When you are fighting cancer, being able to control pain empowers you to persevere through a scary and often debilitating illness. Working in tandem with your oncologist and primary physician, Center for Pain Management is on your side, giving you much needed quality of life throughout the ordeal.
We are here to make you stronger, because effective pain management relieves depression, improves sleep, and helps your immune system fight cancer better.
The body is loaded with pain receptors. When cancer – and especially chemotherapy – pressures the nerve, it in turn pressures the organs, which stimulates that pain receptor, which enacts a chemical reaction that sends information about that pain through the nerve ending, to the spinal cord, through the lateral spinal spinothalamic tract, and finally to the brain. The brain processes this information and sends it back. That’s why you feel pain.
Your oncologist will work towards helping decrease the cancer cells by treating the disease. In the course of treatment, however, pain management is oversimplified and often problematic. It may consist of an oral medication, morphine, or other narcotic medications. Other times, medication may be administered intravenously.
There is, however, a world of difference between pain managed by an oncologist and pain managed by an interventional pain specialist.
As interventional pain specialists, we consider the fact that if we can get the medicine to the right place or block the nerve where it is affected, it results in minute amounts of medicine given exactly where we need it. that is what we are all about.
When pain medication is given orally or through an IV, it goes through directly to the digestive system, then travels through the blood and various other places on its way to the brain. this results in more side effects, including nausea, headache, dizziness, or drowsiness. But when you put medicine in the correct places, such as directly into the spinal canal, the effect may be 300 times greater and may include smaller doses.
What kind of pain is typically associated with cancer? Well, that depends on where the cancer is. Breast cancer patients who have undergone a mastectomy and chemo or radiation therapy will find those procedures affect the nerve most likely in the chest wall area, with pain radiating to the arm. Sometimes, if the cancer metastasizes in the bones or spinal canal, then it can affect the spinal cord area and the nerve root. Every patient is different, and we treat them according to their specific physical symptoms and corresponding physical exam.
Our job means working with your oncologist and primary physician in order to address problems with chronic pain or cancer pain and to ensure that we examine those areas to see where the pain is coming from, be it the nerve or other somatic fibers, and then treat that accordingly.
We can block the nerve exactly where the cancer is affecting, and we can put morphine directly into the spinal canal area and see how effective it is. Ultimately, it can mean a lot less medication, while concurrently improving pain control. Quality of life improves, and patients can do a lot more activities while managing a potentially life altering disease.