At-Home Treatments for Cancer Pain
In addition to conventional medical treatments for cancer pain, such as pain medications, several at-home treatment options can also help reduce pain. At-home treatments include relaxation techniques, distraction techniques, temperature therapy, and aromatherapy.
Relaxation techniques such as rhythmic breathing can reduce tension and ease anxiety, which can help relieve pain. It may be helpful to practice relaxation techniques while waiting for pain medications to take effect.
Distraction techniques involve intentionally focusing on something other than pain, such as reading a good book, watching television, or listening to music. Distraction can also be used while waiting for pain medications to start working.
The use of a heating pad can help relax muscles and reduce pain while the application of ice packs or cold compresses can reduce inflammation and help relieve nerve pain. Alternating between heat and cold may provide the most pain relief. Individuals who are receiving chemotherapy or radiation should check with their physician before trying temperature therapy.
Self-massage or massage from a family member or friend may reduce pain. It can be performed on or near the painful area but should be avoided on areas treated by radiation or areas of the body that are red, raw, or swollen. Massage can be light and gentle or can be performed with deeper pressure.
Aromatherapy involves the use of fragrant oils, such as lavender and tea tree oil. Aromatherapy may help ease stress, reduce pain, and relieve nausea. Oils can be diffused into the air, used during massage, or added to bath water; however, a medical professional should be consulted before applying oils to the skin.
Music therapy involves listening to music, playing an instrument, or singing. Music therapy may help relieve nausea and reduce pain.
These at-home treatments can be used alone to help relieve mild to moderate pain or can be used in addition to pain medications to help reduce moderate to severe pain.