An Introduction to Cancer Pain

Learn about Cancer Pain

Pain exists to be very personal. It is also very holistic; it is dependent on more than just your body. Pain is dependent on your functionality and your lifestyle. Due to this, it varies greatly with personal experiences and emotions.

Pain is a result of our body’s nervous system. Pain signals are emitted once nerve endings detect an injury or damage to a specific portion of the body. The nerves send signals to the brain which are then perceived as pain.

Thus, pain is heavily reliant on your brain and your mindset. Patients may technically be in the same “quantity” of pain, but it seems different because each person has a different perception of it. This explanation is qualified for all forms of pain.

Pain exists with and without causes. Systemic illnesses such as cancer are very popular causes of pain. Cancer is in fact one of the leading causes of illness in the United States today. Though not everyone with cancer will experience it, a large population of cancer patients experience cancer pain. Cancer pain can be severely disruptive since it has the ability to make someone fatigued, restless and anxious. Since cancer has the same abilities, the pain may heighten these symptoms even further.

Cancer pain, like other forms of pain, can involve both acute and chronic pain. Acute pain is short-lived and chronic pain is long-lasting. While acute pain is usually onset by an injury, chronic pain lasts longer than pain should, post your healing.

Chronic pain needs special attention since it has the ability to impact a patient’s mood and functionality very greatly. Acute flare-ups of pain is a separate type of pain that is considered breakthrough pain. This pain spontaneously exists despite medication. This is very popular with cancer pain.

Cancer pain has two root causes. The first cause is that the pressure your tumor puts on your organs, bones, or nerves is what is causing the disturbance in your body. Thus, treating the cancer itself will help ease this particular pain. Another cause is the treatment. Side-effects to cancer treatment, primarily chemotherapy, are very popular. Side-effects include neuropathy and joint pain. Surgical treatments are also a popular cause of cancer pain. This is because surgery cuts through soft tissue and damage to it is the primary reason pain exists.

Despite the reasoning behind the cancer pain, it can be treated like any other type of pain. These treatments include both drug and non-drug treatments. Though the use of opioids in a frail condition may be frightening, they are fairly safe to use on cancer patients with moderation. Cancer patients are also at less risk for addiction. But that being noted, a pain specialist’s goal is to increase functionality without being reliant on medication.

Rather than opioid medication, anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed instead to treat flare-ups. Other methods of treatment will include physical therapy and exercise. However, these forms of treatment will be catered to your condition and will likely be low-impact. Since pain has such an emotional impact, exercise that works your mind and eases your thoughts will likely be a good option for you. Yoga is an excellent example. Not only does it allow you to stretch, improving your flexibility and range of motion, but it also connects your body and mind.

It is important to remember that your cancer pain does not define you. Though it may decrease your quality of life, it does not directly correlate to your ability to fight cancer. Though it will be difficult, by managing your cancer pain you will be able to fight cancer with your fullest ability and benefit your lifestyle as a cancer patient.

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