Cancer is the number two leading cause of death in the United States. These groups of diseases cause the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells and will be responsible for an estimated 600,000 deaths this year. On the positive side, the percentage of people with a five-year survival rate is up 19 percent from 1977, attributed to both earlier diagnosis and improvements in treatments. Chiropractic is an increasingly used form of treatment for cancer pain.
Cancer Pain Management and Treatment
An estimated 1 out of 3 to 2 out of 3 people with cancer experience pain, from the cancer itself or the associated treatment and tests. The pain can be constant, intermittent, mild, moderate or severe, and may be dull, achy or sharp.
The level of pain experienced depends on the type of cancer, the stage and the patient's pain threshold. Typically, cancer pain results from nerve damage, tumors or an advanced stage of cancer. Procedures, chemotherapy, radiation testing and surgeries can also result in pain.
Often cancer pain is undertreated, and according to the Mayo Clinic, experts believe that there are multiple factors at play: Doctors may be reluctant to ask about pain, patients may be reluctant to speak up, or there is a fear of addiction or side effects; most often, pain is managed through strong opioid-based medications.
Chiropractic Care and Alternative Treatments for Cancer Pain
Currently, some commonly used alternative treatments for cancer pain and treatment side effects include acupuncture, biofeedback (helps to control certain body functions, such as breathing and heart rate, allowing the person to relax and cope with pain), massage, meditation and hypnosis. Many of these treatments are now offered at major cancer treatment facilities. Acupuncture is the most widely used treatment and studies have shown that it helps to alleviate pain and nausea. Experts also believe that some of these complimentary or alternative treatments help to decrease stress and anxiety, which can affect pain threshold.
Another commonly used and viable alternative to exclusive pain management through medication is chiropractic care. Cancer Treatment Centers of America recommend chiropractic care to help reduce stress, increase mobility, flexibility, strength and function, and improve overall well-being. Spinal manipulation, called a chiropractic adjustment, is a gentle, non-invasive and drug-free approach to correcting musculoskeletal issues and restoring nerve function.
Preventative and Proactive Healthcare with Chiropractic
Chiropractic care is also an excellent source for preventative and proactive-based healthcare. Centered on healthy lifestyle practices and the correction and maintenance of an optimally functioning nervous system, chiropractic care offers patients the support necessary to live a life in health and well-being.
Make an appointment to talk to a chiropractic doctor about chiropractic and cancer pain management.
Read on to learn more:
Alternative therapies offer pain relief to cancer patients, NBC News, Oct. 2012
Pain Control, National Cancer Institute, May 2014
Chiropractic Care, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, accessed June 2015
Relieving cancer aches and pain with chiropractic care, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, accessed June 2015
Alternatives in cancer pain treatment: the application of chiropractic care, Seminars in Oncology Nursing, Aug. 2005
Chiropractic care for pain relief, Harvard Health Publications, accessed June 2015
Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer, The Oncologist, Oct. 2003