One of the most effective cancer pain treatment options is to target the spinal cord. This is commonly done by using spinal cord injections. The spinal cord relays pain signals from the source of the pain to the brain. Spinal cord injections are minimally invasive and work by injecting an anesthetic that prevents the transmission of pain signals within the spinal cord. Many patients find significant improvement in the severity of their pain after a spinal block. Some patients have experienced total relief from pain and discomfort as a result.
Opioid medications may also be used to help relieve cancer pain. These medications reduce pain by activating the opioid receptors within the spine. These receptors block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. There are many different options and forms of pain medications that can be tried, especially if the patient needs to maintain a daily routine. There are many options and combinations for patients based on the severity of the pain and the source of pain.
Sometimes the cancer cells invade bone structures within the body. When this occurs, patients generally report a dull ache in the bones. Cancer pain that occurs as a result of bone damage from the tumor is generally regarded as the most severe form of cancer pain.
Cancer-related tests, treatments, and surgery can also create aches and pains. Common pain caused by cancer treatments include:
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Peripheral neuropathy (numbness or pins and needles in hands and feet)
- Mucositis (painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes that line the entire digestive tract)
- Stomach pain
Infections that develop within the cancerous tumor have been found to cause a rapid onset of severe pain. Cancer pain related to tumor infection can be frequently overlooked.