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Cancer: Home Treatment for Pain

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Cancer: Home Treatment for Pain

Overview

Home treatment may help to reduce cancer pain and improve your physical and mental well-being. Talk to your doctor about any home treatment you may use.

Heat and cold.

Heat and cold treatments can help with mild to moderate pain from cancer. Talk to your doctor before trying either heat or cold during chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Gentle massage.

Simple touch or gentle massage may help reduce pain and ease tension. Avoid massage in any areas where you have visible tumors, open wounds, skin that is tender from radiation, or a blood clot in a vein.

Distraction.

Distraction can help you focus your attention on something other than pain. This may make the pain easier to handle.

Physical activity.

Physical activity can help reduce pain and fatigue. It can also can help with your emotional and mental health. Talk to your doctor before you increase your level of activity.

Medicines

Many different medicines are used to treat cancer pain. Over-the-counter medicines may relieve your pain at times. But you may need stronger medicines that your doctor prescribes. These may be used alone or with other medicines.

Over-the-counter pain relievers.

These include:

Talk with your doctor before you take these medicines. Don't take more than the label says unless your doctor tells you to.

Prescription medicines.

These include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines and steroid medicines.
  • Medicines to treat bone pain.
  • Opioid pain relievers.
  • Antidepressants. They can relieve pain and help you sleep.
  • Certain seizure medicines. They help control nerve pain.

These medicines may be stronger or work differently than over-the-counter medicines. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions when you take these medicines.

Some may work better than others. It depends on the type of pain you have.

Other treatments

Some people use other treatments along with medical treatment to relieve symptoms and help them cope with cancer pain.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may help you manage cancer pain or the pain from cancer treatments.

Integrative practices are helpful for some people with cancer pain. Some examples of these practices include acupuncture, massage, and relaxation exercises. Ask your doctor if you think you might want to try one of these.

Credits

Current as of: October 25, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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