Get to Know the Interventional Techniques Used to Manage Cancer Pain

Cancer patients may experience Austin cancer pain as a side effect of treatment methods. Cancer could destroy surrounding tissue, or a tumor may press on organs, bones, and nerves, causing discomfort. The pain intensity varies from patient to patient depending on different factors such as the type of cancer, stage, where it is located, and your pain tolerance. People experience the pain differently, some as a sharp burning sensation or a dull and achy feeling. Whether the pain is mild or severe and affects your productivity, your doctor may recommend the following interventional pain management methods for treatment.

Nerve blocks

This treatment method involves injections containing local anesthesia, sometimes mixed with steroids to block nerve pain. The medication is injected around the nerve or into the epidural space to offer short or long-term relief from pain. For lasting results, your specialist may inject phenol or alcohol. Nerve blocks may benefit patients with abdominal abnormalities such as pancreatic cancer. Sedation is administered before injection to keep the patient relaxed during the process. The doctor uses imaging tests like x-ray and CT scans as a guide to direct the needle in the right place. Some patients may experience diarrhea after treatment, which subsides after a couple of days.

Medication management

Cancer care teams use drugs like opioids for patients with severe pain from cancer or treatment methods such as radiation therapy. Examples of opioids used in cancer pain management include Tramadol, Morphine, Methadone, and Hydromorphone. These drugs should only be used upon prescription and for short periods to avoid drug tolerance. The common side effects associated with opioids include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and dizziness. As your body adjusts to the medicine, mild side effects like nausea and vomiting usually disappear with no treatment.

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is an effective treatment for chronic pain as it offers relief from pain for several months and sometimes years. It involves using energy to heat a part of nerve tissue, interfering with transferring pain signals to the brain. Intravenous medication helps patients relax before treatment. Just like nerve blocks, an x-ray ensures the doctor guides the needle in the right place. You may feel some pressure as the doctor inserts the needle but not the pain. It is rare for complications to occur during and after radiofrequency ablation. The temporary side effects reported by previous patients include bruising and swelling at the incision site.

Spinal Injections

Spinal or intrathecal injections are typically used to relieve pain after surgery but can be used for cancer patients with severe pain. An anesthesiologist administers the injection around your spinal cord. If you experience relief from pain, your doctor may recommend surgery to put a small pump in your body to gradually deliver medicine into the spinal fluid. The medication used for this injection – morphine, can result in side effects such as constipation and itching.

If the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy are a source of chronic pain. Reserve a session with your doctor at Republic Spine and Pain for treatment to improve your quality of life.