Special thanks to Alpine's Lymphedema Specialist, Antara Quiñones, DPT, for submitting this article for publication.
If you have had breast cancer treatment in the form of radiation, lumpectomy, or mastectomy, you are at increased risk of developing arm lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a failure of the lymphatic system to move lymph fluid out of the extremity. If left unchecked it can lead to skin changes, infection, and decreased function. The best results to avoid the development of lymphedema involve early intervention.
Here are some important items to know when it comes to post-cancer treatment:
Download “6 Things You May Not Know About Lymphedema” Flyer & Poster curtesy of LymphedemaTreatmentAct.org.
Photo courtesy of the mayoclinic.com
Special thanks to Kristi Moore, MSPT, program director for Alpine PT’s Dance Medicine outreach.
As a physical therapist for many years, I want first and foremost to say that I love working with dancers! This population has a unique sense of body awareness and a strong motivation to keep dancing.
In my quest to offer the best possible treatment for our area dancers, I pursued and attained top certification in Dance Medicine from New York Physical Therapy.
I was driven to understand dancers’ needs and to know how best to help them. Doing so helped me realize the unique demands they place on themselves and their bodies.
Knowing the unique needs of my patients and what they want to accomplish is vital and is especially important with my work with dancers.
This can be as simple as understanding the motions that dancers go through, including the terminology they use. Yet it can also be as complicated as understanding how their entire body is working to create a fluid dance motion.
Through my specialized training, along with the experience I’ve gained over the years working with dancers, I’ve become a better observer of movement, especially observing dancers and what is needed to take a less functional dance motion and help it flow into a functional and elegant movement.
I’ve gained a deep respect for dancers and their ability to create movement that is both beautiful and at times extremely difficult. It’s always been my aim to help patients continue doing the activities they enjoy, and dance is no exception.
In the event I am working with an injured dancer, I design the therapy plan such that she is able to continue dancing, often by making some modifications in the rehabilitation and training program. If the injury requires that the dancer take time off to heal, I do all I can to get her dancing again as soon as possible.
On a final note, I’m also a huge proponent of injury prevention and education for dancers and attempt to help dancers understand how they can be better aware of ways to prevent an injury from occurring.
For more information on our Dance Medicine approach at Alpine, click here.
Special thanks to Claire Antonioli an avid dancer who is also currently in her final internship at Alpine Physical Therapy in preparation to become a physical therapist.
Having been a dancer for many years, I have had a lot of physical therapy . . . some good, some bad. In many ways, dancers are without question athletes. We use our bodies every day in a physical capacity and push ourselves to our limits. However, unlike many other athletes, there is also an artistic component to our physical outlet. Yet we also need our health care providers to acknowledge our differences from other athletes.
As in all populations and professions that are physically demanding, dancers end up with a lot of injuries and live with a certain amount of pain on most days. Resultantly, our pain tolerance is high. In the event we seek medical help, it’s likely because we honestly think something is terribly wrong. Over my dancing career, I have sought out physical therapy at least five times. From these experiences with the good, the mediocre, and the bad PT experiences, I’ve generated a few do’s and don’ts for those who intend to treat dancers.
There were a few common characteristics in the physical therapists that I bonded with and felt gave me excellent care. They treated the physical therapy session like a conversation where I learned from them, but they also learned from me. We negotiated about time spent doing exercises and how much I was able to participate in class and other aspects of care. It was not just the PT telling me what to do; rather, they looked for my input and made an effort to compromise.
In summary, dancers like all people just want someone who understands where they are coming from and who provides excellent care. In some ways, we might be harder to understand than the general population. When you help get us back to what we love the most, you’ll have a dedicated patient for life.
For more information on our Dance Medicine approach at Alpine, click here
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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