Cancer patients often experience a number of side effects, caused by either the cancer or the treatment used to fight it—sometimes both. Research has shown that, in many cases, supportive therapies may help patients manage those side effects and reduce the risk of treatment delays. One such therapy involves chiropractic care, a non-surgical, drug-free option for some patients with pain or stiffness in the neck or back, muscular tension, headaches, peripheral neuropathy, difficulty walking and other disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
Like some other supportive therapies, misperceptions and misinformation have clouded some people’s understanding of the impact chiropractic care may have in a cancer care setting. To clear the fog, Dr. Jeff Sklar, Medical Director of Chiropractor Services at our hospital in Philadelphia, responded to five of the most common myths surrounding chiropractic care.
- Cancer patients should avoid chiropractors because they can break bones and spread the cancer
- Chiropractors only adjust areas of the back
- Chiropractic adjustments hurt
- Chiropractic care is not safe and positive results are due to the placebo effect
- Once you go to a chiropractor, you have to keep going for the rest of your life
Because cancer and its treatment may cause a host of side effects and other complications, Dr. Sklar recommends that cancer patients interested in chiropractic care look for a chiropractor not only trained and experienced in working with cancer patients, but one who works closely with a team of other cancer experts all focused on that patient’s care plan. “I do not treat or diagnose cancer,” he says. “But I am part of a multidisciplinary care team that provides traditional and supportive therapies to assist in pain reduction, and we consult regularly on each patient’s needs and whether any changes to the treatment plan may be necessary.”