Up to half of all people with cancer suffer with pain, and as their cancer advances, so can the pain. But, the pain may not always come from the disease itself. Sometimes the treatment can cause it, too. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are highly effective in treating cancer, but they come with their own set of symptoms, including pain.
At CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center, with multiple locations in Maryland, our team of multidisciplinary specialists are experts in helping patients find relief from cancer-related pain. One of the keys to our success is that we target pain from multiple angles and never just consider one treatment option.
Here are some of the varied treatments that may work for your cancer-related pain.
Drugs are one of the most effective pain-relieving tools when it comes to severe symptoms, such as those caused by cancer. The type of medication that may work for you is dependent on where your pain is, how bad it is, and what’s causing it. Some of the medications that may relieve your pain include the following:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
You may recognize NSAIDs, because they’re readily available over the counter at your local drugstore. They include ibuprofen (Advil®), acetaminophen (Tylenol®), and naproxen (Aleve®), just to name a few. Depending on your case, NSAIDs may be able to help you get through your day more comfortably.
Opioids, including morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, are highly effective pain relievers, but they’re also highly addictive. If we prescribe these powerful drugs, keep in mind that we will monitor your usage carefully to help you avoid dependency.
Corticosteroids, such as prednisone and dexamethasone, can reduce inflammation caused by cancer. However, prolonged use can lead to fluid retention, hypertension, memory problems, and psychological issues, so we only use them short term.
Because some antidepressant drugs have an indirect analgesic effect, some of them can be effective in treating pain. Two such drugs are trazodone and imipramine.
Traditionally used to treat seizures in epileptic patients, gabapentin has uses in the field of pain management as well, particularly when it comes to treating cancer-related pain.
If more concervative treatments fail, injection therapy may be able to relieve your pain. Corticosteroid injections, often combined with lidocaine for immediate numbing and relief, deliver medication directly to the roots of the affected nerves to stop them from sending pain signals to your brain.
Stress exacerbates all types of pain, including cancer pain. When you’re under physical and/or emotional stress, your nerves, brain, and hormones all gear up to fight it. But, those efforts can make your pain even worse. So learning how to relax and reduce stress are critical to treating pain.
We can teach you how to prevent and avoid stress. We can also teach you how to lower stress when you face it. Breathing techniques, talk therapy, exercise, and targeted stretching are just a few of the ways you can keep calm and pain-free.
Biofeedback and imagery
Your brain has an amazing ability to regulate certain bodily functions you may think are out of your control. The trick is learning how to control them. Biofeedback therapy can help you recognize cues from your body, so you can make conscious changes to alter your heart rate, breathing patterns, body temperature, and muscle activity.
We can also train you to detect patterns in your body’s physical behavior, so you can recognize the signs of stress and then reduce your stress. We can also teach you techniques that use imagery and sensory perception to help you become more aware of your body, so you can exert more control over it.
Cancer pain is complex, and no two people experience it the same way. That’s why we offer a multidisciplinary approach to help you find the right combination of techniques to alleviate your unique kind of pain. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center today.