Undergoing treatment for breast cancer can be worrisome. One of the best ways to prepare, however, is to get informed about what’s involved. Here are 11 essential questions to ask your doctor.
1. What are the different available treatments?
2. What are their risks and advantages?
3. Is there a treatment that’s more appropriate for my situation?
4. Will I need to be hospitalized?
5. How long will the treatment take?
6. How can we assess the treatment’s effectiveness?
7. What side effects should I expect? How long will they last?
8. If I need to have surgery, what are the different options? What’s the difference between them?
9. If I need to have a mastectomy, do I need to have both breasts removed? If I do, when should I have it done?
10. If I have breast reconstruction surgery, what will my breast look like? Will it look like my other breast?
11. When will I be able to wear a bra again?
In addition to these questions, write down a list of your own so that you don’t forget anything when meeting your treatment team. Feel free to ask a friend or family member to accompany you. They can write down the answers to your questions so you can refer to them when you need to.
What is manual therapy?
Manual therapy, or manipulative therapy, uses specific exercises to assess, diagnose and treat muscles, joints and nervous tissue. This specialized form of physical therapy aims to restore mobility to the joints, improve muscle strength and flexibility, and relieve pain and tightness of the muscles.
Physical therapists use different styles of movements to reduce pain in joints and to relax muscles. One such technique is mobilization, which consists of repetitive movements of small amplitude varying in speed. These actions help to loosen the tissue around joints, increase flexibility and reduce pain. Manual therapy also involves soft tissue work. Following mobilization, a physical therapist will use fast movements of short amplitude to apply pressure to the body’s muscle tissue. This kneading helps to relax the muscles and to increase circulation.
Manual therapy enables physical therapists to treat sore joints and muscle tissue. Using various hand movements, they’re able to decrease pain and tension as well as increase flexibility and mobility.
Consult a physical therapist to learn about this type of treatment.
How to treat sprains
The first few days following a sprain should be devoted to healing and treating the injury. The best way to do this is to follow the RICE method: rest, ice, compression and elevation. Taking a time out from your daily activities will help to heal the injury and will prevent you from aggravating it any further. Applying ice for 10 to 15 minutes every two to three hours will reduce swelling and pain. Compression is used to help limit inflammation. You can use an elastic bandage to do this, but be careful not to cut off blood flow to the area. Similarly, elevating the injured area will reduce swelling, which not only relieves pain but also speeds up recovery.
Rehabilitating a sprain using physical therapy can significantly improve healing. For example, a physical therapist can help strengthen stabilizer muscles to enable your joints to move through their full range of motion. This will enable you to safely resume your activities as quickly as possible.
To learn more about sprains, consult a physical therapist.
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome: what is it?
The legalization of cannabis in some states and in Canada has spurred enthusiasm for its potential therapeutic properties. However, healthcare professionals have reported an increased incidence of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), a condition specific to regular cannabis users that’s characterized by cyclic nausea and vomiting and abdominal pain. Here’s what you should know.
In the early stages of CHS, persistent morning nausea and abdominal pain may be the only symptoms. However, the more active phase of the condition is characterized by moderate to severe abdominal pain accompanied by persistent and potentially severe nausea and vomiting which can only be relieved by very hot baths or showers. Some patients experience symptoms of dehydration due to extreme vomiting. This is typically what prompts them to seek medical attention.
As vomiting and abdominal pain are common complaints, a diagnosis of CHS can be difficult to establish. In addition, the disorder was first identified in 2004, meaning some medical professionals may not be aware of it and misdiagnose it as cyclic vomiting syndrome, a condition with similar symptoms. The only definitive diagnostic finding is improvement after quitting cannabis.
While intravenous fluid replacement, medication to reduce vomiting and painkillers may be provided to alleviate the symptoms of CHS, prolonged, persistent vomiting can lead to serious complications. The only known treatment for the syndrome is to stop using cannabis. Afterward, symptoms usually disappear within one or two days.
CHS is a rare condition and the main risk factor is chronic, heavy cannabis use, defined as 20 days a month for at least six months. It’s unclear why some users develop the syndrome while others don’t.
While rare, CHS diagnoses are increasing. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms such as persistent vomiting and abdominal pain, it’s important to seek medical attention.
6 keys to complete wellness
1. A balanced diet
A healthy lifestyle starts with smart dietary choices. Privilege fruits and vegetables for their high content of vitamins and minerals. You should also make room for whole grains, which are packed with heart-friendly fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Aim to reduce your consumption of salt, trans fats, refined sugars and fried foods. In addition, it’s a good idea to regularly substitute meat with legumes, eggs and plant-based proteins such as tofu. Don’t forget that balance is key, however. Allow yourself a treat from time to time, otherwise you may become frustrated and be less likely to stick to a healthy diet.
