Using Massage to Help with Cancer Pain
Many people who have been diagnosed with cancer experience pain that is, at best, uncomfortable and, at worst, debilitating. Sometimes this is because of a tumor’s effects on the nerves or tissues of the body. At other times, treatments such as chemotherapy can have painful side effects. Some people even find that the stress of the diagnosis and the treatments create muscular tension that leads to significant pain levels.
If you have pain associated with cancer, you may be wondering whether treatments such as massage therapy can help make you feel better in your body and your mind. Understanding more about massage therapy for people living with cancer may help you determine whether it may be right for you.
What Is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is a treatment in which a massage practitioner uses their hands to release tension in a person’s muscles. The treatment aims to help the body relax, which can soothe the pain and discomfort that can come from muscular tension or trauma.
Some types of massage we offer at Jersey Premier Pain include:
- Swedish massage
- Deep tissue massage
- Sports massage
- Myofascial release
- Medical massage
- Trigger point massage
The type of massage that works best for you will depend on the pain you are experiencing and its ultimate cause.
How Can Massage Therapy Help Cancer Patients?
Traditional cancer treatments, such as therapy and radiation, can be aggressive and lead to many unwanted side effects. For this reason, many people who are living with cancer want to find a way of managing their symptoms that will not simply add to the list of side effects they are already dealing with. Scientific studies have shown that massage therapy can be a wonderful way of helping people relieve both their physical pain and their psychological stress.
Massage therapy may help cancer patients enjoy benefits such as:
- Stress reduction
- Pain reduction
- Nausea relief
- Reduced fatigue
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Improved sleep quality
These benefits help to address some of the greatest challenges that cancer patients face. The relief that people experience through massage therapy can help make their journey through cancer treatment feel far more manageable.
Can Massage Ever Be Harmful to Cancer Patients?
One common misconception about massage for cancer patients is that some forms of massage might make cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. There is absolutely no scientific research that suggests that this claim could be true.
However, there are certain circumstances in which massage treatments might need to be adapted for some patients. For example, you should let your massage therapists know if there are any parts of your body to which you are receiving radiotherapy, as they will need to avoid those areas. Furthermore, you should avoid massage in areas where your skin is bruised, bleeding, or broken.
You will also need to ensure that your massage therapy is properly adapted if you:
- Are very weak
- Have bone fractures
- Have arthritis
- Have heart problems
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
Furthermore, if you know that you would be uncomfortable with the idea of another person placing their hands on various parts of your body, massage therapy may not be a particularly relaxing option for you.
Before you begin using massage therapy, you should always speak with your medical professional first.
Can Massage Help with Lymphedema?
Some forms of cancer or cancer treatments can cause lymphedema, which is a type of swelling caused by the buildup of fluid from a lack of proper drainage in your lymphatic system. Lymphedema most commonly affects the arms and legs. It is advisable to avoid general massage to your limbs if they are swollen from lymphedema.
However, you may be able to opt for a specialized type of massage called manual lymphatic drainage, which is specifically designed to help people with lymphedema.
Contact A Cancer Pain Treatment Expert Today
If you are struggling with pain because of cancer or due to the cancer treatments you are receiving, massage therapy can provide some of the relief you are looking for. The experienced Jersey City pain management specialists at Jersey Premier Pain offer a variety of treatment options that can help you manage the discomfort you are feeling.