Cancer Pain in Texas

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What is Cancer Pain?

Most of the pain experienced by cancer patients is from the cancer itself as it spreads to organs, bones, or nerves. In addition, cancer treatments themselves can cause pain. In either case, the pain associated with cancer can be relieved with medicine and other treatments. Taking care of pain is important to the quality of life for cancer patients and should be a part of good cancer care. Pain relief will help cancer patients feel stronger and better able to cope with their disease and its treatments.

There are varying types and causes of cancer pain that may require pain management treatment. Cancer pain can also be either acute (most often caused by a surgical procedure) or chronic (typically due to damaged nerves). No matter what, it is essential to seek care for your pain to identify the underlying cause. At Tricity Pain Associates, our team of pain management specialists offers innovative treatments to help alleviate cancer pain. A series of tests and imaging exams may be conducted to rule out any other possible cause of your pain. To learn more about receiving care for your cancer pain, contact one of our Texas pain management facilities to schedule your initial consultation.

Chemotherapy Neuropathy

Chemotherapy neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy (injury to the nerves that give messages to and from the brain and spinal cord) that is due to the medications involved in chemotherapy. Patients undergoing chemotherapy who already suffer from peripheral neuropathy are at the greatest risk of developing this. Symptoms include numbness, pins and needles sensation, burning pain, and weakness. Any area of the body can be affected but the fingers and toes are the most common. Treatment includes protection of the area affected, use of B vitamins, physical therapy, TENS units, biofeedback, and medications such as analgesics, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications.

Radiation Neuropathy

Radiation neuropathy is the development of peripheral neuropathy in patients who have undergone radiation therapy as the radiation caused damage to the peripheral nerves. Symptoms include numbness, pins and needles sensation, burning pain, and weakness. Treatment includes protection of the area affected, use of B vitamins, physical therapy, TENS units, biofeedback, and medications such as analgesics, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications.

Implantable Pump Therapy

In patients with cancer pain or intractable chronic pain that is not responsive to oral medications, injections, or surgery, an implantable pump that delivers medication into the spinal canal may be used. Our company uses Medtronic equipment for all implantable pumps. The pump consists of a small reservoir and battery that is implanted into the posterior hip and a catheter that connects to the reservoir and is inserted into the area around the spinal cord (intrathecal space) where it delivers the medication. The perks of the system are that only a very small amount of medication is used in comparison to oral medications because of where the medicine is delivered. The pump is programmable to increase or decrease the amount of medication delivered and is fully reversible, that is, the system can be taken out completely if desired. The medications used can be opioid pain medication, anesthetic to help numb the pain, antispasmodics for muscle spasms, and medications for nerve pain. Typically, a combination of these medications is used. Depending on how much medicine is delivered per day will determine how often the pump will need to be refilled. Refills are performed in the office by our trained staff. This treatment therapy is an excellent choice for patients who want better control of their pain without increasing their oral pain medication doses.

Pumps may also be used for spasticity such as in Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and spasticity resulting from either brain or spinal cord injury. The medication used is Baclofen, a muscle relaxant that helps decrease muscular rigidity.

Symptoms of Cancer Pain

The exact symptoms of cancer pain can be dependent on the area that is affected and the type of pain but can typically include:

  • Pain when resting or doing non-physical activities
  • Pain in an area that has been removed from the body (phantom pain)
  • Discomfort when sleeping or the inability to sleep due to pain
  • Being unable to complete normal day-to-day tasks without pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches

To properly diagnose the type and area of cancer pain, we will perform a number of diagnostic tests and physical exams prior to providing treatment. We also need to rule out any other possible causes of the pain to ensure there are no additional complications.

What Causes Cancer Pain?

Cancer pain can occur in a bone, nerve, or soft tissue. Additionally, it could also be phantom pain in which a patient feels pain in an area that has been removed from the body, such as with mastectomy where breast tissue is removed. In all instances, the cancer is the main cause of the pain, but the intensity of the pain may be dependent on the type and stage of cancer. In some cases, pain can increase following a procedure that may have been performed to remove the cancerous cells. With spinal cancer, pain may occur in the back due to the tumor putting pressure on the spinal cord.

There are many factors that can contribute to cancer pain, and our team of pain management experts will work to understand your symptoms and cause of cancer pain for more accurate treatment options.

Treatment for Cancer Pain

Treatment for cancer pain will vary, depending on the patient, type of pain, and intensity of pain. In most cases, medication or therapeutic remedies may be first recommended to ease the pain. In more severe cases of pain, injection procedures may be utilized to reduce swelling and discomfort. A nerve block procedure can also be effective in treating pain that is caused by nerve damage. At Tricity Pain Associates, we work with you to help you understand your treatment options and provide all necessary aftercare instructions for the best possible results. During follow-up appointments, we may also make any needed adjustments to your treatment plan as necessary.

Reduce Cancer Pain

A cancer diagnosis is already a lot to deal with, and you shouldn’t also have to worry about managing acute or chronic pain. At Tricity Pain Associates, we create customized treatment plans for your specific needs in order to eliminate pain. Contact one of our Texas pain management facilities to learn more and to schedule a consultation with one of our experts.

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