How to Combat Bone Pain From Chemotherapy
Patients fighting cancer often have to contend with a number of side effects from chemotherapy, many of which can prove debilitating. Among these conditions is the possibility of bone pain, a condition whose name says it all. Patients undergoing a wide array of treatments have reported experiencing pain ranging from mild soreness to outright agony, the source of which can be difficult to determine, let alone treat. Still, there are a few things you can do to help with bone pain, though the necessity of chemotherapy is often the cause of the pain. This means that the source of your discomfort might not go away any time soon. To find out more about how to combat bone pain from chemo, keep reading as the team at Chemo Mouthpiece™ explains.
What Causes Bone Pain From Chemo?
While bone pain may only appear during chemotherapy, there are a few possible causes for this condition, only one of which is chemo itself. Patients must typically follow an entire regimen of medications, many of which are only necessary to mitigate the side effects of chemo; one primary example of this — and the one most closely linked to bone pain — is a type of drug called a biologic response modifier.
This kind of medication is used to alter immune system responses, either in an effort to boost the power of a compromised immune system or to suppress an overactive one. Because one common side effect of chemotherapy is damage to the immune system, biologic response modifiers are often necessary to keep a patient healthy; and unfortunately, one side effect of these drugs is bone pain.
It is quite possible that your cancer itself is responsible for your pain, as cancer frequently causes the type of damage to nerves, soft tissues, and bones. Certain chemo medications can also cause discomfort, as can some types of hormone therapy. Keep in mind that chemotherapy can also lead to osteoporosis, especially in patients being treated for breast or prostate cancer; if you are affected by this condition, your bones may be thinner, weaker, and more prone to breaking or fracturing, which can lead to significant pain.
How to Help with Bone Pain During Chemotherapy
Options for treating bone pain can be pretty limited, largely because so many of the factors that could be causing or contributing to the pain are essential for a patient’s long-term survival. Stopping chemotherapy treatments is rarely a viable option, and while there may be other medications available to treat your specific cancer, your doctor may be reluctant to change drugs if the one you’re on has proven effective. Generally speaking, the best thing most patients can do is to try and reduce the pain to a bearable level.
In some cases, over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen, can help you manage your symptoms. Stronger narcotic medications may be more effective, but these drugs also carry greater risks. Many patients have had some success turning to holistic treatments to help with their bone pain, including acupuncture, massage, hypnosis, or chiropractic adjustments. The results of these treatments can vary widely, it should be noted, but they may be worth trying.
For at-home care, simple remedies may help ease the pain. If you are experiencing muscle spasms or soreness, the application of heat may provide relief; to address inflammation, try a cold compress or ice pack. Make sure you consume plenty of calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone strength, and regular exercise — even minor exercise — can help relieve tension, though any physical activity should be limited in duration and intensity.
Other Chemo Side Effects and Their Treatments
While bone pain may be tough to treat, some of chemo’s other side effects have simpler, more effective paths to relief. Nausea can often be suppressed with certain medications, for instance, as can other gastrointestinal issues. Problems with the skin or nails may only require an OTC ointment or moisturizing cream, and a lack of proper nutrition can often be addressed with a meal replacement shake or, in extreme cases, IV nutrition.
Even oral mucositis, painful sores in the mouth, can be mitigated with the proper treatment at the right time. Ideally, a patient should undergo a potent form of oral cryotherapy while receiving their chemo medications to reduce the severity of their symptoms; the aim is to shrink the blood vessels in the area with freezing temperatures, thereby limiting access for the toxic medications used during chemotherapy to reach the mouth.
In most cancer centers, oral cryotherapy is administered in the form of ice chips that are given to patients receiving treatment. However, ice chips offer little in terms of cooling power, partly because they melt quickly and partly because they only reach the bottom of the mouth, not the entire cavity. The Chemo Mouthpiece™, on the other hand, is an advanced oral cryotherapy device that can cool the whole mouth from top to bottom by as much as 30 degrees; all you have to do is freeze the device at home and bring it with you to treatment and keep it in your mouth as the drugs are administered.
Specialized Oral Ice Pack for Chemo Patients
If you or someone you know is grappling with the side effects of chemotherapy, know that help is available. The Chemo Mouthpiece™ can provide effective relief from the worst oral mucositis symptoms, making eating easier and improving the user’s overall quality of life. Learn more about how the Chemo Mouthpiece™ works and how it can help you or someone you know by visiting us online or calling (866) 461-7518 today.