For those diagnosed with mesothelioma, pain is often a part of everyday life. Sometimes the source of pain is a result of procedures, testing or surgery, while usually caused by cancer itself. Luckily, many holistic approaches exist to help patients manage mesothelioma pain, so they can focus on leading a happier, healthier way of life.
Take Control and Manage Mesothelioma Pain
Mesothelioma patients dealing with any pain, whether temporary or chronic, can experience a number of unfortunate side effects, including:
- Disrupted sleep
- Difficult to eat or enjoy food
- Trouble maintaining healthy relationships
Pain often increases as cancer metastasizes, or if the cancer is recurring. Given the circumstances, it’s common for cancer patients to feel irritable, sad, frustrated or alone as it may seem that few can truly understand what they’re going through.
7 Holistic Solutions for Mesothelioma Pain Management
Lifestyle changes, holistic measures and proper medical support can help patients manage mesothelioma pain, both acute and chronic. Complimentary pain management can also reduce unwanted chemotherapy side effects such as headaches or nausea.
1. Improve Your Diet
A diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods will go far in helping patients manage pain. Focus on plenty of lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables to get a wide variety of healing vitamins and minerals.
Not only does a healthy diet help patients reduce inflammation and manage pain, but it can also improve cognitive function and mood.
Elevating mood is essential for patients battling negative emotions that come with a mesothelioma diagnosis.
2. Reduce Your Stress
Stress is a known hindrance in the healing process—both physically and mentally. Reducing stress will help patients deal with the complex emotions they may have as a result of diagnosis while helping to eliminate physical pain.
Mesothelioma patients should engage in activities that help them unwind, clear their thoughts and focus on eliminating pain.
3. Increase Your Physical Activity
While resting is undoubtedly a part of managing pain, it’s also important to stay active. Many mesothelioma patients find relief in lighter-resistance activities such as swimming or yoga, while others enjoy more intense cardio or strength training. Simply find something you enjoy, such as daily walks and stretches around the neighborhood.
Exercise will not only benefit the body, but the mind will improve as happiness-inducing endorphins are released during physical activity.
4. Get a Massage
Massage is for more than just relaxation. In fact, people with all types of pain and discomfort have sought out the ancient technique for thousands of years. Massage therapists manipulate muscles and tissues of the body through pressure and movement.
Used alongside conventional medicine, massage helps cancer patients relax and battle side effects of the disease such as pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety and depression.
Many patients who frequently get massages report improvements in sleep, clarity, alertness and range of motion.
5. Undergo Reflexology
Reflexologists apply manual pressure to small zones of the feet, hands, ears or other parts of the body. It’s believed that these specific areas correspond to other areas of the body, including some internal organs.
By applying pressure to reflex points, many people experience instant relaxation and an overall reduction in pain perception.
6. Try Acupuncture
An ancient Chinese medicine practiced for more than 3,000 years, acupuncture is used to rehabilitate, promote wellness, reduce pain and treat a number of conditions. The ancient practice applies needles into “acupuncture point” in the skin to alleviate pain and treat a variety of physical, mental and emotional conditions.
Modern research has shown acupuncture to be a useful pain management option for people with cancer.
Those who experience treatment side effects often turn to acupuncture as an alternative remedy. Mesothelioma patients looking to try this method should first consult a doctor and make sure to find a licensed, experienced acupuncturist in their area.
7. Keep a Pain Journal
Keeping a daily pain journal can help you become more mindful of the pain you’re experiencing as well as the most effective treatment methods for your body. You can share the data with your doctor, who can help you troubleshoot additional pain relief strategies.
Provide specific information in the journal. Daily logs should include details such as:
- Type of pain (dull, sharp, aching)
- When you take medications
- Severity and degree of pain
- Activities that cause or improve pain
As always, consult your doctor before trying any new treatment method.
Each person is unique, and pain associated with cancer can vary in nature as well as change day by day, hour by hour. As with any form of pain management, it’s best to discuss options with a medical professional before trying something new.
Be open with your doctor about changes in symptoms. He or she can suggest what treatment methods are right for you based on current medications and lifestyle.