PT on the Net Research

Thoracic Tumor Rehab


I have a client who recently had a tumor removed from the thoracic section of his back. He is done with physical therapy, and wants to get back some of the proprioception he lost. He has a hard time controlling the right leg, which was greatly affected. He is still limping a lot. Besides unilateral exercises and balance drills, are there any other good ideas you can give me?


It is difficult to give a specific response without consulting with your client’s physical therapist. We strongly recommend interacting with the medical community on any post surgical condition (as well as other medical conditions). This allows for a smooth transition from physical therapy exercise programming to personal training. Many times, clients are not given the medical visits necessary to reach optimal functional status. This common situation gives the personal trainer a great opportunity to help the world – providing trainers create the right exercise program!

The key to exercise is creating the right exercise. The most important approach for your client is a low load, whole body exercise plan. When applied properly, the program will appropriately load the deconditioned tissues, stimulate repair, remodel, recondition and enhance proprioception, while improving basic life functions.

Listed, are ideas to help in your program design:

Supported exercise examples that have functional relevance include:

Goal: While maintaining perfect posture (head, shoulders, hips, and knees parallel to the floor), pull one arm toward the body.
How your client benefits: To name a few: stabilizer strength, balance, strength in the neck, back, shoulder girdle.


Based on the information you submitted, your client will benefit from a functionally balanced program. Even if there were a protocol for every client’s problem, it would only target the problem at that point and time. The goal with all dysfunctions is to holistically approach the body; in other words, work with other specialists to get your client to function as best as he possibly can! Good luck!