Let me be direct. The collateral damage or long-term side effects for the vast majority of men following prostatectomy for prostate cancer can be severe. Yes, physical challenges such as
but also mental challenges such as ” physical, role, emotional, and social functioning.”
As the study linked an excerpted below indicates, rehabilitative intervention benefits prostatectomy survivors– my definition of “rehabilitative intervention” in this case is “15-month supervised multimodal exercise program. Exercise sessions took place once a week for 60 minutes at a moderate intensity.”
Unfortunately, as the study also points out, “yet specific exercise offers are rare.” I take this to mean that the average oncologist or cancer center is not pushing rehabilitative interventions to prostate cancer patients. Conventional oncology focuses on treatment not rehabilitation. There are several evidence-based therapies that are documented to improve the side effects from prostatectomy that you should learn about.
I am both a long-term cancer survivor and cancer coach. I manage several long-term and late stage side effects from my conventional therapies with evidence-based, non-conventional methods.
Working at your rehabilitation will help you in many, many ways.
To learn more about prostatectomy rehabilitation therapies, both conventional and non-conventional, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply ASAP.
“Physical fitness, urinary incontinence, physical, role, emotional, and social functioning, as well as further disease- and treatment-related side effects (dyspnea, urinary, and bowel symptoms) significantly improved within the intervention group. Erectile dysfunction and physical activity levels improved similarly in both groups.
Conclusions. The presented data hint at the potential of rehabilitative sports groups for prostate cancer patients. However, according to the current state of the art, exercise intensity and volume may need to be increased to enhance the effects.”
“1. Walking: 30 mins
Getting out for a walk is a great warm up for this routine and a good way to ease into getting active again. Most men will feel a bit sore in recovery, therefore this can safely get the heart rate up without putting too much pressure on your surgical site. Activities such as cycling, running or swimming can take a while to return to comfortably. Despite this it is still important that you’re getting enough physical activity by building up to the recommended weekly levelsat a minimum.
2. Cat & camel: 1 x 20 reps
Starting off with some mobility exercises for your thoracic spine will allow you to move with greater freedom, especially if you’ve been less active and sitting around more often than usual after surgery. Be sure to complete these slowly in fluid motions, aiming to get full range of movement.
3. Thread the needle: 1 x 15 reps (each side)
Again, more mobility for your thoracic spine but this time by adding in rotation movements. This exercise will feel great in your upper back to reduce joint stiffness. If you have a foam roller this can be helpful to get more range of movement. Push down on it with the back of the forearm during the rotation movement.
4. Hip flexor stretch: 3 x 15 sec holds (each side)
You might feel sore and tight around your hips and abdominals after surgery from having many incision sites around the area. This stretch hits the area and works to combat the issues associated with spending more time sitting down during recovery. However it is important to remember to complete gently as there is potential to aggravate your surgical sites.
5. Glute stretch: 3 x 15 sec holds (each side)
This stretch hits the tightness that you’re sure to have around your hips by targeting the glute muscles. Despite what will most likely feel really good, it is still important to be sure that you’re not aggravating the surgical site if it’s still early in recovery. If you aren’t feeling it in your glutes remember to draw your knee towards your opposite shoulder.
6. Glute bridges: 3 x 20 reps
Whilst it’s important to focus on muscle tightness and the stiffness of your joints with stretches, it’s equally as important to build up your strength. Restoring your muscle strength has numerous benefits and are exercises that speed up your recovery post prostatectomy. Glute bridges are an effective and safe way to start strengthening up the muscles around the lower back and hips. Start with an amount that you can achieve without being too easy and build up the number of repetitions.
7. Step ups: 3 x 20 reps (10 each leg)
Step ups are suitable to start building leg strength as they don’t place great demands on your body with only small ranges of movement. Plus it’s easy to see how it transfers over to being able to better complete normal daily tasks. The idea with this exercise is not to complete repetitions in order to get the heart rate up. It is preferable to do a smaller repetition range that requires more strength to lift yourself up. To achieve this your step height matters most or you could hold additional weight in your hands. To make things more difficult, see if you can complete all the repetitions whilst keeping one foot planted on the step before switching over.
8. Birddogs: 3 x 20 reps (10 each side)
Yes that’s what they’re called! This exercise is a favourite because it requires a lot of mental effort if you haven’t done them before. Moving your opposite limbs at the same time challenges stability and will improve your body awareness. Developing a greater ability to transfer strength from your upper to lower body places a lot of demand through your midline and improves core strength. Give this exercise a try to see how you go. Tip: think of a glass of water sitting on your lower back and trying not to spill it!
9. Superman’s: 4 x 5 reps
Superman’s are deceptively challenging and are placed in here for those of you who are handling recovery smoothly. This emphasises your posterior muscles to improve posture and overcome some back aches that you might be getting after surgery. It’s best to complete this exercise on an empty bladder and once you have a degree of control with your continence.
10. Pelvic floor exercises: as individually prescribed
Every man following prostate surgery needs to complete a pelvic floor program suited to their individual needs and abilities. Pelvic floor exercises are the most important for recovery after a prostatectomy. This is to help to overcome urinary incontinence as quickly as possible and aid a return to normal erectile function. As we’ve written about the pelvic floor extensively, we have previously outlined how to perform a pelvic floor contraction and 5 ways to complete pelvic floor exercises if you’re having difficulty getting started.