Shana Brooks recently received her certification in lymphedema therapy. She completed the required 135 hours of training in order to sit for the certification exams. Lymphedema is a condition that occurs after trauma, injury and as a side effect of cancer treatment. It involves swelling of the arms, legs, head or trunk that does not resolve on its own. Complete decongestive therapy (CDT) uses compression bandaging and garments to reduce and maintain the size of limbs along with a specialized massage technique called manual lymph drainage. Skin care and exercise programs are other important aspects of lymphedema management. CDT is the gold standard for treating lymphedema. Shana received a grant for a portion of the training due to the few number of certified lymphedema therapists in central Oregon.
Shana is also a certified oncology rehabilitation specialist through the PORi Institute. This certification allows her to effectively work with patients through the process of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery for cancer treatment. Common diagnoses seen are shoulder pain and loss of movement following mastectomy or breast surgery, difficulty with activity levels due to reduced lung volumes as a side effect of lung cancer, joint and muscle pain following chemo/radiation and disturbed balance issues from chemo induced neuropathy.
“Cancer treatment leaves many patients ‘lost’ in terms of what is safe for them to do. Patients often have severe changes in strength and body mechanics. Physical therapists are the ideal professionals to deal with mechanical pains associated with cancer treatment. We can help patients with exercise programs that improve function and allow them to get back to their lives. It is a privilege for me to work with this population.”