What to Do About Chronic Cancer Pain

What to Do About Chronic Cancer Pain

When you have cancer, you expect to face the aftermath of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, but there’s a common complication that many people don’t anticipate — pain. 

One in three cancer patients experiences chronic pain related to the disease or the treatment, making it the most common and lasting side effect. Unfortunately, up to half of cancer patients never hear about it from their oncologist, and they’re caught off guard by the persistent pain. 

If you’re experiencing chronic cancer pain, Dr. Stanley Mathew at American Rehabilitation Center can help. As a triple-board certified physiatrist, he specializes in pain management. He expertly diagnoses the underlying cause of your pain, whether it stems from post-surgical complications, your treatments, or the cancer itself. 

Once he determines the source of your chronic cancer pain, Dr. Mathew offers evidence-based, multidisciplinary treatments that incorporate a wide range of modalities. No two treatment plans are alike — we develop a strategy that addresses your unique set of circumstances and takes into account every aspect of your past, current, and future health. 

Here are some of the ways we can alleviate your chronic cancer pain at the American Rehabilitation Center.

Simple lifestyle changes

Cancer is a powerful foe, and you need to be otherwise strong and healthy to fight it. That’s why nutrition, weight management, and plenty of exercise are crucial as you go through your treatments.

The same holds true when your treatment ends. Chronic cancer pain thrives when you eat junk food, sit around the house, and gain weight. If you want to fend off your cancer pain, start by making a few nutritional and activity changes — we can help you make a plan. 

Psychological support

Your cancer pain isn’t all in your head — but some of it may be. Your mind plays an important role in pain management, and Dr. Mathew can help you unlock the key to the mind-body connection, so you can recognize how pain affects your mental health and vice versa. 

With psychological counseling, we can help you manage pain-exacerbating stress, prevent depression and anxiety, and learn ways to reduce your pain by practicing mindfulness and coping skills. 

Nerve blocks and injections

Sometimes, a surgical procedure or cancer treatment can irritate or damage a nerve that then sends a pain signal to your brain long after the surgery site has healed or the treatment has ended. In this case, we may administer a nerve block or a corticosteroid injection to stop the pain signals. This temporary solution enables you to continue with physical therapy that addresses the source of irritation or inflammation.

Intrathecal and epidural pumps

If your chronic cancer pain involves more than one localized nerve, covers a larger area, or is widespread, Dr. Mathew may recommend a pain pump that we place under your skin to deliver a continuous but controlled amount of medication. 

Depending on the location of your pain, you may need an intrathecal pump that delivers medication to the space between your spinal cord and sheath that covers it, or an epidural pump that targets the space outside your spine’s outer membrane. 

Alternative therapies

At American Rehabilitation Center, we embrace the proven success of pain-relief techniques that fall outside the traditional realm of modern medicine. That’s why we incorporate alternative approaches, such as meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and acupuncture into our list of services. 

Knowing where your pain comes from and what it means frees you to face it and fight it, especially if it stems from a misfiring nerve that serves no purpose. Dr. Mathew and our team combine several treatment approaches to make sure you get the pain relief you need and the support it takes to overcome your chronic cancer pain.

To find out which treatment is right for your unique symptoms, call us, or schedule a consultation online with Dr. Mathew, and put chronic cancer pain behind you. 

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