Cancer does not always generate pain symptoms. But the pain in cancer can manage by medicine or other treatments. The aim to manage cancer pain is to provide symptomatic relief so that patients can enjoy their normal routines and sleep better. Palliative care or pain specialist often helps in cancer pain management. The pain treatment depends upon the nature of the pain symptom. Cancer pain may be acute mild or severe, occurs quickly but settle within a short period. Chronic pain ranges from mild to severe and persists or progresses over a long period. Breakthrough pain is an intense upsurge of pain symptoms that suddenly occurs or is felt for a short time. Breakthrough pain may occur by itself or about a certain activity. The patient has to keep some important things in mind for effective management of cancer pain:
- Consult with a doctor and discuss openly cancer pain. Information related to pain management obtains from healthcare team help to manage pain symptom.
- Start pain management therapy at the initial stage and avoid worsening the condition.
- Although different cancer pain treatments are available. But every patient requires an individual treatment plan for controlling pain.
- Keeping a pain management record will help to produce the best pain control plan for the individual patient.
- Follow physician instructions. Self-changes of dosing or skip medicine to save them do not suggest. This can cause the arrival of breakthrough pain.
Types of medications for cancer pain relief
Following are different types of pain medications available for cancer pain management. But every patient has a unique response against these pain-killing medications. Therefore, an individual treatment plan requires for every patient.
- Aspirin-like drugs – Inflammatory pain like pleurisy or bone pain can be treated with aspirin-like drugs. But aspirin-like drugs have some side effects like indigestion and increase the risk of bleeding. Regular aspirin-like drug intake can cause stomach problems.
- Paracetamol – This is a common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. It is well tolerated and does not hurt the stomach or cause blood thinning. It helps to reduce fever and associated bone pain. Along with opioid medication, paracetamol is prescribed for better pain management.
- Opioids – Codeine and morphine are two commonly used opioids. Nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and constipation are some of the significant side effects of these medications. However, the risk to develop addiction is negligible for using these medications for pain relief purposes.
Different novel opioids are invented and the doctor will prescribe the most suitable one for cancer patients depending upon the pain intensity.
Relaxation can manage cancer pain
A cancer patient can cope up with pain in a better way through deep physical and mental relaxation. Doctor or health care team often recommended the following therapies as an adjuvant treatment for better cancer pain management:
- Breathing and relaxation- correct breathing process by utilizing diaphragm and abdomen can calm stress level by control nervous system activity.
- Hypnotherapy –induces a dreamy, relaxed state of cognizance through activating an imagery state of mind. Hypnotherapy can also help to manage pain temporarily and also ease the side effects burden of cancer treatment like nausea.
- Massage – Massage can activate the nerve endings that are packed by skin, the largest organ of the human body. Massage helps to soothing soft tissue and relaxes the muscular tissues.
- Meditation helps to calm down mental health by deliberate clearing of the mental stress and heightened awareness. Regular meditation practice offers different long-term health benefits, like stress reduction, regulate blood pressure. All these physiological phenomena increase the pain threshold of the body.
- Tai chi is a Chinese form of non-combative martial art. In this process, gentle movements help to vibrant the mind and relax the body.
- Yoga is an ancient Indian system of postures synchronized with the breath.
All the above-mentioned complementary treatment approaches use for cancer pain management.
Other pain management for cancer
Other pain management techniques to ease chronic pain symptom associated with cancer:
- Acupuncture is an integral part of ancient Chinese medicine involves in inserting and stimulating fine needles into specific points of the skin. Scientific studies have proven acupuncture is efficacy for pain management, though fewer researches available for cancer pain management.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy is given through a minute electrical current that passes through the skin via electrodes, prompting a pain-relieving response from the body.