Each October, we celebrate National Physical Therapy Month. You might not have ever noticed that physical therapy month is celebrated in October because of all the pink ribbons you see promoting Breast Cancer Awareness Month which also takes place in October.
Of course, the two don't have to compete for recognition, because physical therapists are proud to be part of improving the quality of life for breast cancer survivors and those continuing to fight.
Many breast cancer patients have surgery as part of their treatment. Physical therapists help patients to recover well by assisting in rehabilitation. They help breast cancer patients with stretches and exercises that are designed to restore full mobility to shoulders and arms after surgery. Sometimes this discomfort after surgery makes patients hesitant to move their arms the way they should for a full recovery, and a PT's persistence encourages patients to do the hard work that keeps them well.
Physical therapists also massage the scar tissue after the surgery to keep it moving and healthy. According to a recent artilce in Mobile News, this scar tissue massage is important,
"to prevent the scar tissue from adhering to the tissue beneath it, called a scar contracture. If not prevented, scar contractures can severely limit the range of motion and function of the affected arm and shoulder. Many physical therapists also create cardiovascular exercise programs for post-surgical patients and those dealing with fatigue caused by chemotherapy and/or radiation."
So next time you see pink ribbons raising awareness for breast cancer in October, remember these dedicated professionals. They work hard to improve outcomes for patients after all kinds of surgeries and to improve quality of life for people across the country. If a physical therapist has helped you after an injury, an illness, or through an ongoing condition, October would be a great time to thank them for all they have done.
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