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Best Exercises/Activities For Nasopharyngeal Cancer

The latest research on cancer and exercises suggests that exercising can be helpful for cancer patients, in particular, those who have survived cancer. Exercising and eating well cannot only help you recover better from cancer but also prevent the development or recurrence of cancer. If you are a surviving cancer patient, one of the many things you may think of, other than not developing cancer again, is how to stay healthy and fit. Well, the simple answer is through eating right and engaging in helpful activities. The benefits of exercising for a cancer patient include; higher fitness level, leaner body mass, less weight gain, and great muscle strength. Additionally, you will experience an improved mood, reduced tiredness, and you will boost your confidence.[1]

Best Exercises/Activities For Nasopharyngeal Cancer

What Exercises/Activities Can You Do If You Have Been Diagnosed With Nasopharyngeal Cancer?

Nasopharyngeal cancer is categorized as a head and neck type of cancer since the nasopharyngeal is located at the on the top part of the mouth. If you have undergone radiation, it is likely that you will experience long term scarring effects. So, you can experience stiffness on the muscles around the neck and jaw areas. To avoid that, or improve on the side effect, you can exercise your neck and jaw regions to prompt better movement of these areas. The hardening of the jaw, which is characterized by difficulties opening your mouth fully is medically referred to as trismus.

For stiffened jaw muscles, the best exercise involves a periodical opening of the mouth as wide as you can. You can use an orange or ice cream stick and insert it into your mouth. To get better results, try stacking up several sticks together in your mouth as frequently as possible. The essence is to get something you can bite and grip on as you stretch open your mouth. You should also chew often so as to help awaken the stiff muscles. Chewing is a good activity with several benefits, and it will also help with exercising your tongue.

In case of a stiff neck such that you cannot fully turn your neck to the right or left, you should do neck exercise routine to help unlock the muscles. You can do so by engaging in a 6 range neck movement activity, where you move your neck upwards, downwards, right, and left, as well as tilting right and left through your ears. The best way to do this exercise routine is turning to the point that you feel a bit of pain, then use your hands to push your actively on the side you are turning to. This will help overcome the resistance the muscles have gained due to stiffness and you will have achieved the goal of stretching the designated muscles and enhance relief.[2]

Swallowing exercises are also essential for individuals with nasopharyngeal cancer who have undergone radiation. This involves an eight-week program which could involve either the effortful swallow activity or the Mendelsohn’s maneuver activity. The idea is to do the prescribed swallowing activity for three or four days a week, at least thrice in a day. For each routine, do 10 repetitions, then rest. The benefits of effortful swallowing include the increase of posterior tongue base pushing effort when swallowing, whereas the benefits of Mendelsohn’s swallowing include the increase of the extent and duration of laryngeal elevation while swallowing.[3]

Signs That You Have Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Individuals who have nasopharyngeal cancer are likely to exhibit symptoms such as a lump in the nose or neck, sore throat, nosebleed, ringing in one ear or trouble hearing, headaches, and difficulties breathing and speaking. However, the same symptoms may be an indication of another ailment. So, if you have any of the mentioned signs, ensure you seek medical attention as soon as now. For proper diagnosis, the doctor will carry out a physical exam around your neck region, a neurological exam to determine your mental and movement status, a biopsy on extracted possible cancerous cells, MRI, CT and PET scans, among other necessary tests to determine the stage and extent of spread of the tumor.[4]


Research indicates that exercising and eating right will be beneficial for individuals with cancer. If you have nasopharyngeal cancer, the best exercises and activities to engage in include; chewing, neck movements, swallowing exercises, and jaw exercises to ease the stiffness on the muscles. Additionally, you can do general body exercises fit for individuals with cancer so you can build your body and muscles strong and be of a good fit.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 30, 2021

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