Cancer Pain Treatment with Massage Therapy
Chronic cancer pain can significantly reduce your quality of life. Depending on the extent and severity of your pain, it could also prevent you from working and doing everyday activities. Your cancer pain might be caused by your illness, or it may be a side effect of your treatment. At Jersey Premier Pain, our specialists treat cancer pain using various methods, one of which is massage therapy, sometimes called oncology massage.
We specialize in helping cancer patients find a way to live comfortably with their condition and improve their well-being. Call our New Jersey cancer pain treatment specialists at 201-386-8800 to schedule an appointment with us and get started on a treatment plan.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for People with Cancer
In addition to the general health benefits associated with massage therapy — including reduced inflammation, decreased muscle soreness, and improved circulation — massage therapy can also have notable benefits for cancer patients specifically. Some of the symptoms that massage therapy can alleviate include:
- Pain – When used with conventional pain management treatments, massage therapy can reduce pain and inflammation in cancer patients. Attending massage therapy sessions could also reduce the amount of pain medication a cancer patient needs to live comfortably.
- Nausea – It’s common for chemotherapy treatments to cause nausea. Research has shown that massage can be a valuable tool in controlling nausea. Massage therapy is most effective at treating chemo-related nausea when combined with conventional treatments and medications.
- Anxiety – Cancer patients commonly experience stress and anxiety. Numerous studies have shown that massage therapy can benefit cancer patients by relieving anxiety and lowering cortisol levels, which reduces stress hormones in the body.
- Depression and mood disorders – There is compelling evidence to suggest that massage can treat depression and mood disorders in cancer patients. Unfortunately, some types of antidepressants have been shown to decrease the effectiveness of Tamoxifen and other breast cancer treatments. As a result, massage therapy can be an appealing alternative remedy for cancer patients with depression and mood disorders.
- Fatigue – Fatigue may not be life-threatening, but it can cause severe disruptions to everyday life if it persists. According to one study’s findings, weekly Swedish massage produced “clinically significant relief” of cancer-related fatigue.
Oncology massage can also have other benefits, including preventing neuropathy caused by certain chemotherapy drugs. Massage therapy may also have palliative care benefits, giving patients a “break” from their condition and improving patients’ well-being. To learn more about the benefits of massage therapy for acute or chronic cancer pain, reach out to one of our specialists.
Massage Therapy Methods
Massage therapy involves rubbing the skin and manipulating the body’s soft tissues. Our specialists practice numerous forms of massage therapy, including:
- Swedish massage – Sometimes referred to as a classic massage, Swedish massages tend to be gentler than deep tissue massages. The goal is to loosen up muscles and relieve tension through kneading, long strokes, and deep, circular movements, among other techniques.
- Myofascial release – This massage technique uses gentle pressure to loosen up connective tissue and ease chronic cancer pain, neck pain, headaches, and more.
- Deep tissue massage – While many cancer patients still receiving treatment may not benefit from deep tissue massages, which tend to involve higher amounts of pressure, patients with post-treatment scar tissue may benefit from this massage technique. Deep tissue massages involve slow strokes and firm pressure to release restrictions in deeper layers of muscle.
At Jersey Premier Pain, we will evaluate your symptoms and determine which type of massage therapy technique might work best for you based on your condition. Most cancer patients tolerate gentle massage quite well, but some patients may need a more robust massage technique to achieve their desired results.
Is There Evidence that Massage Therapy Is an Effective Treatment Option for Cancer Pain?
A growing body of evidence affirms that massage therapy is a useful and effective pain management option for cancer patients. The biggest observational study of massage therapy as of March 2022 involved 1,290 patients. For three years, these cancer patients were treated with massage therapy. The study found that massage therapy decreased pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, stress, and depression in patients by up to 50 percent.
In a meta-analysis of 12 trials involving 559 cancer patients, researchers found that in nine high-quality studies, massage therapy significantly reduced the patients’ pain when compared with patients who received no treatment or traditional treatments. The results of this review clearly showed that massage therapy was an effective cancer pain treatment, especially for pain associated with surgery.
One of the known side effects of chemotherapy treatment for cancer is peripheral neuropathy, which involves weakness, numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands, feet, limbs, and other parts of the body. Studies have suggested that massage therapy may be an effective treatment for neuropathy as well. Another study involving 692 breast cancer patients found that massage therapy was generally effective at reducing pain at chemotherapy infusion sites.
If you are experiencing pain caused by cancer or by a cancer treatment you’re receiving, massage therapy might be right for you. While alternative treatments like oncology massage haven’t been proven to cure cancer, they have been shown to provide much-needed relief from the debilitating symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments.
Contact Our Cancer Treatment Massage Therapy Team Today
You don’t have to let cancer pain prevent you from living your life to the fullest. Our team of skilled doctors and therapists at Jersey Premier Pain can assess your symptoms and develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. Our treatment regimens combine traditional and alternative therapies that work in sync to reduce your symptoms.
Contact our Jersey City office at 201-386-8800 for an appointment to discuss your cancer pain with one of our New Jersey cancer pain management specialists.