Although the majority of the public think of physiotherapy as treating sports injuries, back problems or helping in the recovery from an operation, it can also be very effective in recovery of illnesses.

One if these illnesses is cancer – still one of the UK’s biggest killers. When a cancer patient is in recovery, their bodies can become very weak following treatments such as radio and chemotherapy and physiotherapy can play a key part in recovery and rehabilitation. The other obvious issue is that there may well be injury or scarring as a result of surgery, which can be treated just like any other acute injury.

The best thing that can be done is to start rehab as soon as you feel well enough to start. We believe that this is a time when morale can be raised, progress made and the time to get in a good regime of exercise to stay in shape.

Breast cancer can be extremely tough on the body especially when radio or chemotherapy or an operation is involved. These can sometimes result in painful problems around the arm pit and shoulders and can lead to ‘frozen shoulder’. Physiotherapy can help with both the scaring from the operation and the pain caused by the shoulder problems.

As well as all of this, it is essential to build muscle loss that occurs during the therapies and lack of activity due to fatigue. This is where physiotherapists can put together a regime that will benefit you in the long run through a combination of exercise and treatment plans. Treatment plans may involve physical manipulation and exercises to build up strength in deteriorated muscles. A treatment that is not recommended in the affected arm, unless in very specific circumstances, is acupuncture as this can lead to lymphoedema in the arm.

The most vital part of this is making the most of receiving the good news about your cancer recovery (even though it is hard), and taking every opportunity available to live life to the fullest as soon as you can.

For more information on physiotherapy for the recovery of illnesses such as cancer, you can use our free and confidential ‘Ask A Physio’ service, where one of our specialist physios will get back to you as soon as possible with an answer to your questions.