Sunday, February 25, 2024

Remedies For Muscle Weakness After Chemo

Your Healthcare Team Will Continue To Look For Patterns Of Fatigue

Muscle pain, Fatigue & Weakness – Myositis 101 for patients – 6th video

A fatigue assessment is repeated to see if there is a pattern for when fatigue starts or becomes worse. The same method of measuring fatigue is used at each assessment. This helps show changes in fatigue over time. The healthcare team will check for other causes of fatigue that can be treated. See the Causes of Cancer Fatigue section.

Medicines Other Than Chemotherapy May Add To Fatigue

Patients may take medicines for pain or conditions other than the cancer that cause drowsiness. Opioids, antidepressants, and antihistamines have this side effect. If these medicines are taken at the same time, fatigue may be worse.

Taking opioids over time may lower the amount of sex hormones made in the testicles and ovaries. This can lead to fatigue as well as sexual problems and depression.

Be Patient With Your Recovery Speed

Healing is unique and different from person to person. The speed of your recovery depends on the treatment types that you received and the fitness level you were in prior to treatment. Dont rush especially if its your first time to exercise. Start slow and increase your activity when you feel comfortable enough to do so.

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Physical Weakness And Cancer Treatment

Cancer and cancer treatment can be exhausting. Fatigue can be a side effect of treatment, not to mention that you simply need more sleep while your body heals. During this time, its not surprising that you may want to move less and the couch looks more inviting than usual. But avoiding activity can actually make you feel more tired and weak.

Feeling Tired Because Of Low Red Blood Cells

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You might have a blood transfusion if you are feeling tired because you are anaemic.

A drug called epoetin can help reduce anaemia for some people. EPO is a manmade copy of a hormone called erythropoietin made by your kidneys. It stimulates the body to make more red blood cells and can reduce fatigue.

This drug is not suitable for everyone. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence suggests EPO for women with ovarian cancer. This is if they have had treatment with platinum drugs such as carboplatin or cisplatin.

NICE also says that people with other cancers, who have severe anaemia due to cancer treatment and who can’t have blood transfusions, can have EPO.

Also Check: How Long Does Chemo Stay In Your Body After Infusion

What Causes Muscle Aches

When you have cancer, the following factors can cause muscle aches:

Cancer. Certain types of cancer are more likely to cause muscle aches, including:

  • Tumors that start in a muscle, such as some kinds of soft-tissue sarcoma

  • Tumors that press against a muscle

  • Cancers that cause the body to make too many white blood cells, such as certain types of leukemia

Cancer treatments. When treatment ends, muscle aches usually go away. In some cases, muscle aches can be a late effect, happening months or years after treatment ends.

Treatments that may cause muscle aches include:

  • Some types of chemotherapy, such as docetaxel , ixabepilone , paclitaxel , and vincristine

  • Aromatase inhibitors , such as anastrozole , exemestane , and letrozole

  • Other hormonal therapies, including fulvestrant , raloxifene , tamoxifen , and toremifene

  • Targeted therapy, such as trastuzumab and T-DM1 or ado-trastuzumab emtansine

  • Immunotherapy, such as interferons, interleukins, and CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors

  • Radiation therapy

Other medications. Medicine for cancer-related symptoms or other conditions can cause muscle aches. Some examples include:

  • White blood cell growth factors, which help prevent infection during cancer treatment, including filgrastim , pegfilgrastim , and sargramostim

  • Drugs to treat bone loss called bisphosphonates, such as alendronate sodium , ibandronate sodium , pamidronate , risedronate , and zoledronic acid

  • Cholesterol drugs, also called statins

Starting An Exercise Program

Think about the reasons why you have not been exercising. Then try to come up with some ways to get past the things keeping you from getting exercise. For example:

  • I have not been active in a very long time. Start at a comfortable level and add a little more activity as you go along. Choose something you like to do. Many people find walking helps them get started. Before you know it, youll be doing more each day. Some people also find that getting active with a friend makes it easier to get started.
  • I do not have the time. Start with 10-minute chunks of time a few days a week. Walk during a break. Dance in the living room to your favorite music. It all adds up.
  • It costs too much money. You do not have to join a gym or buy fancy equipment to be active. Play tag with your kids. Walk briskly with your dog for 10 minutes or more.

