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Cancer Pain & Other Pain

  • Somatic Pain
  • Visceral Pain
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Centeral Pain
  • How Tumors Cause Pain:

    • Inflammation
    • Pain from Tissues & Organs
    • Bone Pain

  • Herb Therapies for Pain:

    • Herbal & Natural Pain Remedies
    • Mental & Emotional Pain Remedies
    • Remedies for Joint Problems & Bone Pain
    • Nausea & Vomit Supplements

  • Physical Therapies for Pain
    • Exercises
    • Positioning & Movement
    • Massage & Vibration
    • Ice & Heat
    • Acupunture
  • Nerve Blocks for Pain
  • Blocks for Sympathetical Pain
  • Nerve Destruction Procedures

  • Healing Music:

    Reiki Healing Instruction
    Chakra Healing Meditation

    Taking Control of Your Pain

    If you are in pain and know relief is available somewhere, then how should you go about getting it? One way, of course, is to have your oncologist refer you to a pain treatment center. There are one or two such centers in almost every medium to large city. For most cancer patients, a pain center is not absolutely neccessary, however. Most oncologiests and other cancer specialists already know a lot about treating pain. If a paitient can help them understand what is causing his pain, they can probably treat it more effectively. They ar also usually willing to try new medications and treatments when someone suggests them.
    many people simply tell their doctors,"It hurts, make it stop." Unfortunately, that's about as helpful as saying,"I have cancer, remove it." If the doctor doesn't know where the cancer is located, what type of cancer it is, and a lot of other things, she can't treat it well. We believe that the more you know about your pain, what is causing it, the effects it has on your body, and what can be done about it, the more likely you are to help your doctor stop the pain. In the case of pain, knowledge really is power: the power to suggest and receive the treatments that are most likely to help you.
    That sounds simple, but it's not a simple task. Most people (including health care professional) don't know very much about pain and know even less about how to stop pain. For that reason, we've included a lot of information about why pain occurs and the many different causes of pain. If you have cancer and are hurting right now. You want to know what you can do today to make your pain better right now.
    There are a few shortcuts you might rake to speed things up, at least at first. If your pain medicine isn't working very well or is causing side effects. That will give you some immediate information about alternative medications that you might suggest to your doctor.
    Sooner or later, though, if you really want to understand why you hurt and find the best possible ways to stop hurting, you should read more in other parts.

    What Causes Pain

    How the Body Senses Pain -- by David van Alatine,M.D.

    Pain is one of the most feared aspects of cancer. Many people believe that cancer always causes terrible pain that their doctors will not be able to treat effectively. It is true that many cancer patients do experience pain, and in some causes the pain is severe. However, cancer pain can almost always be treated and controlled effectively.
    In order to understand the best ways to treat any particlar pain, it's important to appreciate how the body sense pain. Many people have the tric circuit; if you turn on the "pain" switch somewhere in the body, a "pain" light turns on in the brain. Actually, the pain-sensing system of the body is quite complex. Many factors modify the pain signals, either amplifying or reducing the amount of pain that is actually registered by the brain.
    One way to think of the body's machinery for sensing and processing pain is to compare it to the telephone system. The phone system allows you to simply punch in a few numbers and talk to a friend in the complicated things that must happen to call Miami from Dallas, just drink. We just want things to work correctly. When there is a problem with a phone call, however, it is important to understand how the system is organized. Otherwise, we would never know whether the problem is a broken phone, loose wiring in the house, a telephone pole knocked over by the wind, or a major failure of he telecommunication network.
    The treatment of any problem, whether we are discussing telephones in the home or the pain-trasmitting system in the body, depends a great deal on where the problem is located and what caused it. When your big toe is hurting, the doctor must determine if the problem is actually in the toe, in the nerves running down the leg, in the spine, or somewhere up in the brain. Just because you feel pain in your big toe does not always mean the actual problem is in the big toe.
    In order to understand how the body's nerve network works and how it relates to cancer pain, it is useful to divide the pain system into three divisions: peripheral(out in the tissue) pain sensors, spinal cord processing of the pain message, and the brain's interpretation of the message. Once we have discussed how the nervous system sends a pain message (and it is much more compliced than most people think), we can discuss the ways that the nervous system modifies the pain signal.

