Mesothelioma Pain Management
Mesothelioma pain management is a large part of treatment for every mesothelioma patient, and for those in the advanced stages, it may be the only treatment used. If you are unfamiliar with complementary medicine, you may be skeptical about some of the methods listed here, but you must understand that the pain caused by mesothelioma goes beyond the level where pain medications alone can provide relief. Alternative methods are a standard part of mesothelioma pain management.
Removing tumors can get rid of the source of some of the pain. Sometimes fluid build-up can be drained to relieve pressure.
Of course, pain-relieving medications are an important part of pain management. Non-opioids, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used when the pain is still relatively mild. Most patients will require opioids such as:
These drugs may be administered in pill form, by transdermal patch, or intravenously. In some cases, a pain pump may be used. This device involves inserting a catheter into the spinal column so that the pain medication is delivered directly to your central nervous system. Many patients prefer the pump because it can minimize some of the side effects of opioid drugs, and provide a steady dose.
Nerve blocks work by preventing the pain signal from getting to your brain. There are many types including:
- Radiofrequency thermo-coagulation
- Long-acting local anesthetics
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
TENS has been described as an electrical massage. It is often used to relieve chronic back pain and TMJ because it relaxes the muscles. This in itself can help relieve localized mesothelioma pain because of the tendency to tense up where there is pain, and the muscle tension only makes the pain and pressure more severe.
The biggest benefit of TENS is that it stimulates the release of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers.
Acupuncture has been used in China for hundreds of years, to relieve pain and improve health. People who are not familiar with acupuncture are often skeptical, but many studies have proven its effectiveness in relieving pain. Very thin needles are inserted into specific points on the body. Endorphins are released.
Acupressure works with the same points on the body but uses a simple massage technique instead of needles and can be performed at home.
Acupuncture and acupressure have no side effects and can be performed as often as needed.
Massage provides relief from the stress and tension involved in coping with mesothelioma and can help relieve the pain. It will relax the muscles and improve circulation, both of which can help with the pain. If possible, you should choose a massage therapist who has experience with cancer patients and understands their unique needs.
Like the name sounds, biofeedback monitors blood pressure, heart rate, and other bodily functions, giving you a live report. With this information and the help of a biofeedback therapist, you learn to control these things happening in your body and can learn to minimize the pain and the conditions that trigger pain.
Relaxation, hypnosis, and guided imagery
Learning to relax not only relieves the anxiety and fear associated with mesothelioma, but it can also relieve pain by releasing the muscle tension. It can also make people with reduced lung capacity more comfortable because of the effect that relaxation has on your breathing. Hypnosis can help you reach a state of deep relaxation. Guided imagery helps you relax by changing your state of mind, like watching a movie but far more powerful.
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