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Complementary Mesothelioma Treatment with Chiropractic Care

Brad Farra - Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chiropractors seek to restore mobility and alleviate pain through a variety of different treatments including spinal adjustment, massage, stretching movements, ultrasound, specific exercises and electrical muscle stimulation. But, in recent years chiropractic care has become more commonly used by cancer patients as a complementary treatment.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic doctors “have a deep respect for the human body's ability to heal itself without the use of surgery or medication. These doctors devote careful attention to the biomechanics, structure and function of the spine, its effects on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems, and the role played by the proper function of these systems in the preservation and restoration of health. A doctor of chiropractic is one who is involved in the treatment and prevention of disease, as well as the promotion of public health, and a wellness approach to patient healthcare.”

Cancer patients have included chiropractic care in their course of treatment to help control pain and alleviate headaches, tension and stress. Alleviating severe headaches and movement pains during cancer treatment may make the treatment process more comfortable for cancer patients, including those battling mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that is primarily caused by exposure to a naturally occurring mineral known as asbestos. The disease has an unusually long latency period as symptoms can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years before they start becoming noticeable. The diagnosis is usually made in late stages. This makes mesothelioma treatment options more limited and less effective.

Two studies published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics examined the cases of two patients combating cancer who used chiropractic as part of their treatment. A 57-year-old man diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer experienced significant pain relief and was able to reduce the amount of medication needed following chiropractic care. He also reported an increase in his quality of life during his journey with the cancer following a visit to a chiropractor.

A 54-year-old man diagnosed with lung cancer (a cancer often related to asbestos exposure) began seeing a chiropractor after experiencing little pain relief one year after he underwent surgery to combat his cancer. The man experienced pain relief immediately after beginning chiropractic care and discontinued use of all pain medications after two visits to his chiropractor. The Journal noted, “These clinical examples offer two specific instances of how chiropractic may improve the quality of a cancer patient’s life.”

This article was provided by the National Awareness Coordinator of the Mesothelioma Center.

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