Along with nausea, poor appetite, and severe fatigue, pain is one of the main reasons people with cancer seek out natural therapies like acupuncture. In fact, over 65% of people with advanced cancers are likely to have some form of pain related to their diagnosis or treatment.
In most cases, oncologists will prescribe a prescription pain medication to help ease the pain. These may help to dull the sensation of pain but do nothing to address the root cause.
For those looking for a more holistic approach to managing their pain and other cancer symptoms, there’s good news: acupuncture and other natural therapies can help subdue your pain while also improving your body’s chances of healing and well-being from the root.
Let’s explore the complex world of cancer pain, and what you can do to find relief naturally.
What is Cancer Pain?
Cancer pain refers to the physical discomfort or sensation of pain experienced by individuals diagnosed with cancer. In fact, cancer pain is one of the most common symptoms for those newly diagnosed and in treatment.
What causes cancer pain?
Cancer pain can occur due to the cancer itself or as a side effect of cancer treatments. It varies greatly from person to person and can be influenced by various factors, including the type, stage, and location of the cancer. While some types of cancer are more commonly associated with pain (such as bone, pancreatic, or advanced-stage cancers), pain can occur in any type of cancer.
What does cancer pain feel like?
Cancer pain can manifest in different ways, ranging from a dull ache to pains that are burning, sharp, shooting, or tingling. It may be localized to the site of the tumor or can spread to other areas of the body.
In addition to physical discomfort, cancer pain also has emotional and psychological effects. This ongoing pain can be frustrating and scary, leading to anxiety, sleep issues, irritability, and anger.
How is cancer pain different from other types of pain?
As Dr. Ko explains, “We treat cancer the same as any other pain. Basically, any disease comes when the balance is broken in our body. “Balancing” is the basic principle of the treatment for all diseases.”
But, what sets cancer pain apart from other types of pain is how persistent it can be. It is often chronic and doesn’t change much in severity throughout the day or over time as other types of pain might.
How to Manage Cancer Pain Naturally
While conventional medical treatments can help manage cancer pain, you may be interested in exploring natural approaches to supplement your pain management regimen. Here are a few safe and effective ways to find relief naturally.
- Get Regular Acupuncture Treatments
Acupuncture is a research-backed therapy that can offer relief by stimulating specific points on the body to promote the body’s natural healing processes and alleviate pain. Most immediately, acupuncture causes the body to release endorphins and natural pain-killing chemicals that ease pain and promote relaxation.Acupuncture for cancer pain also balances the nervous system, which can become irritated by the tumor or cancer treatments and cause pain. By modulating the body’s nervous system, we can regulate pain signals and reduce nerve-related pain.
Cancer-related pain is often accompanied by inflammation in the affected tissues. Acupuncture has also been found to have anti-inflammatory effects by regulating the immune system and promoting the release of anti-inflammatory substances. By reducing inflammation, acupuncture can contribute to pain relief and improve your overall comfort.
- Get an Herbal Medicine Formula
Herbal medicine is another integral part of Oriental Medicine that can be used to manage cancer pain. Herbal formulas are carefully selected based on the individual’s specific symptoms and constitution. These formulas aim to nourish the body, boost energy and vitality, and reduce pain and inflammation. Formulas can be used along with other cancer treatments under the supervision of your herbalist and oncologist.
- Learn Qi Gong
Qi Gong is a form of exercise that combines gentle movements, focused breathing, and meditation to cultivate and balance Qi. By engaging in slow and intentional movements, combined with deep breathing, Qi is circulated and balanced, reducing stagnation and blockages that may contribute to pain. This improved flow of Qi can alleviate discomfort and support the body’s natural healing processes.
Qi Gong has also been shown to have a positive impact on the mind-body connection. Cancer pain can often be accompanied by emotional distress, such as anxiety, fear, or depression. Through the meditative aspect of Qi Gong, you can cultivate a calm and centered state of mind which, in turn, can help manage pain perception and improve your quality of life.
- Practice Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Techniques
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a structured program that incorporates mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and gentle yoga practices. One of the key ways MBSR helps is by increasing awareness and acceptance of the present moment. Through mindfulness practices, individuals learn to focus on the present moment and cultivate a non-judgmental attitude toward their pain.
MBSR also helps individuals develop coping skills and resilience in the face of pain. By practicing mindfulness, individuals become more attuned to their body’s sensations and responses, allowing them to recognize and respond to pain in a skillful and compassionate way. This can include learning relaxation techniques, exploring breathwork, and adopting mindful movement practices, which can help manage pain levels and reduce stress.
- Try a Massage
If your pain feels muscular or gets better with pressure, massage therapy may help. Massage effectively increases blood flow, reduces muscle tension, and promotes relaxation – all benefits that soothe your pain. Additionally, massage therapy helps reduce stress and anxiety, and improves sleep quality, leading to an enhanced overall quality of life for individuals dealing with cancer pain.
Embrace the Integrative Approach to Cancer Healing
Pain is a natural part of life. But if you or a loved one is living with persistent cancer pain, there are many natural ways to get the relief you need to heal and recover.
At 120 Acupuncture Clinic, Dr. Ko tailors each acupuncture treatment to address your individual needs and support your well-being alongside your conventional cancer treatments. According to Dr. Ko, the best approach is to use acupuncture and herbal medicine together. “Oriental treatment is 65% acupuncture, 35% herbal medicine, and the two are 100%.”
Aside from having a well-rounded treatment approach, Dr. Ko believes that “it is most important for cancer patients to live by keeping their daily routine for the rest of their lives. It is more important to live every day while maintaining a routine that you do every day rather than living your life thinking that you are a patient.” This keeps your mind and body strong, so you can heal.
You don’t have to suffer through pain during your cancer treatment. Book your appointment today, or call us at 1-818-980-7979 to learn how we can help you manage your pain naturally.