Cancer Pain Reliever and Other Ways to Relieve It

Almost all cancer patients feel pain. This can be part of the symptoms of cancer, as well as a side effect of the treatment being undertaken. The pain can come on suddenly, last a short time, or last longer. Don't worry, there are various ways to deal with it, such as taking cancer painkillers. This method is quite effective in treating cancer surgery wounds. Apart from that, is there any other way?

Painkillers for cancer patients

In addition to a tired body, pain is a common complaint for cancer patients. The pain that arises is very diverse ranging from numbness, aches, burning, and pain like being stabbed with sharp objects.

The appearance of pain can indicate that cancer cells are growing, spreading, and destroying the surrounding healthy tissue.

Abnormal cells that accumulate in the form of cancerous tumors grow in size, pressing on nerves, bones, or nearby organs. These tumors can also release chemicals that cause the body to react in the form of pain.

Apart from the cancer itself, pain can also appear as a side effect of treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. How severe the pain is usually depends on the type of cancer you have, the stage of the cancer, the location of the cancer, and how much the patient can tolerate the pain.

Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D., a cancer specialist from the Mayo Clinic, says that taking painkillers is one surefire way to deal with it.

Cancer pain relievers without a doctor's prescription

There are several pain relievers that you can buy without a prescription. However, you still need to consult your doctor before taking any medication while on cancer therapy, especially if you have a fever, have kidney and/or liver disease, or have digestive system disorders (especially ulcers).

Medicines that you can buy over-the-counter at the nearest warung or drug store, to treat mild to moderate pain, are:

  • You are advised to choose paracetamol (acetaminophen) as the first choice. This medication is used to relieve mild to moderate pain such as backache, headache, or fever. Paracetamol rarely causes side effects, such as nausea, headaches, and insomnia.
  • If paracetamol is not effective enough, cancer patients can use NSAID pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. Like acetaminophen, NSAIDs can relieve pain as well as inflammation. However, this drug can cause stomach acid disorders.

Cancer pain relievers with a doctor's prescription

Sometimes, pain caused by cancer treatment requires a stronger dose of medication, such as opiate pain relievers (fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, and tramadol). These hard drugs must be bought with a doctor's prescription. Be sure to follow the doctor's orders when taking these drugs, including the dosage and instructions for use.

Painkillers in cancer are given in different ways depending on the patient's condition. Generally, drugs are taken directly as usual by mouth, such as pills, capsules, tablets, and liquid drugs. Meanwhile, another way is to be injected under the skin into the tissue between the skin and muscle or if it is in the form of a cream then applied to the skin.

The above drugs can be prescribed separately or in combination with other drugs such as:

  • Anticolvulsants, help control nerve pain such as burning and tingling.
  • Antidepressants, relieve pain and help you to sleep.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids, eg prednisone or dexamethasone.
  • Bisphosphonates, such as pamidronate and zoledronic acid, to treat bone pain.
  • Local anesthetic, such as a skin cream with capsaicin or lidocaine to help relieve pain in the skin and surrounding tissues.

The combination of painkillers for cancer and each dose will be determined by the doctor based on the severity of the symptoms. The rules of use will be planned as tightly as possible to avoid interactions between drugs that may be fatal.

Do not change or stop the dose of medication suddenly without your doctor's knowledge. If after that you still feel pain, contact your doctor for further examination.

Alternative treatments other than taking pain medication

Apart from taking medication, there are many alternative treatments that can help cancer patients reduce their pain, such as:

1. Acupuncture

In addition to taking pain medication, cancer patients can also choose acupuncture. This alternative medicine is done by inserting needles into certain pathways or meridians in the body.

According to Cancer Research UK, studies show that acupuncture works by stimulating the nerves so that the body releases endorphins in the spinal cord and brain. Endorphins can then provide a pain-reducing effect.

Acupuncture also stimulates the body to release serotonin, a hormone that makes you feel happy so that pain can be reduced. Both of these effects can certainly help cancer patients reduce pain and fatigue.

2. Treatment of cancer surgery scars

Taking good care of surgical scars is a way to relieve cancer pain. The reason is, if left unchecked pain and even infection can occur. The National Health Service provides tips on caring for wounds and speeding up the recovery process after cancer surgery below.

  • Take the pain reliever prescribed by the doctor. After about 20 minutes, the pain will subside.
  • It is important that you avoid blood clots, so you should move as soon as possible. It doesn't need to be anything complicated, it's just as simple as stretching your knees or ankles and wiggling the soles of your feet.
  • Keep the surgical wound clean and dry to avoid infection. Do not rub or rub the incision, as this will make the condition worse.
  • Avoid removing sutures, staples, plasters, or surgical glue yourself without your doctor's permission. If the wound feels itchy, itchy reliever medication to the doctor. If you are bleeding at the incision site, press on the wound for at least five minutes with a clean tissue or towel.

3. Do relaxation therapy

Another option if you don't want to take cancer painkillers is to take relaxation therapy. Try sitting or lying down in a comfortable place. Then, close your eyes and catch your breath while thinking about something you enjoy.

In fact, you can also play CDs with melodies that make you calm and peaceful. This method is quite effective in relieving mild body aches. In addition, it also helps cancer patients sleep better and reduce anxiety.

4. Compress with cold or warm water

Moderate pain, can be overcome with treatment without cancer painkillers. The trick is to place a hot or hot compress, or use a hotpack sold at pharmacies. Apply a compress or hot pack to the painful area. Let stand for 5-10 minutes and remove the compress or hotpack.

But for those of you who undergo radiation therapy, avoid using this hot and cold therapy. Likewise, when you are going to or after chemotherapy, ask your doctor first. Also avoid using hot compresses on areas that have open wounds.

If you're thinking about using a cream that contains menthol, make sure to check with your doctor first. The reason, this cream can provide bad side effects on certain medications.

5. Give massage or pressure

The pain can be in the form of a headache. If a cancer patient wants to get over this without taking pain medication, try massaging your head. You can massage in slow, circular motions with or without lotion/oil.

Alternatively, you can also use a special vibrator that is placed on the head or body to reduce pain. However, if you have recently had radiotherapy, avoid massaging, pressing, or using a vibrator on areas of skin that are red and swollen.

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