Pain is an unfortunate side effect of cancer, and it can derive from the cancer itself or the medications used to treat cancer. No matter the cause, it’s important for patients to recognize that they do not have to live in chronic, debilitating pain due to their cancer diagnosis. Moreover, that relief is possible. The pain management specialists at Desert Pain & Spine are experts in treating all levels and types of pain, and cancer pain is no exception. Your provider will work directly with your oncologist to determine safe and effective therapies to reduce pain and discomfort caused by cancer pain.
Symptoms of cancer pain can vary depending on the patient’s cancer diagnosis and the treatment they’re receiving for their condition. Cancer pain may surface as muscle aches and pains, abdominal pain and nausea, or jaw pain and headaches. The pain can also change throughout the day, causing intense pain for several minutes or hours, followed by dull aches that last days at a time. The pain can be acute or chronic, or be classified as breakthrough pain – a flare-up that develops without cause or warning. Regardless of the type of symptoms you’re experiencing, it’s important you have them thoroughly investigated by your oncologist, pain management specialist, or an emergency room physician if the pain is severe.
As we alluded to previously, cancer pain can be caused by any number of things – chemotherapy drugs, nerve damage, or from the cancer itself. Sometimes, the tumor presses on surrounding structures, causing immense, electric shock-like pain. Other times, chemotherapy drugs can cause adverse side effects, leading to nerve damage and other painful conditions. Your physician at Desert Pain & Spine will work closely with your oncologist to determine an effective treatment plan that will not interfere with your predetermined cancer treatment.
Depending on the type of pain a patient is experiencing, the physicians at Desert Pain & Spine may recommend a combination of interventional, alternative, and behavioral health therapies to provide physical and emotional relief from cancer pain. Interventional treatment options may include opioid medication management, steroid injections, or neuromodulation. Alternative therapies may include a referral to specialists who can perform acupuncture, massage therapy, reflexology, and more. Cancer is just as much a mental battle as it is a physical one, which means it’s imperative for patients and their loved ones to seek behavioral health therapy if the emotional journey begins to take a toll.