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Cancer pain is usually caused by tumors putting pressure on nerves, organs, and bones. Cancer also harms surrounding tissue and can even release irritating chemicals in the area surrounding the tumor.
Another indirect cause of cancer pain can result from the very treatment used to solve the problem; certain types of chemotherapy drugs can cause the extremities to tingle or become numb, skin irritation and discoloration can result from radiotherapy, and burning sensations can result in the area where a drug has been injected. Of course, there’s also the pain resulting from surgery.
Cancer pain treatment in Pocatello can be found at Pain & Spine Specialists of Idaho. At our clinic, you will find doctors and resources that can help you manage your pain and improve your quality of life.
Types & Locations of Cancer Pain
There are different factors that contribute to how your cancer pain manifests: the form of cancer you have, the stage of the cancer, and your own personal level of pain tolerance, to name a few.
Cancer pain can be broken down into 2 basic categories:
- Acute pain: This is the kind of sudden, sharp pain that arises immediately after an injury. It subsides over time as the injury heals.
- Chronic pain: This is prolonged pain that continues even after the injury has healed. Chronic pain usually results from nerve damage. When cancer is involved, the cause is usually the result of the tumor putting pressure on the nerves, chemical damage from the tumor, or a combination of both. Nerve damage from cancer treatment itself also can’t be ruled out.
By providing cancer pain treatment in Pocatello, we can help keep your pain levels as low as possible. We’ve seen patients with pain in various areas of the body as a result of cancer. This pain can take many forms, including:
- Nerve pain: Also referred to as “neuropathic pain”, nerve pain is usually caused by nerve damage or from pressure on the nerves and/or spinal cord. Nerve pain is usually experienced as a shooting, burning, tingling, or crawling sensation. When nerve pain is the result of spinal cord compression, it’s usually experienced as back and/or neck pain ranging from mild to severe.
- Bone pain: Cancer can spread into bone tissue and cause damage. The resulting pain is usually a dull, aching, throbbing sensation.
- Referred pain: Pain in one area of the body can be transferred to another area. This is due to the structure of nerve pathways – a swollen liver can cause the right shoulder to hurt because it is pressing on nerves that end in the shoulder.
- Phantom pain: This form of pain is still mysterious for doctors, as it is pain associated with an organ or part of the body that has been removed. Some theorize that despite the “thinking section” of the brain knowing an area of the body is missing, the “feeling section” has yet to catch up. This is an affliction that affects over 50% of people who undergo surgery in which an arm or leg are removed and about ⅓ of women who get a mastectomy experience phantom breast pain following surgery. Phantom pain is not just “in your head” – it is 100% real and something our Pocatello pain doctors take very seriously.
- Surgical pain: Many hospitals where cancer surgeries are performed do not have an effective solution for long-term pain beyond pain-killing medication. If you’ve had surgery for cancer and need cancer pain treatment in Pocatello, we can provide it.
- Pain as a side-effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment: One of the most common side-effects of chemotherapy is peripheral neuropathy, a condition in which damaged nerves cause feelings of numbness, tingling, and burning in the extremities. There is even a term for this when it specifically results from chemotherapy – chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Mouth sores (stomatitis or mucositis) can also be caused by chemotherapy, making it difficult to eat, drink, or speak. Direct exposure to radiation can also cause skin burns and scarring.
There are many ways we can treat the pain listed above at our Pocatello pain management clinic. Possible treatments include:
- The injection of medication that blocks nerves from sending pain signals to the brain
- Physical therapy
You don’t have to live with chronic cancer pain. If your quality of life has diminished, we can help you recover it. Contact us for cancer pain treatment in Pocatello today.