Depending on your cancer, you may or may not experience pain. But if you do experience pain, don't hesitate to seek relief because uncontrolled pain can lead to anxiety and depression, decreased mobility and potentially more hospital admissions. You should not have to tolorate any pain and many things can be done to help to manage your pain.
Take your medications on time. A key to keeping pain under control is to take the prescribed dose before the pain starts and regularly thereafter. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist should be able to help with any concerns.
Remember to find out if you should avoid taking other substances with your medications. It pays to carefully read the information that comes with each medication so you and those around you can be alert to its strength and potential side-effects, such as extreme drowsiness.
Pain and other symptoms can often seem worse when other things are worrying you. For instance, if you are feeling depressed, anxious, lonely or afraid, call on your health care team to help you deal with these feelings, as they may be contributing to your pain.
Being relaxed reduces muscle spasms, encourages sleep and can help other pain treatments work. A psychologist or other health professional can help you with relaxation techniques or point out places you may learn them, such as community meditation classes.
Using a combination of pain relief medication and alternative pain relief methods can be quite successful in helping reduce pain intensity.
Massage may help you relax, and hot or cold packs can relieve pain, as can techniques such as acupuncture and TENS (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation). You should ask your doctor, physiotherapist or nurse about which of these methods is most appropriate for you.
Patients and caregivers often report not having enough information about pain management and do not feel competent enough to administer medications. Here is what you can do:
Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.Last updated 30 August 2015