come in to the picture.
The pain that these patients experience can be treated and with relatively quick results. Trigger point dry needling is a treatment that targets the trigger points that are creating pain and gives patients relief quickly. Patients often complain of pain in the neck, shoulder, or chest region. The muscles most often requiring treatment include pectoralis major, infraspinatus, and upper trapezius, but others that contribute to pain may include sterocleidomastoid and levator scapulae2.
At SPARK Physiotherapy we want to do our part, so during the month of October any patients suffering residual pain from breast cancer surgery receive 20% off all physical therapy services through the end of the month. Don’t allow cancer to continue to interrupt your life or the life of those you care about. Please share this with those you know who have beaten beat cancer so they can beat its effects once and for all.
1. Lacomba, Maria T. “Incidence of Myofascial Pain Syndrome in Breast Cancer Surgery: A Prospective Study.” The Clinical Journal of Pain. 26.4 (2010): 320-325. Print.
2. Franandez-Lao, Carolina. “Development of active myofascial trigger points in neck and shoulder musculature is similar after lumpectomy or mastectomy surgery for breast cancer.” Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies. 16 (2011): 183-190. Print.
Dr. Kristen A Lattimore, PT, DPT, CSCS, CMTPT
Licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist
Dr. Lattimore has experience as an athlete and coach of the speed and jumping side of Track and Field. She is passionate about integrating her knowledge and experience with fast and powerful exercise into the practice of physical therapy. She also enjoys working with patients whose concerns and complaints have been overlooked and perpetually deferred to the next medial professional.
Kristen continues to challenge herself with varied exercise including interval running, weight lifting, yoga, and Pilates. She is passionate about making her patients their best selves and adding power and intensity back into physical therapy. She can be reached at [email protected].