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Are Exercises Different In Cancer Patients And Healthy People

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an average of 2.5 hours moderate exercise and two days a week of muscle-strengthening workouts for adults. This applies to cancer patients as well but the difference lies in the intensity, and frequency of exercises. Cancer patients are dealing with the emotional and physical side effects that the disease and treatments have done to their bodies, which is why they can only exercise based on their energy level and mood.

There are four fitness areas that both healthy people and cancer patients should focus on aerobic exercise, balance, stretching, and strength training. Lets discuss how each exercise benefits cancer patients.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercises such as walking, running, and bicycling increases the heart rate. By interspersing aerobic or cardiovascular exercises with strength training, the bodys metabolism and lean muscle mass increase while the body fat decreases. Walking is generally safe for people who had cancer treatment.

Balance Exercises


Cancer patients who had undergone surgery will feel weakness in specific parts of their bodies. Breast cancer survivors who had mastectomies may feel a weakness in the rotator cuff of their shoulder girdles. Doctors recommend stretching exercises for the areas of surgery to help patients regain mobility in the concerned areas.

Strength Training

Feeling Tired Because Of Sleeping Problems Anxiety Or Depression

Muscle Fatigue, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Tiredness, depression, anxiety and problems sleeping often appear together in some people. Researchers think there is a link between cancer tiredness and depression. Sleeping problems, anxiety or depression may make your tiredness worse. But extreme tiredness can also cause emotional distress in some people.

A short course of sleeping tablets might help. It can help to get you back into your sleeping pattern. Your doctor might suggest anti depressants if depression is causing you sleeping problems. You need to take these for a few months to get the most out of them. Most anti depressants take a few weeks to start to work. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you feel depressed.

Sleeping problems, depression and tiredness can be difficult to cope with. But there are things you can do and people that can help.

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How Intense Should This Strength

In order for you to increase your muscle strength, you need to OVERLOAD the muscles. This means using a weight that makes the exercise difficult, but not impossible!

On a scale from 0-10, 0 indicates no effort at all and 10 indicates maximum effort, I cant do one more repetition.

Aim for a 3-4/10 or moderate effort when you are performing these exercises. The last repetition of each exercise should be difficult, and your muscles should feel tired.

Thanks to oncology rehabilitation researchers and guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine, we now know more precise strength training amounts that you should perform to alleviate some common things that people with cancer experience. Visit these guidelines here.

To improve energy levels and reduce cancer-related fatigue:

  • Strength train 2 times per week.
  • Perform 2 sets .
  • In each set, lift the weight 12-15 times .
  • Perform strength training at a moderate intensity.

To improve health-related quality of life:

  • Strength train 2 times per week.
  • Perform 2 sets.
  • In each set, lift the weight 8-15 times .
  • Perform strength training at a moderate to vigorous intensity.

To improve physical function:

  • Strength train 2-3 times per week.
  • Perform 2 sets.

When Do Radiation And Chemotherapy Side Effects Start

You may experience side effects within a few hours of treatment as is the case with certain chemotherapy treatments that gradually begin to improve. Or you may not experience side effects until youve completed several treatment sessions, as is sometimes the case with radiation. Talk to your healthcare provider about when youre most likely to experience side effects based on your treatment type and schedule.

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Feeling And Being Sick

Many people having chemotherapy will have periods where they feel sick or are sick .

Your care team can give you anti-sickness medicine to reduce or prevent this.

This is available as:

Side effects of anti-sickness medicines include constipation, indigestion, problems sleeping and headaches.

