Not all forms of cancer or cancer treatment cause pain. If pain occurs, many treatments are available to relieve it. Talk with your doctor before you take any non-prescription medicines, especially if you have a fever or have had kidney or liver disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, or a stomach ulcer. If your doctor has given you instructions or medicines to treat pain, be sure to follow them. Home treatment may help to reduce pain and improve your physical and mental well-being.
For more information, see the topic Cancer Pain.
Try an over-the-counter medicine to help treat your pain:
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use an over-the-counter medicine:
Other home treatments for pain include:
- Heat and cold packs, to relieve painful areas of the body. Do not use heat or cold on skin that is tender from radiation treatment.
- Distraction, which can help you focus your attention on something other than pain. Distraction also can be useful whenever you are waiting for pain medicines to start working.
- Stretching and range-of-motion exercises, to maintain strength, flexibility, and mobility.
- Simple touch or gentle massage may help. But avoid getting a massage where you have any visible tumours, open wounds, skin that is tender from radiation, or areas with deep vein thrombosis. If you are caring for someone else who has pain, you may be able to help them relax by:
- Holding the person's hand. Or gently rubbing their shoulders.
- Rubbing the person's feet with warmed lotion.
- Giving him or her a 3-minute back rub using smooth, long, gentle strokes along both sides of the spine.
You may wish to try one of the alternative therapies listed below. Be sure to talk with your doctor about which therapies might be best for you. Some of these treatments require a specialist (like acupuncture). But you can learn to do others by yourself (such as relaxation techniques). For more information, see the topic Complementary Medicine.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Michael S. Rabin, MD - Medical Oncology
Jimmy Ruiz, MD - Medical Oncology, Hematology