7 Helpful Treatment Options for Cancer Pain

Sep 01, 2023
7 Helpful Treatment Options for Cancer Pain
For many cancer patients, the pain that comes with cancer and its treatments is physically and emotionally burdensome. Explore several of the most effective evidence-based treatments for cancer pain recommended by our experts.

Having cancer can bring innumerable challenges into your life. From costly and time-consuming therapies to the emotional ups and downs affecting yourself and your family, cancer is no walk in the park. On top of everything, cancer pain can be severely physically and emotionally taxing. 

Pain Management Associates in Greenbelt, Maryland, can lighten your load with seven evidence-based treatments for cancer pain. Our expert oncologists Haddis T. Hagos, MD, and Brent Earls, MD, customize your recommendations according to the type and severity of your cancer pain. Treatment can lessen the many types of cancer pain, including:

  • Bone and joint pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Neuropathy
  • Spinal pain
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Abdominal pain

Our providers get to know you well so they can give you the compassionate, personalized care you deserve. 

Here are seven of the top treatment options we offer for cancer pain at Pain Management Associates:

1. Nerve blocks

Nerve blocks do exactly what the name implies: They calm down overactive nerves to stifle pain signals using a local anesthetic often combined with a steroid. Treated nerves stop relaying information to your brain temporarily. 

2. Intrathecal morphine pumps

An intrathecal morphine pump, or intrathecal pain pump, is a surgically implanted device that delivers medication into the fluid surrounding your spinal cord. This allows you to experience intense pain relief with only a fraction of the dosage you’d have to take in the form of a pill or injection. 

Intrathecal pain pumps can treat cancer pain itself or pain associated with cancer treatments like chemotherapy.

3. Physical therapy

Cancer pain often comes with additional physical challenges like muscle weakness or fatigue. Physical therapy helps you restore your strength and function, which can alleviate some of the pain itself. Alongside other therapies, physical therapy is an excellent and nonpharmaceutical mode for pain relief. One major appeal of physical therapy is that it’s personalized according to your needs and goals.

4. Heat and ice therapy

Heat and ice therapy offer a simple way to reduce cancer pain without complex procedures or pharmaceutical medications. While you may need a few other strategies alongside heat and ice therapy, applying heat or ice to painful areas can allow you to minimize your pain medication dosages and lower your energy expenditure for cancer pain management. 

5. Spinal nerve stimulation

Spinal nerve stimulation is a highly effective route for cancer pain management with the numbers to support that claim. According to a 2020 systematic review, over 80% of patients with spinal nerve stimulators reported at least a 50% reduction in their pain, and many were able to decrease their use of opioids. 

spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device complete with a generator and electrodes. It calms nerve signals by sending electrical impulses into your spine. 

6. Relaxation techniques

Like heat and ice therapy, relaxation techniques provide a nonmedical option for cancer pain reduction. Strategies like rhythmic breathing and muscle tensing can help you cope with the pain and stress that come with having cancer. It may take some time to learn these techniques, but they can also help you rely less on pain medications with risks and side effects. 

7. Aquatic therapy

Aquatic therapy, or hydrotherapy, is a low-impact type of physical therapy that’s an excellent choice for people with pain, fatigue, and muscle stiffness. Just like conventional physical therapy, aquatic therapy allows you to rebuild strength and reduce pain without taxing your muscles and joints as much. 

Ready to take control of your cancer pain? Call Pain Management Associates or schedule a consultation online to talk to our oncologists today.