    What Is the Difference Between Pain and Suffering

    The way the conscious brain senses nerve signals from the body is a lot like how a car radio picks up music. The various radio stations are always sending out a signal that carries the music, but you only hear something if you turn on your radio, adjust the volumem and tune in no one of the stations. The radio amplifies and modifies the radio waves into electrical signals that produce sound from the speakers. Becuse pain is so important a message, it can break through on any station, but the brain must be turned on and listening to get the message to the conscious mind. Pain consists not only of the signal the brain receives, but also the brain's own amplification of the signal and any mental or emotional reaction to the painful signal.
    Before going further, it is important to discuss the differences between sensing pain out in the body, feeling pain in the brain, and experiencing suffering. Sensing pain in the body requires sensors to detect that something damaging is happening and nerves to transmit the pain signal to the brain. This part of pain perception is called nociception. Nociception includes not only sending the signal from an injured part of the body, but also any amplification or changes in the signal that occur as it travels through the signal cord and brainstem.
    The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), a group of health professional and scientists with an interest in pain and its treatment, recognizes that there is more to pain than nociception. The group has worked for many years attempting to understand and define the other aspects of pain. They have recognized that although pain is something that all people have experienced to some degree, it is difficelt to describe and define. In other words, it does not really mean anything to say that "pain hurts." According to the definitions of the IASP, pain is both a sensory and an emotional experience. The sensory experience is what we just called nociception; the emotional experience, although definitely persent, remains harder to define. Often, we refer to the emotional aspect of pain as suffering.
    The actual sensations and effects of pain depend strongly on the individual who experiences it and the exact dircumstnaces. We know that different people have different pain thresholds; somme have a high tolerance to pain and some a low tolerance. For many years, it was thought that this difference in pain tolerance might might be due to how strongly the pain signal was sent to the brain. However, we now know that when a group of people receive the same painful stimulation in a laboratory, there is very little variation in the signal that reaches each person's brain. What does vary between individuals is the perosn's conscious and unconscious reaction to the pain.
    For example, if a man being tested for pain tolerance is being watched by a woman, he will tolerate more pain than if he is alone. Our culture promotes the idea that men need to be though to be "real men." Some families strongly reward members with attention and pampering even for very small complaints, reinforcing the tolerating even a small idea that tolerating even a small degree of pain is unnecessary. Other families give negative reinforcement to members who complain of pain, teaching them that they should not complain. We learn these ideas about pain as children, and they stay with us when we are adults.
    Each individual will also have a variation in his own pain tolerance at different times. During periods of high anxiety and stress, a person unsually has a lower tolerance to pain. This is especially true if there is a period of anticiptation, knowing that a painful thing is going to happen. On the reverse side, a person may be so preoccupied with other aspects of a situation that pain is hardly felt. A soldier in battle trying to save his friends may suffer a severe injury without experiencing pain.
    A person who has cancer usually is experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety that can change her tolerance to pain. In other words, she may experience more suffering from the same painful stimulation than she would at other times in her life. Even a minor pain might incapacitate such a person, who could ignore the same pain at other times. For example, a cancer patient who knows that the aching in his chest is caused by cancer spreading to a rib may have far more suffering than does a person who just had a major surgical procedure that cured his cancer.
    Suffering and pain, although they often occur together, are separate issues. Grief, fear, anger, and depression can all cause suffering without causing pain. Childbirth may be very painful, but is usually not experienced as suffering. How much we suffer from pain will depend on things like our culture, our childhood experiences, our expectations, and the meaning we place on the pain. For this reason, a doctor needs to treat all patients individually and tailor a treatment plan for each person. At the same time, each patient may need to look at his own past and expectations to see how these contribute tp the suffering he experiences with his pain.