When you experience pain, a signal is sent to your brain to tell you that something is wrong with your body. This is useful when you’ve just put your hand on a hot stove, but when you already know what’s wrong with you, continuing pain can just make you feel tired, frustrated and angry.
People with cancer may have to deal with different kinds of pain. Some may come from the cancer itself, while other pain may result from necessary tests or treatments. Sometimes the pain associated with cancer or its treatment is more frightening than the cancer itself – but it doesn’t have to be. There are many good ways you can control and reduce the pain you may experience.
Managing your pain is part of your cancer treatment plan and it should be taken seriously. Here are some pointers:
- Don’t hesitate to tell your healthcare team that you’re having pain. Don’t tough it out, and don’t wait for it to get worse.
- Describe the pain to your caregivers as accurately as you can.
- Rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10.
- Keep a pain diary. This will help you keep track of specifics like:
- When the pain occurs
- Whether it is present all the time or only in short bursts
- Whether it is affected by exercise, what you ate or some other factor
- What makes your pain better or worse
- What effect it has on your daily activities
- Exercise, sleep and rest, and good nutrition may also help you manage your pain.
Complementary therapies are also available, such as acupuncture, massage therapy and hypnosis. Some complementary therapies are covered by insurance plans.
Please speak to your healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.