Osteopathic manual therapy as an adjunct treatment for self-management of breast cancer related lymphoedema : the lived experience of lymphoedema and osteopathic treatment
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Citation:Henderson, K. (2014). Osteopathic manual therapy as an adjunct treatment for self-management of breast cancer related lymphoedema : the lived experience of lymphoedema and osteopathic treatment. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy, Unitec Institute of Technology.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/2541
BACKGROUND: Despite numerous studies evaluating interventions to manage breast cancer related lymphoedema (BCRL), patients’ experiences of these interventions have received limited attention. This qualitative phenomenological study explores the lived experience of individuals who participated in a partner study investigating osteopathic manual therapy (OMT) as an adjunct treatment to manage BCRL. OBJECTIVE:To investigate the lived experience of women with lymphoedema whilst under osteopathic care. METHOD: Seven participants were recruited following the completion of the OMT intervention study. Data were gathered via semi-structured interviews and a focus group and analysed using an interpretative phenomenological analysis. RESULTS: Qualitative analysis produced three major themes: (1)the continual search for a sense of control (2)uncertainty of lymphoedema progression, and (3)novel treatments and miraculous cures. Much of the experience of BCRL is characterized by feelings of a lack of control, particularly in relation to support received from the health system and the uncertainty of lymphoedema progression. Osteopathic care highlighted the potential benefits from expanding the treatment and self-management focus beyond the affected limb, and the participants’ desire for an intervention to support self-care in the long term. There were high expectations for osteopathy as a new treatment for lymphoedema and narratives of curative treatment for lymphoedema were common in the group. CONCLUSION: Results suggest that women with lymphoedema are continually searching for a sense of control. A sense of control for some may been enhanced by self-management that is wider than the affected arm. Infrequent self-care may also be related to a sense of control. Osteopathic treatment for lymphoedema was approached with high expectations. Self-management may be supported through symptomatic relief from treatment.