Managing Cancer Pain: Options Explained

Being diagnosed with cancer is the start of a terrible battle for your life. Besides the fear of losing this battle, cancer patients must also face pain – ranging from moderate to unbearable. However, you are not alone in your battle. Together with your trusted oncologist, the doctors at our Greenville pain center are here to help you manage cancer pain.

In this article, we will discuss the various pain management options available for cancer patients.

The First Step: Pinpointing the Nature of Cancer Pain

The term cancer pain is extremely general. A doctor needs to understand the source and type of pain you are suffering from. It can be caused by cancer itself, or by the oncologic treatments you undergo to fight the condition.

Doctors identify five types of cancer pain:

  • Bone pain manifests itself as a dull or throbbing ache.
  • Nerve pain, caused by a tumor putting pressure on a nerve or the spinal cord, feels like a burning sensation, tingling, or shooting pain.
  • Soft tissue pain caused by cancer that has affected internal organs manifests as an ache, a cramp, or throbbing pain.
  • Phantom pain is felt in the area where a body part was surgically removed to eliminate a tumor. It is very common in women who suffered a mastectomy (breast removal)
  • Referred pain is the type of pain felt in an area of the body but caused by a cancerous tumor present in a different part of the body.

Understanding Cancer Pain Management Options

Let us now focus on how the doctors at our Greenville pain center help cancer patients live pain-free. The approach is gradual, based on the level of pain the patient experiences.

This is a general presentation of the pain management options. Your doctor will create a personalized pain management plan after a thorough checkup.

Phase 1: Moderate and Infrequent Pain

Some cancer patients experience moderate pain at various intervals. In this situation, the pain can be managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and nonopioid analgesic drugs.

These are over-the-counter drugs that you can purchase without a special prescription. They are also less likely to cause your body to develop tolerance.

pain in cancer patients ranges from moderate to very severe

Phase 2: Severe and Frequent Pain

If you experience severe pain at close intervals of time, your doctor may consider changing your management plan from over-the-counter medication to weak opioids.

These drugs offer pain relief for intense pain, over a longer period of time. Given the low concentration, they are safe for most patients. However, you must discuss with your pain doctor if you ever feel the need to take a larger dose.

Phase 3: Intense and Constant Pain

If you suffer from cancer in an advanced stage, pain may be constant and at unbearable levels. At this point, your doctor will have to prescribe strong opioids or methadone to manage the pain.

These drugs are available either as pills for oral administration or transdermal patches with continuous release.

Phase 4: Very Intense and Constant Pain

Some cancers cause unbearable pain that does not stop. In this situation, the pain management plan moves from pills and patches to minimally invasive treatments that offer relief from pain for a longer period of time.

The doctors at our pain center are experienced in using the most modern and effective treatment options, such as:

Chiropractic Care Is Also Effective for Managing Cancer Pain

Besides medications and injections, cancer patients can benefit from chiropractic care. Adjustments and massages performed by a licensed chiropractor can help ease the pain, reduce inflammation, and promote improved functionality of the nervous system.

One of the side benefits of chiropractic is the improvement of the immune system, which is essential for preventing infections with viruses and bacteria.

Schedule an Initial Appointment at Our Greenville Pain Center!

You should not battle cancer pain on your own. The doctors at our Greenville pain center know how to offer relief for all types of cancer pain, at each stage. We encourage you to reach out to us at 864-535-0144 and schedule an initial appointment for evaluation!