Cancer pain management takes many different forms, but in the long run it is likely the patient will need to find the best type of cancer pain medication that works for her. For this reason, it is crucial the patient find a doctor she trusts and can talk openly with about her symptoms. He will work with her to develop both a long-term treatment plan and short-term options for pain management. Other cancer pain management techniques involve relaxation and meditation, yoga or another form of low-impact exercise, or some form of distraction and stress relief. Learning a new hobby can provide a mental distraction and give the person a task to focus on instead of constantly worrying or thinking about the pain.
Medication is the first line of attack in cancer pain management. Medicine is often the most effective treatment for relieving the pain, but can work even better when combined with other relaxation techniques. When developing a cancer pain management treatment plan, the doctor often starts the patient on a simple over-the-counter medication. If the pain persists or worsens, a prescription painkiller may be given. The doctor also searches for specific causes of the pain, such as a tumor pressing on an organ.
Various types of medication are available for the patient's convenience. The standard pill and liquid forms are available along with shots. Patches that are worn on the skin are also an option. These options may be best for patients who have trouble swallowing or dislike taking pills. If one medication causes unwanted side effects, others are available, and the patient's doctor will work with them to find one that provides the desired results.
Radiation treatment can also prove effective in cancer pain management. While the process does take a physical toll on the person and can cause discomfort, it may relieve the pain in the long run depending on what caused it in the first place. The radiation can reduce the size of tumors and pain may lessen as the tumor shrinks and applies less and less pressure on the surrounding area and nerves.
Non-medication forms of pain management include relaxation and meditation, journaling, deep breathing techniques, and even group therapy. While these alone do not eliminate pain, having an optimistic frame of mind and a supportive network of friends for comfort can improve a person's overall well-being. Other options include electrical nerve stimulation or numbing agents, both of which are non-painful methods of soothing the nerves in the body and relieving pain.