One of the most common cancer side effects is chronic pain. If it lasts up to 6 months and then goes away it is an acute pain, perhaps from an injury. Chronic pain is pain which lasts for more than 6 months; it is often debilitating and will change the quality of daily life. As independence is lost due to chronic pain, depression may follow. Different people have different pain thresholds. The spread of cancer and treatments, such as surgery, can both cause chronic pain. Once a lengthy treatment is over or a surgical site has healed, any lingering pain is chronic pain.
When damage to the nerves is permanent, chronic pain may occur. Many individuals experience chronic pain during and after cancer and its treatment. Headaches, as well as lower and upper back pain, are common symptoms. Some experience pain from nerve, joint, soft tissue or bone damage. Some experience chronic pain in their digestive system which may stem from the radiation therapy or other drugs which can affect the digestive system over time. Chronic pain may last years after the cancer is removed and treatments are completed since they can cause significant damage.
Complementary therapies such as Tai Chi, Yoga and Qigong, have helped people reduce chronic pain with gentle and modified stretching, intensive deep breathing practices from various eastern philosophies, and various methods of meditations: sitting, standing or moving. Sometimes, a combination of pain medications and mind-body work is the temporary solution for pain. With increasingly successful practice, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your pain medications with your doctor’s supervision.