Some patients are hesitant to discuss pain, but at the U-M Cancer Center, we encourage all patients to do so. Pain can have a serious impact on quality of life. It may change mood, cause loss of sleep, or interfere with daily activities. Patients have a right to good pain management.
There are a number of tools available to reduce or eliminate pain. Medication is the most common approach to treating pain. It is important to discuss prescribed medication with physician, to take it as prescribed and to understand its side effects.
In addition to medication, a number of other treatment strategies can be employed to relieve pain. Although on their own, these tools might not be enough to alleviate moderate to severe pain, they are often helpful when used in combination with medication. Some of these strategies, commonly referred to as complementary therapies, include:
- Relaxation, guided imagery
- Psychotherapy, counseling
- Music, literature, art, play
- Prayer, meditation
- Acupuncture, acupressure
- Application of heat or cold
- Therapeutic exercise
When describing pain to a member of the patient's care team, the following information is most important to provide:
- Where is the patient's pain located?
- How severe is it?
- What has helped relieve the patient's pain recently or in the past?
If pain medications are prescribed for a patient, it is important to know who and when to contact if the pain is not well controlled. Also, any possible side effects of the medication should be discussed with the health care team.
Pain does not need to be tolerated. At the U-M Cancer Center, we are committed to treating the pain. We work with each patient to find the most effective strategy to confront pain.
To make an appointment, please talk to your health-care team or call 877-907-0859.
Read about Larry Stone's experience: When to Ask for Help: Talking about symptoms is first step in treating them.