Brain and spine tumor treatment, as well the tumors themselves, can lead to a variety of physical problems and disabilities. Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists can help you manage these problems through a variety of medical and therapeutic interventions.
The rehabilitation team’s objective is to help you regain as much function, comfort and independence as possible. The care team works with you to understand your goals and to craft solutions that meet your specific needs.
Treating Hemiplegia and Spasticity
Hemiplegia is weakness and loss of function on one side of the body. It is seen most often in people who have had a stroke, but it can affect brain tumor patients.
Hemiplegia in brain tumor patients is often accompanied by muscle spasticity. Some patients experience musculoskeletal pain, including a condition known as frozen shoulder, an inflammation of the shoulder joint that causes immobility. Treatments for these conditions include physical therapy, medications, gait training, and occupational therapy.
Special exercises can stretch and strengthen the patient’s muscles, alleviating the symptoms of hemiplegia, spasticity and frozen shoulder.
Spasticity can be treated with medications, and Botox can help improve muscle function. Various medications are available for musculoskeletal pain.
With hemiplegia, you can experience difficulty walking. Gait training can help you overcome balance and vision problems and weakness.
Occupational therapy helps you learn how to compensate for loss of function in performing the activities of daily life.
Responding to the Consequences of Treatment
Some people who receive chemotherapy develop peripheral neuropathy — damage to the peripheral nerves that can result in numbness in the feet, balance problems and difficulty walking. Gait training and other interventions can help you if you develop these problems.
Radiation therapy for brain tumors can sometimes lead to cognitive side effects and deficits. The physicians of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department coordinate with the Neuro-Oncology Cognitive Clinic to help patients manage these issues. Options include speech therapy, memory improvement strategies and various cognitive exercises.
Physician specialists and therapists will help you regain function as much as possible following spine tumor surgery and treatment.
After a complete evaluation, rehabilitation specialists will offer different techniques with the goal of helping you function, reduce fall risk and perform recommended exercises safely. They will also show you how to use devices that can help you function independently.
Techniques may include:
- Neuromuscular training to improve strength and muscle coordination
- Neurological rehabilitation
- Aquatic therapy
- Pain therapy
Virtual Visits Are Available
Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We’ll gather your medical records for you and get our experts’ input so we can offer treatment options without an in-person visit. To schedule a virtual visit, call 1-866-680-0505.
Cancer and the COVID-19 Vaccine
There is currently no data that suggests current or former cancer patients should avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Cancer can weaken your immune system, so we recommend that most patients get the vaccine as soon as possible.