Muscle Aches and Joint Pains
Ask any cancer patient what hard-core chemo feels like, and you may hear the words, “like getting hit by a ton of bricks.” Sore muscles and joints are common side effects of this “cancer killing” treatment. But there are ways to support the body as it absorbs the strong medication that can wipe out disease.
- As mentioned before diet If you suffer chronic joint or muscle pain you may also benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet. Similar to the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, this way of eating focuses on plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lots of fish or fish-oil supplements.
- Skin Cream Preliminary research shows that arnica cream (a homeopathic remedy) is also effective treatment for sore muscles and joints. It’s odorless and easily applied to the surface of your skin.
- Massage Research shows massage is the most effective integrative approach to relieve sore muscles and joints. This helps to decrease your pain level and has other benefits as well—lowering tension, anxiety and stress.
- Keep a diary of your pain. If you are having pain for any reason, your healthcare provider will ask certain questions to determine the cause of your pain. Things to include are:
- Onset – when did the pain start? What was I doing when I had pain?
- Quality – What does the pain feel like? Is it knifelike and stabbing, or dull and constant?
- Location – Where is the pain? Can I point to it with my finger, or is it spread all over?
Intensity – How bad is your pain all the time? How bad is it with certain activities that cause you to feel pain, on a 1-10 scale, with the number “10” being the worst pain imaginable?
- Duration – How long did the pain last for? Is it while I was walking to the door, or did it continue for a while?
Character – Does the pain come and go whenever I perform a certain activity, or is it unpredictable?
- Relieving factors – What can I do to make the pain go away? Does anything help? What have I used in the past that have worked, and does this work now?
Your mood – Are you depressed or anxious? Does this make the pain worse?
5. Speak to your doctor about medications you are on that can cause muscle or joint pain as they may need to adjust or substitute in order to ease your symptoms. Also, ask for any medications that can be added to your routine to alleviate some of your pain.
6. Never let your symptoms go on for more than 2 days. Contact your doctor if pain continues as it may be more serious than previously thought.
7. Heating pads are your friend. There are so many options out on the market now that your can choose any type of heating pad your little heart desires. I have a heated blanket, an electrical heating pad for my back, and a head and neck wrap you heat in the microwave. You can also make your own with rice, lavender tea bags, and lavender essential oil!
8. Nice warm bath. Now this may not be ideal for all, especially if you just had surgery, but if you get the green light for your doctor relaxing baths can help with you aches and pains. Try mixing in some healing Epsom Salt, oatmeal bath, and/or your favorite bubble bath. I found baths especially soothing right before bed.
9. Check out your local surgical supply store. These store (which are usually pharmacies as well) have all different types of pillows and cushions to make you more comfortable. I know my brother loved this big angled pillow that allowed him to be propped up. He had very difficult surgeries and found it hard to lay down flat. The angled pillow and a body pillow gave him great comfort and rest while he was recuperating. This is also a place you will find wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches if you have trouble ambulating.
10. Acupuncture. Acupuncture treats muscle pain through a variety of ways, the most direct being that when a needle is inserted into the body, the body releases chemicals called endorphins. You may have heard of endorphins when people describe the runner’s high – that’s because they’re the same chemicals. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers, and they help you feel relaxed, alert, and mobile. Because this is the body’s natural method of killing pain, patients who are on pain medications can use acupuncture to reduce their dose or get off it entirely.