Tell your care team if your medicine does not help, or it causes too many side effects. There may be a different one that works better for you.

Questions To Ask The Health Care Team

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  • Could my muscle aches be caused by cancer? Or is it caused by something else?

  • When should I call you if I develop muscle aches or if my muscle aches get worse?

  • How should I keep track of my muscle aches?

  • What treatments do you recommend for my muscle aches?

  • Do you recommend other types of supportive care for muscle aches?

  • Are there things I can do at home to ease my muscle aches?

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Home Remedies For Muscle Weakness

Muscle weakness is very common. For instance, after an intense workout, your muscles become weak but soon recover after some rest. However, its a sign of a problem if you suffer from persistent muscle weakness.

Youll know that you are suffering from muscle weakness or reduced muscle strength when despite your full effort, your body is not able to produce a normal muscle contraction or movement.

Apart from experiencing weakness in your muscles, you can also have symptoms like burning sensations in a specific part of the body, frequent falls, loss of coordination among the muscles, muscle spasms, muscle pain, prickling sensations and twitching, to name a few.

Do not take the problem of persistent muscle weakness lightly, as it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. In fact, several health conditions can cause muscle weakness.

Some of the conditions include chronic fatigue syndrome, muscular dystrophy, hypotonia, peripheral neuropathy, Gravess disease, hypothyroidism, hypercalcemia, rheumatic fever, botulism, and prolonged bed rest or immobilization.

If you have muscle weakness for no apparent reason, make an appointment with your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Once the cause is known, you can opt for the correct treatment plan.

In the meantime, you can try some simple and effective natural remedies to fight muscle weakness.

Here are the top 10 home remedies for muscle weakness.

Memory And Concentration Problems

Some people have problems with their short-term memory, concentration and attention span during chemotherapy. You may find that routines tasks take much longer than usual.

It’s unclear why this happens, but the symptoms usually improve once treatment is finished.

Things such as using lists, post-it notes, calendars and your mobile phone for reminders can help. Doing some mental exercises, eating well, and getting enough rest may also be useful.

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Treatment For Chemotherapy Side Effects

The National Cancer Institute urges people undergoing chemotherapy to talk with their healthcare providers about their side effects and how best to manage them.

While some remedies may benefit people undergoing chemotherapy, others may interfere with standard treatment or cause harm when combined with chemotherapy. Self-treating and avoiding or delaying standard care can have serious consequences. Therefore, if you’re considering the use of any natural therapy in the treatment of chemotherapy side effects, it’s extremely important to consult your healthcare providers.

What Causes The Loss Of Weight And Muscles In Cancer Patients

Let’s Talk Chemo: Chemo fatigue

Weight and muscle loss happens because of cancer itself. The body releases cytokines, a substance that can reduce the appetite and result in weight loss and muscle loss, to combat cancer. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are also common causes as they bring about a decrease in appetite. The side effects of the treatment such as mouth sores, nausea, and vomiting can affect normal eating which further contributes to the loss of weight and muscles. Cancer patients feel fatigue most of the time, and the decrease in physical activities also adds to muscle loss.

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Exercise Has A Positive Effect On Fatigue During And After Cancer Treatment

Exercise may help people with cancer feel better and have more energy during and after treatment. The effect of exercise on fatigue in people with cancer is being studied. One study reported that breast cancersurvivors who took part in enjoyable physical activity had less fatigue and pain and were better able to take part in daily activities. In clinical trials, some people with cancer reported the following benefits from exercise:

  • More physical energy.
  • More enjoyment with life.
  • A greater sense of well-being.

Moderate activity for 3 to 5 hours a week may help cancer fatigue. You are more likely to follow an exercise plan if you choose a type of exercise that you enjoy. Your healthcare team can help you plan the best time and place for exercise and how often to exercise. You may need to start with light activity for short periods of time and build up to more exercise little by little. Studies have shown that exercise can be safely done during and after cancer treatment.

