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Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

Rehabilitation for survivors of head and neck cancer is a complex process due to the many functional challenges one might face after cancer treatment. Learn what the skilled physical therapists of PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group provide for patients with cancer.

What Are the Most Common Limitations After Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer?

  • Difficulty opening the mouth, known as trismus
  • Stiffness of the neck or loss of neck range of motion due to surgery and radiation fibrosis
  • Shoulder weakness after neck dissection and surgical procedures
  • Tongue weakness and low tongue posture, which can affect head and neck posture needed for vital functions, such maintaining a healthy airway space, proper breathing, chewing and overall neutral posture
  • Increased swelling post surgery or due to lymphedema

What Treatments and Interventions are Offered by PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group After Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer and Help Achieve the Best Possible Functional Outcomes?

  • Re-education of facial mastication and tongue muscle, known as Myofunctional Therapy
  • Neck and shoulder range-of-motion exercises to improve pain, function, strength, flexibility and reduce scar tissue
  • Hands-on manual therapy to soften soft tissues and free up the connective tissues and fascia networks
  • Treatment for trismus, including use of manual therapy to improve jaw opening and joint mechanics
  • The use of assistive mouth opening devices, such TheraBite® or Dynasplint® as needed for home management
  • Breathing training with postural re-education and specific airway and throat exercises
  • Postural education and biomechanics training to improve optimal head on neck position and restoration of the natural curves of the spine
  • Patient education to help you learn how to manage and address some of the post-surgical restrictions and limitations
  • Pain management
  • Lymphedema decongestive therapy, including manual lymphatic drainage, compression and exercises for the lymphatic system

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