Most people don't think about physical therapy after breast surgery however the the purpose of physical therapy - - to strengthen and improve mobility - - can be a critical factor in the quality of life for these patients. Patients who undergo this type of surgery immediately begin to realize this are of their body impacts how they move throughout their day. Helping these patients with daily exercises they can do to quickly recover and gain this mobility is critical to their physical and mental recovery.

“Quality of life.” It’s a simple statement and one most of us take for granted. But for women who have undergone breast cancer surgery, basic functions like combing their hair and applying makeup can be difficult to accomplish. Physical therapy can help says Leslie DeMers of Bolton, a physical therapist who works at Westford Health Center, a satellite office of Emerson Hospital. DeMers says physical therapy can make it easier for a patient to regain their “full range of motion,” and their sense of wellbeing. She also works on posture and general strengthening. “It can be difficult to lift your arm up [after surgery] because [women] have damaged muscles ... So we teach them how to move, how to stretch,” she said. For women who have had reconstructive surgery, where muscles have been taken from their stomachs or backs, physical therapy can help strengthen those areas as well, DeMers said. While therapy is customized for each patient, DeMers said the main objective for all women is to “functionally be able to do all that you need to do — wash your hair, hook your bra, get dressed.” The ultimate goal of physical therapy, she said, is “to teach people how to do it all for themselves and get them off to a home program of their own.”


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  • articleJun 20, 2012 | 3 min. read

    Wanted: Evidence-Based Practice

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    articleJan 30, 2015 | 1 min. read

    This Week in PT News, January 30

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    articleApr 26, 2016 | 11 min. read

    Outcomes and OMT FAQ

    In January, we hosted a webinar focused on the importance of outcomes tracking in physical therapy. In addition to explaining why it’s absolutely critical that therapists collect objective data on patient progress, we highlighted a few of the reports available in WebPT Outcomes . With the move to a value-based payment environment already in full swing, outcomes tracking is a hot topic in the physical therapy space, and that meant lots of thoughtful question from our webinar …

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    articleJan 2, 2015 | 1 min. read

    This Week in PT News, January 2

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    articleJul 3, 2014 | 2 min. read

    This Week in PT News, July 3

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  • Straight to the Source: How to Get Employers On Board with Population Health Image

    articleJan 31, 2018 | 6 min. read

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    Healthcare spending has always been a touchy subject—and that might be truer now than ever before. Despite the fact that the United States spends more money on health care than any other country, that massive expenditure hasn’t necessarily translated into better health outcomes. Clearly, something needs to change, which is why many healthcare providers—including physical therapists—are fundamentally shifting the way health care is managed. Specifically, they are starting to explore care delivery models that allow them to …

  • This Week in PT News, March 20 Image

    articleMar 20, 2015 | 2 min. read

    This Week in PT News, March 20

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  • Outcomes: A Clinician’s Simple Perspective Image

    articleMar 30, 2016 | 6 min. read

    Outcomes: A Clinician’s Simple Perspective

    International performance improvement expert H. James Harrington said, “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”  Using outcomes instruments is an effective and relatively easy method for measuring and understanding a patient’s response to treatment. With a clearer understanding of patient responses to therapy interventions, …

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    articleDec 12, 2014 | 1 min. read

    This Week in PT News, December 12

    Common Knee Surgery May Increase Arthritis Risk A new study suggests a link between a common knee surgery and arthritis. Researchers found that all of the participants who had surgery to repair meniscal tears developed arthritis within one year. The study’s author—Dr. Frank Roemer—suggests meniscal surgery can cause more harm than good when it comes to the long-term health of the joint. As an alternative to surgery, patients should #GetPT to strengthen the knee and improve joint …

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