Mind and body exercises such as qigong, tai chi, and yoga may help relieve fatigue. These exercises combine activities like movement, stretching, balance, and controlled breathing with spiritual activity such as meditation.

Cognitive behavior therapy

  • Stress from coping with cancer.
  • Fear that the cancer may come back.
  • Feeling hopeless about fatigue.
  • Lack of social support.
  • A pattern of sleep and activity that changes from day to day.

Other ways to manage fatigue

Strengthening During And After Cancer

Disclaimer: You should discuss your health risks with your provider before starting any exercise program.

Strength or resistance training has a lot of benefits including:

  • Strengthening your bone density.
  • Maintains or increases your muscle mass.
  • Helps to prevent falls.
  • Reducing levels of cancer-related fatigue.
  • Improving mood.
  • Improving overall quality of life.

Your muscle strength and bone density may decrease during and after cancer treatments which can impact your ability to walk safely, to walk confidently, and to walk fast enough to go out into the community .

Some things that can lower your strength or bone density during the cancer experience are:

  • Being less active: Lower amounts of your regular activity or your regular exercise will cause your muscles to lose strength and endurance.
  • Cancer treatments: Some of the very important and necessary treatments for cancer also have side effects that impact your muscles and bones. Some chemotherapy agents affect your muscles, contributing to weakness. Steroids, especially if given in high doses or for long periods of time cause muscle weakness and lower the strength of your bones.
  • Changes in diet or nutrition: During treatment, you may experience changes in your diet or nutrition due to altered taste, nausea, or diarrhea. Your muscles may get weaker if they arent given adequate nutrition to keep their strength.

It is best to start strength training as soon as your cancer treatment begins, or before.

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Discuss Treatment Side Effects With Your Doctor

You must know what to expect after treatment. This is to help you shape an exercise plan based on your unique needs. Some cancer medications can instigate muscle and joint soreness while others can increase the risk of dehydration or affect your balance. If you had undergone surgery, it would help to know which of the lymph nodes and muscle tissues were affected. See a lymphedema therapist if youre at risk to acquire lymphedema, a condition wherein fluid accumulates in soft tissues of the body. The therapist will guide your exercise program and keep track of your condition as you go along.

Late Effects Of Chemotherapy

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Chemotherapy medicines interfere with the rapidly growing cells of the body. These cells can include those related to hair, skin, fingernails or the stomach lining. This is why chemotherapy can cause temporary side effects. These include mouth sores, upset stomach, hair loss or skin rashes. Side effects usually improve as the normal tissues repair themselves.

Not all chemotherapy medicines have the same late effects. A lot depends on the kind of medicines used. The dosage and whether chemotherapy was done with another type of treatment are also important. If an organ is damaged, a lot depends on whether it can repair itself. Before starting treatment, ask your health care provider about the possible after-effects of all the medications you will receive. Late effects of chemotherapy include:

  • Secondary cancers.

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How To Gain Back Your Strength

Its easy to let excuses keep us from getting the exercise we need. Whether youre feeling fatigued or just short on time, some exercise is still better than none. Starting small and gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your workout may help you overcome some of your feelings of resistance and build an exercise habit.

If you dont have the time or energy to do a full workout, add extra movements throughout the day. Use one hand to steady yourself at the bathroom counter, and do squats while you brush your teeth. That takes no extra time and just a little extra energy. Small changes such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator can add up over time as well keep making those changes and adding more as you go. U.S. News & World Report provided a list of simple strength building exercises that you can practice at home.

Before jumping into a vigorous exercise program, discuss your exercise needs with your medical team. You may need to modify some exercises in order to safely perform them. For example, some side effects of treatment, such as lymphedema, may require you to wear compression sleeves during exercise to prevent excessive swelling. This is not a reason to avoid exercise in fact, Verywell reported that gently exercising your lymphedema arm can help improve its circulation to reduce swelling.

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