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What Are the Best Tips for Handling Chemotherapy Pain?

K.C. Bruning
Updated May 17, 2024
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The process of managing chemotherapy pain is typically ongoing and must often be tracked, rated, and adjusted as the needs of the patient change. There are several different methods of handling chemotherapy pain. Some of these include acupuncture, massage, and exercise. There are also different kinds of medication that can be used as well.

When determining what kind of medicine to prescribe for chemotherapy pain, a doctor will typically ask the patient to rate his or her pain on a scale of one to ten. Then, using guidelines created by the World Health Organization (WHO), the doctor will determine the severity of the pain before recommending a drug. Medication can range in strength from over-the-counter products to injections that must be administered in a medical facility.

Most mild to moderate chemotherapy pain can be treated with over-the-counter medications. More intense pain may require a prescription for a narcotic, such as hydrocodone, codeine, or oxycodone. Stronger narcotics, such as morphine, methadone, and levorphanol, are prescribed for severe pain.

Physical treatments such as massage and acupuncture can help to manipulate the body so that it is better able to manage pain. Both practices focus on increasing blood flow to certain parts of the body by putting pressure on specific points. This can be used in addition to drug therapy. It may also be an option for patients who fear becoming addicted to their pain management medications.

Exercise can offer several benefits that help to handle chemotherapy pain. Regularly following a doctor-approved program can release chemicals in the body that manage stress and pain. Physical activity can also improve overall health, which better enables the body to heal and thus manage pain.

Emotional support may also help a patient to manage chemotherapy pain. This can include spending time with family and trusted friends or participating in a support group. Emotional support can provide stress relief, distraction, and improve the mental outlook of the patient — all of which can also contribute to pain relief.

Another important factor of handling chemotherapy pain is to proactively manage its treatment. This includes staying on top of pain that doesn’t subside or lessen, keeping track of changes in pain, and communicating with the appropriate doctor or nurse when it worsens. It is also beneficial for a patient to note the effect medication has on pain. If a drug no longer works or is not as effective as it was at the start of treatment, then it may be necessary to try a different drug.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
K.C. Bruning
By K.C. Bruning , Former Writer
Kendahl Cruver Bruning, a versatile writer and editor, creates engaging content for a wide range of publications and platforms, including WiseGeek. With a degree in English, she crafts compelling blog posts, web copy, resumes, and articles that resonate with readers. Bruning also showcases her passion for writing and learning through her own review site and podcast, offering unique perspectives on various topics.

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K.C. Bruning

K.C. Bruning

Former Writer

Kendahl Cruver Bruning, a versatile writer and editor, creates engaging content for a wide range of publications and...
Learn more
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