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Ask a Pt: How Can Physical Therapy Help During Breast Cancer Remission?

October 26, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.29.43 PMFeatured Therapist: Caitlin Butts

Q: How can physical therapy help during breast cancer remission?

A: Breast Cancer is a physically and mentally traumatic experience that 1 in 8 women in the United States will experience at some point in their life. Given its vast negative effects, the healing process for survivors of this disease is complex and involves a variety of health specialties. One of these specialties is often physical therapy.

As Physical Therapists, we have the opportunity to play an integral role in providing encouragement and guidance to women recovering from breast cancer. Physical therapy can speed up healing and recovery time, and can also assist with an individual’s return to previous activity level post-surgery and radiation/chemo treatment.

Side effects that physical therapy can address include general fatigue, bone and joint pain, osteoporosis, scar tissue formation, axillary web syndrome, headaches, and general weakness.

At PT Solutions, we utilize many manual therapy techniques such as scar tissue massage, trigger point release, dry needling, passive range of mobilization, and joint mobilization to assist with reducing pain, improving shoulder/upper quarter mobility, and reducing scar tissue adhesion. We also prescribe individualized therapeutic exercise programs to advance strength, stability, and aerobic endurance.

Through the physical therapy process, we work with each individual woman to identify her specific goals for treatment. In general, our hope is to help them return to previous lifestyle activities with their pain controlled and minimal limitations.

If you’re a breast cancer survivor and think you might benefit from physical therapy services, you can schedule an appointment here or visit a clinic near you.



An Auburn native, Caitlin received her Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from the University of Alabama. Caitlin gained extensive experience providing injury coverage for the football program, swimming and diving team, and softball team. Post undergraduate, Caitlin worked in Birmingham, AL, as a Certified Athletic Trainer providing outreach coverage to the Greater Birmingham high schools, Lawson State Community College, and Jefferson State Community college. Afterward, Caitlin received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She specializes in manual therapy, outpatient orthopaedics, and vestibular rehabilitation. Caitlin is also certified in dry needling. Caitlin enjoys working with patients of all ages, with various injuries. She believes that a combination of hands-on approach and positive therapeutic environment will get patients feeling better quickly.


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