Conditions We Treat

Cancer Pain

Some cancer patients experience cancer pain, but not all. If you have cancer that has progressed or recurred, you are more likely to experience pain. Cancer pain manifests in many ways. It can be a dull, achy, acute, or scorching sensation. It can also be continuous, intermittent, mild, moderate, or severe.

The amount of pain you experience depends on several factors, including the sort of cancer you have, how advanced it is, where it occurs, and your pain tolerance. Most cancer pain is tolerable, and pain management is crucial.

woman by the window

What is the Diagnosis Process for Cancer Pain?

When a person visits their doctor to report pain, the focus is on determining the cause and devising a pain management strategy. To find the source of the pain, a physical evaluation, and medical testing are required.

A doctor’s knowledge of the pain’s degree and character is greatly aided by a description of the pain (e.g., is it dull, acute, achy, or shooting). A questionnaire or a pain intensity scale may be given to the patient to explain or rate the pain. The doctor may question the patient’s lifestyle and how they cope with stress and pain.

What Causes Cancer Pain?

Cancer pain is due to the tumor pressing on bones, nerves, or other body organs. Pain can also be due to your cancer treatment. Some chemotherapy medications, for example, can induce numbness and tingling in your hands and feet. Alternatively, they may create a burning sensation at the site of injection. Radiotherapy can cause skin irritation and redness.

Acute or chronic cancer pain might occur.

Acute Pain:

Acute pain is due to an injury and lasts for a brief period. For example, having a procedure can result in severe discomfort. When the wound heals, the pain goes away. Meanwhile, pain relievers will typically keep it under control.

Chronic Pain:

Changes in the nerves can cause chronic pain. Nerve alterations can occur as a result of cancer pressing on nerves or as a result of substances released by a tumor. Nerve alterations caused by cancer treatment can potentially cause chronic pain. Chronic pain can range from mild to severe and persist long after the injury.

Pain can strike suddenly sometimes, such as when a dressing is changed, or you move around and change position. It is referred to as incidental pain. Your doctor must determine the nature and source of your pain.

Different types of pain have different causes.

These include:

Nerve Pain:

Nerve pain is also known as neuropathic pain. It is due to pressure on nerves or the spinal cord, or nerve injury. People frequently describe nerve pain as scorching, shooting, tingling, or a crawling sensation beneath their skin. Nerve pain might be more difficult to cure than other types of pain at times.

Bone Pain:

Cancer can travel to the bone and cause pain by causing bone tissue damage. Cancer can damage a single bone or numerous bones. Somatic pain is another term for bone pain. This pain is frequently aching, dull, or throbbing.

Soft Tissue Pain:

Pain from a body organ or muscle is referred to as soft tissue pain. For example, you may experience back pain due to renal tissue injury.

This pain is difficult to quantify. But it is commonly described as acute, cramping, hurting, or throbbing. Visceral pain is another term for soft tissue pain.

Referred Pain:

Pain from an organ in the body might sometimes be felt in a different portion of the body. It is known as referred pain. An enlarged liver, for example, may induce pain in the right shoulder even though the liver is present beneath the right rib cage. It is due to the liver pressing on nerves that terminate in the shoulder.

Treatment Options for Cancer Pain

Controlling pain is always crucial. Unrelieved pain creates unnecessary suffering and weakens a cancer patient. Pain is best eased by treating cancer whenever feasible. Pain may be reduced when a tumor is surgically removed or decreased by radiation or chemotherapy.

There are several cancer pain therapies available. Your alternatives may vary depending on what is causing your cancer pain and the severity of the pain. To get the most out of pain treatments, you may need to combine them.

1. Medications:

These include:

Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers are one option. Pain relievers that do not require a prescription may be useful for mild to moderate pain. Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, among others), and ibuprofen are examples (Advil, Motrin IB, others).
  • Opium-Derived Medications (Opioids):
  • Opioids are drugs that are prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain. Opioids include morphine (Kadian, Ms. Contin, and others) and oxycodone (Oxycontin, Roxicodone, others).
  • Some opioids are short-acting medications, so pain relief is immediate, but you may need to take them more frequently. Other opioid drugs have a longer duration of action, so pain relief takes longer, but the medication does not need to be taken as frequently.

Other Prescription Drugs:

Antidepressants, seizure medications, and steroids are examples of medications that can assist in relieving pain.

2. Pain Signal Blocking Procedures:

A nerve block treatment can be performed to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. A numbing agent is injected around or into a nerve during this treatment.

3. Integrative Treatments:

Acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, relaxation exercises, meditation, and hypnosis may provide some pain relief for certain patients.

Other treatments for your specific scenario may be available. Medical marijuana for cancer pain may be authorized in some states. Every pain reliever has side effects. Work with your doctor to learn the advantages and disadvantages of each pain treatment, as well as how to control the adverse effects. You and your doctor can decide which therapies are best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cancer Pain

What is the suggested treatment for Cancer Pain?

We suggest using an Intrathecal Pain Pump to deliver medication and help to ease cancer pain.

Improving Patients’ Quality of Life Through Personalized Care

If you’re struggling with neck, back, or hip pain or any other spine related issues, schedule an appointment with us today to get back to living your life the way you’d like to.

Common Conditions We Treat