Everyone reacts differently to the chemicals that are used in cancer treatments. That is why some might suffer some pain after receiving cancer treatments. Surprisingly, some cancer treatments can cause as much pain as actual cancer itself.
There are a few ways on how to treat pain caused by cancer and its treatments. One way is to remove the cause of the pain, which could be a tumor, through surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other treatments. If the pain is the outcome of some of the recently mentioned cancer treatments, then over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers can be used.
If pills are not your choice of medication then you could be able to use medicated shots, a skin patch or rectal suppositories. If those options don’t work, then a nerve block could help. A nerve block is a local anesthetic that is injected into or around a nerve to prevent it from sending pain messages to the brain. Other treatments that might work is acupuncture, massage, acupressure, physical therapy, meditation and hypnosis.
The first step to find the proper pain management is to talk to your provider. Together you will be able to figure out the best treatment that will keep you comfortable.
If you have any questions on cancer pain management give us a call at (405) 701-4909.
When you take an over-the-counter pain reliever, do you make sure it is after you have food in your stomach and had a tall glass of water? If not, maybe you should.
It is easy to forget that over-the-counter pain relievers have a recommended dosage and have side effects. Those effects can range from mood swings, elevated blood pressure, to kidney damage, heart attack and even death.
Some consumers can also become dependent on the pills. On average, 1 in 10 exceeds the daily dosage recommended for over-the-counter pain relievers. It is easier than you think to exceed the daily recommendation. You can exceed it by mixing medicine that has the same active ingredients too closely together, like Tylenol and Nyquil. Some believe taking extra medicine will give them extra strength against pain, which is false. Yet they truly believe it is true and exceed the recommended dosage without worry.
If you are looking into using an over-the-counter acetaminophen as part of a daily routine, please consult your doctor. They will be able to give you a proper routine to help reduce potential side effects.
If you have any questions about over-the-counter pain relievers, don’t hesitate to call your favorite medical professional.
A feeling of intense pain after a surgery or illness can be known as a type of neuralgias. The pain can feel like a stabbing, burning sensation or just severe pain in any part of the body. Some of the most common causes of neuralgia are aging, illness or infection.
Here are some of the most common:
Diabetic neuropathy is pain associated with diabetes mellitus. Some symptoms can include pain and numbness in the legs, issues with the bladder, digestion problems and controlling heart rate. Treatment managing blood sugar can help reduce symptoms.
Peripheral neuropathy is pain caused by nerve damage. Symptoms include a pins-and-needles sensation, numbness and weakness. Some treatments are pain-relieving creams, antidepressants and pain medications. To pick the adequate treatment your doctor must find the underlying cause of the pain.
Phantom limb pain occurs when a body part has been amputated but you feel pain as if that body part was still there. The pain could feel like an electric shock, burning, pins-and-needles and other aches. At times the pain will fade away as your brain becomes aware that there is no longer a limb. For the time being, treatment can include antidepressants and painkillers.
Post-herpetic can happen at the end of a shingles episode. These pain symptoms can range from moderate to debilitating. Treatment will depend on the severity of the pain.
If you are experiencing pain after an illness or surgery, please call your physician. If the pain continues and with your physician’s recommendation visit a pain management specialist.
One way to live with incurable pain is to focus on a distraction. That is why virtual reality has slowly been integrating itself into the medical world.
The first time VR technology was used for a pain management study was in 2000. Two separate burn victims undergoing burn wound care were handed virtual reality goggles to help distract them from their treatments. The study demonstrated a decrease in anxiety, pain levels and the amount of time the patients spent thinking about pain. This form of distraction has also been tested on patients suffering from various cases of chronic pain. The study also showed that using VR technology during treatments helped maintain the patients’ pulse rate and pain ratings at normal levels.
In the last few years, VR distraction has been implemented in some hospitals. VR technology is being used to help keep patients- particularly children- still during long MRI or CAT scans. It has yet been truly implemented into pain management plans because of cost and a limited amount of research completed.
Samsung recently announced their collaboration with Travelers Insurance, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Bayer and Applied VR in funding a 16-month study on VR distraction.
Who knows, maybe after this study, VR distraction could become part of your new pain management plan.
Whenever you go into a doctor’s office they always ask you to describe your pain. Whether it is bearable or not, it truly helps to describe your pain as accurately as possible for a proper diagnosis.
Here are some terms that may be helpful:
- Dull pain- A slow or weak pain, not very sudden or strong.
- Throbbing pain– A pain that surges, beats, or pounds.
- Steady pain- A pain that does not change in its intensity.
- Sharp pain- Pain that causes intense mental or physical distress, that may feel “knife-like.”
- Acute pain- Severe pain that lasts a relatively short period of time.
- Chronic or persistent pain- Mild to severe pain that is present to some degree for long periods of time.
- Breakthrough pain- When you are taking medication for chronic pain, moderate to severe pain that occurs between doses is pain that “breaks through”.