2. An active lifestyle
Regular physical activity improves coordination, balance, cardiovascular health and self-esteem. In addition, it strengthens bones, decreases stress, helps you manage your weight and reduces your risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week for people aged 18 to 64. If you’re not sure how to meet this objective, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator and privilege active transportation, such as biking and walking, whenever possible. If you struggle to keep yourself motivated, join a gym with a friend and work out together.
3. A restful sleep
Generally speaking, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to feel energized and maintain their physical and mental health. To help you sleep better, make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillow and that your bedroom is dark, cool and well-ventilated. Avoid screens, stimulants and physical activity before bed and plan for at least two hours between supper and sleep. Finally, try to make your sleep schedule as regular as possible and, if you can manage it, try to stick to it all the time, weekends included.
4. Optimal hydration
Being sufficiently hydrated is essential to ensure your body functions properly. Recommendations about how much water you need to drink a day vary and the amount required by an individual depends on many factors, including height, weight and lifestyle. One thing to keep in mind is that foods like soup and fresh fruits and veggies all count towards your daily water intake. However, try to privilege water over sugary drinks and juices, as it’s free of calories, helps regulate body temperature and aids in intestinal transit by facilitating the decomposition of food.
5. A supportive social network
Social activities are beneficial to both your physical and mental health. According to various studies, social interactions help reduce feelings of anxiety, mitigate symptoms of depression and decrease blood pressure and inflammation. Some studies also suggest that, in certain cases, a healthy social life can help reinforce positive habits like eating well and sticking to an exercise program. Finally, a strong and caring social network offers support in difficult times. If yours is sparse, try joining classes or volunteering. These activities offer great opportunities to meet new people and develop your interests.
6. Mental well-being
Preserving your mental health is crucial to maintaining your overall health. First and foremost, try to develop healthy strategies for dealing with stress, starting with reserving time for yourself in your schedule. Mediating, listening to music, going on nature hikes, reading, performing breathing exercises and getting massages are all great ways to relax. Part of adopting a healthy lifestyle involves devoting time to the activities you enjoy. This will help you keep stress under control and sleep better. In turn, you’ll have the energy you need to prepare healthy meals, work out and keep up with your social life.
Why consult a physical therapist?
Physical therapy provides preventive and rehabilitative treatment for neurological, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular problems. These may include muscle or joint injuries, chronic pain, arthritis, tendinitis and headaches. Physical therapists are also trained in helping with poor posture, loss of balance, dizziness, vertigo, pelvic rehabilitation and even delays in motor development in children.
Physical therapists can treat a person’s functional limitations, regardless if they’re caused by health problems (multiple sclerosis, stroke, arthritis, paralysis, etc.) or by an injury (sprain, fracture, strain, bursitis, etc.). They work with individuals of all ages wanting to recover the full potential of their physical abilities following an accident or sports injury. Depending on the situation, treatments can involve a combination of different techniques, such as applying heat or ice, exercise, manipulative therapy, and even electrotherapy.
Consult a physical therapist to learn more about the full range of services and treatments they provide.
How’s your swing?
Would you like to improve your cardiovascular endurance while having fun? Maybe you should sign up for a racket sport! Badminton, tennis, squash, racquetball, table tennis—there are numerous possibilities.
In addition to being great for the heart, racket sports help strengthen lots of different muscles. Besides the legs, which work hard as you move around the court, and the arm, which holds the racket, the back muscles and abdominals contribute to every stroke. And that’s not all—coordination, flexibility, balance, agility, concentration, and anticipation are all elements that racket sports help to improve. Players can easily expend enough energy to lose weight.
Badminton and table tennis may be Olympic sports, but they’re ideal for beginners as well. Even if you’ve never played a racket sport, you’ll still manage to learn to rally pretty fast. If you tend to like more intense sports, opt for squash or racquetball; you can burn between 1,000 and 1,500 calories in just one session!
Nadal, Djokovic, Sharapova, Williams… Do the great tennis stars inspire you? Why not try to imitate your idol? Just take a few lessons to learn the basics or ask a friend to introduce you to the sport.
Whatever your choice, racket sports are perfect to de-stress after a hard day or for sharing good times with friends. Why not give it a try? The ball is in your court!
Racket sports are great for the heart. Why not give it a try?