This isn’t new! Merging research and clinical experiences point towards a beacon of hope: the role of physical activity in multiple myeloma symptom management.
Understanding the Symptoms
Multiple myeloma can significantly impact a person's quality of life. Fatigue is often cited as one of the most common symptoms, leaving patients feeling constantly tired and unable to perform daily activities.
Bone pain, resulting from the weakening of bones, can also be a constant source of discomfort. Muscle weakness further compounds these issues, making it harder for patients to stay active.
The Power of Physical Activity
Misguided friends, family, and possibly some of your healthcare providers might exclusively encourage rest only during your cancer treatment. However, recent studies suggest that purposeful physical activity can be incredibly beneficial for multiple myeloma patients.
Exercise, within safe limits, has been shown to improve both physical and psychological well-being.
1. Combating Fatigue:
You feel bad. We get it. Your natural inclination is to sit on your butt, waiting for the pain, nausea, fatigue or general discomfort to go away. Fight that inclination. Find your motivation. Regular exercise can actually help combat cancer-related fatigue. Physical activity boosts energy levels and improves endurance. Even moderate activities like walking or light aerobic exercises can make a significant difference.
2. Alleviating Bone Pain:
Strength and resistance training, tailored to the individual's capacity, can reinforce bone strength and reduce the intensity of bone pain. Such exercises, under the guidance of a physiotherapist, can also improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.
3. Reducing Muscle Weakness:
Regular exercise helps in maintaining and building muscle strength, counteracting the effects of muscle weakness. Activities like swimming, cycling, or light weight-lifting can be particularly beneficial.
Tailored Exercise Programs
It's essential that exercise programs for multiple myeloma patients are personalized. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work due to the varying stages of the disease and treatment cycles. Consulting with healthcare providers, including oncologists and physiotherapists, is crucial in designing an exercise program that is safe and effective.
Mental and Emotional Benefits
The benefits of physical activity extend beyond physical symptoms. Exercise is a powerful tool for improving mental health, reducing stress, and enhancing overall well-being. This holistic improvement is vital for patients grappling with the emotional and psychological impact of their diagnosis.
A Collaborative Approach
Incorporating physical activity into the treatment plan for multiple myeloma requires a collaborative approach. Oncologists, physiotherapists, and exercise specialists need to work together to provide guidance that aligns with the overall treatment strategy. Patient education and support systems are equally important in encouraging regular exercise.
Are You Motivated?
For multiple myeloma patients, regular physical activity emerges not just as a recommendation, but as a critical component of symptom management. While it’s important to tailor activities to individual capabilities and stages of treatment, the overarching message is clear: staying active is integral to managing symptoms and improving quality of life.
As research continues to evolve, the role of physical activity in cancer care will undoubtedly become even more prominent, offering hope and improved outcomes for patients.
Be sure to stay tuned for the upcoming details of our January Fitness Challenge!
about the author
"As a blood cancer patient and health and wellness patient advocate, I see inequity in healthcare as a challenge for cancer patients to overcome on top of treating their disease. I strive to encourage, inspire and empower blood cancer patients. I plan on being here through the tough stuff."