StartUniversityNewsAcademic Year 2023/2024“Use your head" – a guide t...

“Use your head" – a guide to self-therapy for the head and neck


A specialist from the Department of Oncology & Radiotherapy of the MUG, Ewa Pawłowska, M.D., along with physiotherapist Barbara Ziemiańska, M.A. are the authors of a guidebook entitled Use Your Head (orig. Rusz Głową), dedicated to self-therapy for patients after surgical or radiation treatment for neoplastic diseases of the head and neck region. The publication was created as part of a project entitled Use your head! – Education of patients with cancer of the head and neck region on rehabilitation after oncological treatment, awarded in the sixth edition of the ONKOgrants competition organized by the Polish League Against Cancer Foundation.

Nearly 6.000 cancers of the head and neck region are diagnosed every year in Poland. As the authors of the guide point out, the most common side effects of treatment include contractures, mobility restrictions, jawbone and nerve palsies, as well as lymphedema, which can result in serious functional, psychological and social disorders. Early physiotherapy, with the first consultation taking place 2-6 weeks after treatment, is the primary method of preventing and minimizing the severity of the foregoing complications.

The guide was created to spread awareness among patients about self-therapy, which, in addition to minimizing the effects of treatment, has a positive impact on patients’ well-being and is an essential part of recovery. It also allows to start improving on your own at home, immediately after treatment. Involving patients in the rehabilitation process aims to increase awareness of their own bodies and raise awareness of the importance of physiotherapy in the cancer treatment process.


from left: Barbara Ziemlańska M.A., Ewa Pawłowska, M.D.

The publication was presented to a wide range of specialists at the 20th National Symposium on Oncology in Otolaryngology, organized on June 1-3, 2023, during an oral presentation by Barbara Ziemiańska, M.S.C, entitled. Use your head!” – A program to popularize self-therapy among patients after treatment for cancers of the head and neck region.

The guide was produced in digital and paper versions. It provides brief information on the causes and symptoms of the most common treatment complications, as well as exercises and physiotherapy techniques to prevent them or reduce their severity. The paper version is available free of charge at selected oncology and physiotherapy facilities in the Pomeranian Voivodeship, while the digital version is available online.

About the authors

Ewa Pawłowska, M.D.
Physician, specialist in radiation oncology therapy. Winner of two editions of the Young Science Creator grant competitions organized by MUG, as well as the Innovation Incubator 4.0 program funded by the Polish Ministry of Education and Science, under which she created the HORUS application for lung cancer patients. She is currently vice chairman of the international Implementation Network Europe for Cancer Survivorship Care project, executed under the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), the main goal of which is to increase the quality of life of patients after cancer.

Barbara Ziemiańska, M.A.
Physiotherapist, graduate of the Medical University of Gdansk, which she graduated with honors in 2009, with a master’s degree. She continued her education as a full-time doctoral student in the Department of Anatomy at MUG. From the beginning of her studies, her main interest was orthopedics and traumatology. Since 2010, her main interest has been in problems within the masticatory musculoskeletal system, including the temporomandibular joints. She constantly broadens her knowledge by attending training courses and conferences. In terms of private life, sports are her greatest passion.

photo Paweł Sudara/MUG