The holidays are always fun and stress-free…for kids. For anyone in charge of making the magic happen, the holiday season can be stressful. The holidays can be a trigger for pain flares. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help prevent pain flares:
- Don’t Indulge Too Much: Taking a few bites of those holiday goodies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. To help from over-indulging eat healthy snacks before your favorite holiday goodies. This will help you from possibly gaining a few extra pounds that could put stress on your joints and spine.
- Have a Light Schedule: Don’t double book yourself or book too many back to back activities. Avoid over working your body from rushing from party to party. Also keep in mind the time you spend in a vehicle sitting down. This could cause back pain flares. Just pace yourself and take breaks to relax. This will help release tense you might be building up on your body from stress.
- Remember to Sleep: After a long day of holiday cheer remember to give your body a break. Try your best to stick to your normal sleep schedule. Having a poor night’s sleep can cause more pain the following day. Your grandparents were not lying when they said a good night’s rest does the body wonders.
- Avoid Heated Topics: Getting into a heated argument with friends and family members can add stress to your body resulting in a pain flare. Steer clear of stressful situations by having an escape plan or coming up with topics to help transition the conversation. There is no complete way to dodge your Aunt’s side comment but we can control how we react to it.
The best way to help avoid pain flares is to try to reduce the stress you place on your body. Remember to enjoy the holidays, but know it is ok to take a break from all the activities.
From watching your favorite team play or going to your kid’s sports games it is always exciting but sitting in the stands for hours can be a painful experience! There are things you can do to prevent what’s called “bleacher back”.
At the next big game you attend, keep your back health in mind by remembering to:
- Maintain good posture and sit up straight.
- Bring along or purchase a stadium chair, blanket or lawn chair to cushion the bleacher and better support your back.
- Stand to cheer as often as you can. This encourages movement to keep things loose.
- When you feel pain, get up and move around or stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors.
- Work on strengthening your core before the game
- Have half of your body weight in fluid in ounces per day
By following the steps above and actively keeping yourself hydrated, you are going to have less inflammation and can sit for a longer period of time.
The new guidelines also state if the pain lasts longer than three months then it is considered chronic pain. If the pain is chronic then medication can be prescribed for treatment. These new guidelines are set to help the patient and reduce America’s painkiller addiction. If a patient grows accustomed to painkillers they could be increasing their sensitivity to pain. The less time spent on painkillers the better it is for the body.
Painkillers may be an easy option but not always the best. Speak to your physician to find the best treatment for you.
Why waiting is worse.
From weeks to months, pain can start and grow. Tiny aches and pains are seen as minor and unimportant. Is it normal to put off going to the doctor for pain complications?
The answer is yes. The average person waits 6 months to see a doctor about pain. If your pain is effecting your mobility, and hasn’t decreased in 4 weeks, it’s time to get help. Some symptoms of not receiving proper treatment includes depression and brain shrinkage.
Is exercise not working for you? Trying slow movements rather than fast ones. This can help your body ease into being more active, especially if done in water. Be alert of the narcotics you are taking and how they might react in result of physical activities.
Natural treatments aren’t working? Natural remedies can leave nasty side effects that can affect other parts of your body. Having a professional observe your problems is the safest way to go.
Once you have found a specialists that can treat you, stick to that specialist unless you feel they are treating you improperly. Flopping between specialists can rack up unnecessary bills from test and appointments. If you are confused about the options between surgery and therapy, talk to your specialist.
Your pain is your own – it is unique, and it can be hard to express because only you can feel it. No matter how intense, know your pain is real. There are many ways to deal with pain to supplement treatment. Whether you find these tips helpful or not, we are not trying to minimize your pain or what you go through; we are only offering suggestions for distracting your mind from this unfortunate part of your life.
- Know that distraction can be an unhealthy response.
Distraction can be a mechanism used to avoid dealing with difficulty in our lives. Some distractions that might be considered unhealthy include eating when you are in pain or feel stressed, or self-medicating with recreational drugs and alcohol.
- Acknowledge the feeling that you’re having.
If your pain seems to be more intense than it should be, then it’s time to get it checked out. You never know what that pain could mean. Your body has a very complex way of reacting to issues within. Distracting yourself can be a great way to reduce the pain, but ignoring it completely could result in more serious problems later on.
- Recognize that distractions can help you through unhealthy responses.
Once you realize that you are managing your pain in a healthy way, distractions can be a very helpful supplement. Studies have shown that drinking coffee, watching scary movies, and finding ways to laugh can help put thoughts of your pain on the backburner.
- Better yet, find distractions that can be productive
Sometimes, if moving doesn’t worsen your pain, people find comfort in cleaning or organizing things. Knitting has been known to be very calming, and as a result you will have a new blanket or sweater. Cooking can be therapeutic, too.
- Try deep breathing techniques
When you focus on breathing deeply, you can help your body release stress and anxiety. Your mind will start to clear as you think only about breathing. 
- Breathe in for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. Place your hand on your stomach to feel it moving in and out with the breath.