Bone pain is a symptom of many types of cancer. Traditional methods to treat the pain may have unwanted side effects or may not be effective. There are alternative treatments for cancer bone pain including acupuncture, massage therapy and herbal remedies.
How is Bone Pain Related to Cancer?
One of the symptoms of cancer is bone pain. It may be caused by tumors that directly affect the bone, or by cancer cells that spread to the bone from other types of cancers, such as prostate or breast cancer. Bone pain can be a side effect of chemotherapy treatments designed to treat certain types of cancer. Leuprolide, anastrozole and tamoxifen are drugs that may increase bone pain.
Usually, the nerves and tissues surrounding the bone are damaged. The pain may be dull or sharp and may last just a few minutes or throughout the day. Pain medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids are prescribed to treat cancer bone pain. There are several alternative treatments that may improve the quality of life of those suffering from bone pain including acupuncture, massage therapy and herbal remedies.
Treating Bone Pain with Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an alternative treatment for cancer bone pain. The practitioner inserts several needles through the skin in specific parts of the body. The idea is to relieve the pain by regulating the flow of vital energy (qi) along pathways known as meridians. The technique is derived from traditional Chinese medicine. The results vary by individual, but generally there is some improvement in well-being. Acupuncture isn't a replacement for pain medications, but it can be included as an additional option in a comprehensive cancer treatment plan.
Massage Therapy and Bone Pain
Another alternative treatment for cancer bone pain is massage therapy. The therapist presses, rubs and manipulates the muscles and soft tissue to reduce pain and relieve stress or tension. It can also be used to address anxiety associated with cancer bone pain and increase relaxation. Massage therapy has a generally positive impact on the body, with no side effects if the techniques are performed properly. Make sure your massage therapist is licensed and has a lot of experience.
Herbal Remedies for Bone Pain
There are several herbal remedies that are used to relieve the bone pain caused by cancer. Most work indirectly by improving the immune system. Green tea, reishi mushrooms, cat's claw and fermented wheat germ extract are a few of the herbs that are used to improve the immune system. Arnica montana is a homeopathic remedy used to treat bruised sensations. Eupatorium is a homeopathic remedy used to treat very painful bone pain associated with stiffness and chills.
Herbal remedies are usually prepared as dried extracts, such as powders and capsules, glycerine extracts and tinctures. The dosage varies and should be prepared by a licensed herbalist. Homeopathic remedies are based on a person's physical, psychological and emotional makeup. Consult a licensed homeopath for these remedies.
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2. "Alternative Bone Cancer Treatments." eMedTV. http://bone-cancer.emedtv.com/bone-cancer/alternative-bone-cancer-treatment.html
3. "Acupuncture for Pain." National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/acupuncture-for-pain.htm
4. "Bone Cancer." University of Maryland Medical Center. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/bone-cancer-000023.htm
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