Palliative Care and Pain Management: What You Need to Know
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Whether you are working with pain caused by the illness itself or the side effects of the treatment, you have a right to be comfortable through this challenging time.
Pain Management Through Palliative care
The side effects of treatments for serious illnesses, such as cancer, can be debilitating. The pain can negatively impact your quality of life and could even lead to depression. Patients can sometimes feel scared and trapped in pain. Palliative care can help to reduce fears and improve pain..
Some pain management options include:
- TENS Machines: A TENS machine uses electrical nerve stimulation to pulse electricity to the areas where the pain is felt. This can ease pain in the area.
- Acupuncture: This alternative treatment includes placing pins into the patient’s back or area of pain to relieve or redirect the pain. Sometimes this treatment is available in the hospital.
- Heat and Cold Therapy: Hot water bottles are used as heat packs to relieve pain. You can also take warm baths to find some reprieve from the pain. Ice packs are applied to painful areas as well.
- Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy introduces other ways to conduct everyday activities that may not require movement that causes pain. For example, using a temporary wheelchair can be helpful when walking is too painful.
- Secondary Therapy: Aromatherapy, meditation, massage, and music therapy are all used to bring comfort and peace to the patient during an unimaginable time. Sometimes these forms of therapy offer a distraction. Other times, they are valuable tools for managing and tolerating pain.
- Pain Medications: Medications are administered to fight pain. You can opt for non-opioid pain management if you have strong feelings about the risk of addiction. Antidepressants , steroids, and bisphosphonates for bone pain are all examples of non-opioid medications.
Each patient will have specific preferences on how their pain is treated. We work closely with each patient, their doctor and family to provide the right type of care. Learn more about living well with a chronic or severe illness by talking to your doctor, visiting our website, or giving us a call. We are happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
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