An 8-week multidimensional program including strengthening exercises and massage as major components improved neck and shoulder pain and reduced widespread pressure hyperalgesia in breast cancer survivors compared with usual treatment, say authors of an article published online June 23 in The Clinical Journal of Pain.
In this clinical trial, 44 breast cancer survivors were randomly assigned into 2 groups: the invention group, which received a multidimensional physical therapy program, and the control group, which received usual treatment for breast cancer. The physical therapy program consisted of 24 hours of individual physical training (aerobic, mobility, stretching, and strengthening exercises) and 12 hours of physical therapy recovery (stretching, massage) interventions (3 times a week for 90 minutes). Outcomes were assessed at baseline and after the 8-week program by a blinded assessor.
Participants in the physical therapy program showed improvements on a visual analog scale for neck pain and for shoulder/axillary pain. Improvements also were noted for pressure pain thresholds levels over the C5-C6 zygapophyseal joints, second metacarpal, and the tibialis anterior muscle. Finally, patients within the physical therapy program showed a greater reduction of active muscle trigger points compared with the control group.