A pilot study evaluating the effect of early physical therapy on pain and disabilities after breast cancer surgery: Prospective randomized control trail

Ifat Klein, Leonid Kalichman, Noy Chen, Sergio Susmallian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Morbidity of the shoulders after breast cancer (BC) surgery is a common side effect that includes; persistent pain, function limitation, and decreased range of motion (ROM). This study examines the effect of early physical therapy (PT) and patient's education on these morbidities. Methods: A prospective, randomized clinical trial was conducted at a single medical center from October 2018 until April 2019. Women scheduled for breast cancer surgery were divided into intervention or control as standard care. The intervention included a PT treatment that included exercise instructions from the first postoperative day. Pain levels, upper limb function, ROM, and complications were measured. Results: The study includes 157 women (mean age, 52.2 ± 12.9). Early PT reduced pain levels at the first month (NPRS 1.5 ± 1.2) and six months (NPRS 0.5 ± 0.8), compared with control (NPRS 2.1 ± 1.4, 1.0 ± 1.2), p = 0.019 and p = 0.011, respectively. Subdivision of the sample into small and extensive surgeries revealed additional positive effect for the intervention six months postoperatively on functional disabilities, p = 0.004 and p = 0.032 respectively. No complications attributable to the intervention were recorded. Conclusions: Early PT and patient education reduces pain levels, and may improve function disabilities, without causing postoperative complications, although a larger study is needed to achieve unequivocal results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-293
Number of pages8
JournalBreast
Volume59
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Breast neoplasm
  • Pain
  • Physical activity
  • Physical therapy modalities
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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