A Holistic Approach to Minimizing Pain During Chemotherapy

While chemotherapy and radiation are the treatments people often associate with cancer, there are alternatives that help relieve their symptoms and can increase their quality of life. Creating a holistic approach to cancer treatment and pain management is essential for the patient.

It is important to work closely with a medical professional to determine an individualized treatment plan that addresses specific concerns.

Palliative care

Chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiation are considered palliative therapies. These are treatments designed to decrease pain and the suffering of the patient. Palliative care combines the treatment with improving the patient’s quality of life by addressing both the physical and emotional concerns of the patient.

These treatments, such as chemotherapy, are used to target and kill cancer cells. However, it also may attack and kill healthy cells, thereby creating painful side effects. 

Managing pain during chemotherapy

Alternative treatments help to reduce the symptoms caused by cancer and chemotherapy. Here are a few suggestions:

Acupuncture

Acupuncture may help to control pain and minimize the need for pain medications and their side effects. Some pain medications may cause confusion and nausea. As acupuncture may reduce the need for those medications, it indirectly reduces confusion and nausea as well.

Before adding acupuncture to a pain management plan, a doctor needs to be consulted. Acupuncture is unsafe while taking blood thinners or when the patient’s blood count is low.

Exercise

Exercise should be low-impact and gentle on the patient’s body. Walking, yoga and tai chi are excellent options that help reduce fatigue and stress as well as improve sleep. Before beginning any new exercise program, consult a doctor who can direct you towards using an instructor or program designed for patients with cancer.

Massage

Use a licensed massage therapist who has experience with people with cancer. Massage helps to release muscle tension and stress. It may help reduce pain and relieve anxiety and fatigue as well. The type and intensity of the massage will depend on the type and severity of the cancer, surgical scars and treatment areas. Be sure to communicate clearly with the massage therapist and let them know if you experience pain during the massage. The point is to relax and let go of the stress that comes with cancer and cancer treatment.

Are there alternatives to chemotherapy?

A cancer diagnosis can leave the patient feeling as though there are little options beyond chemotherapy. Be sure to talk with your doctor to see if any alternatives could work for your specific case.

Surgery

An early diagnosis followed by surgery is the best treatment for the removal of solid tumors and has the highest chance of a cure. If not detected early, if the surgery is unsuccessful or if the tumor comes back after removal there are other options.

Try the holistic approach

It is important to treat the whole mind, body and soul while fighting cancer. Every part of you is affected by the disease and every part of you deserves attentive care.

Request an appointment here: https://lindenbergcancer.com or call Lindenberg Cancer & Hematology Center at (856) 475-0876 for an appointment in our Marlton office.

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