Cancer and pain don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but nearly half of all cancer patients experience either short- or long-term pain related to their disease.
Whether it’s the cancer itself or you’re struggling with post-surgical pain, we want to help you take the pain out of an already difficult situation.
To do this, our team here at Pain Medicine Consultants often turns to nerve blocks to relieve cancer-related pain.
Here’s a look at how this frontline pain management technique works.
Understanding cancer-related pain
There’s a good reason why we describe the pain as being related to cancer. In some cases, the cancer itself can be the direct cause of your pain. For example, a tumor on your spine presses up against a nerve, or cancer in your bones causes damage and pain in these hard tissues.
But the discomfort can also stem from other issues, such as pain you might feel after surgery to address your cancer. Or perhaps certain treatments are causing the pain, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation.
Whatever the underlying cause, all you know is that your cancer is related to the pain, and you want relief.
How nerve blocks work to relieve cancer-related pain
One of the reasons we turn to nerve blocks to relieve cancer-related pain is that the treatment goes straight to the source of your pain — the overactive nerve or nerve groups that are sending the pain signals to your brain.
First, we identify the nerves we believe are responsible for your discomfort and then we inject a combination of a local anesthetic for pain relief and a steroid for reducing inflammation around your nerves.
To ensure we treat the right area, we use advanced imaging to guide the needle and, once in place, we release the block.
Over the course of a few days to a week, the injection should go to work to block your nerve from sending pain signals.
It’s impossible to say how long this treatment can last, as it can vary widely from one patient to the next. That said, we’ve found nerve blocks to be one of the best solutions for quick relief of intense pain related to cancer.
Also, if you’re facing long-term pain due to your cancer, another role that a nerve block can play is diagnostic. If we find that your pain is relieved with a nerve block, we can set you up with a longer-term solution than a nerve block injection, such as an intrathecal pain pump.
If you’re looking for relief from your cancer-related pain and you’d like to explore whether a nerve block can help, please contact one of our offices in Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, or Corte Madera, California, to schedule a consultation.