How to support the physical pain at home?

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Hi, I haven't got round to sharing details yet, but does anyone have any recommendations for home support for pain associated with bone cancer please, the primary cancer is in the spine but I gather the pain is all over, we don't have access to hospital pain killers today.

  • Hi FourMarys   i have bone cancer and my oncology department gave me the contact details of my local hospice. They said i could contact them if i needed help with pain control. I would contact your oncology department or oncologist and have a chat to them. Next port of call would be Your GP they can prescribe strong painkillers all the best

  • Hi Wino, thank you very much, much appreciated, hope you are having a good day today.

  • Hi again, if there is pain does it mean the cancer is active? I was wondering about simple support like hot water bottles, I know it probably doesn't touch the pain, but any tips or experiences would be helpful, I read about hot and cold treatment but not sure what it is.

  • Hi FourMarys, my primary bone cancer is in the spine too, but i have it in many bones. My main pain is in my spine and only painkillers will take away the discomfort and pain.I can only presume you haven,t had this for long and  not had much contact with oncologists ect. A hot water bottle can help, not really sure hot and cold works i think that is more use for muscle pains. You asked if the pain means your cancer is active, i am not quite sure how to answer that. Are you on chemo or radiotherapy for your cancer ?. I can only answer for myself the pain i was getting in my spine was due to the damage the cancer had done to my spine and i had to have spinal cement put in to stableize it and then radiotherapy to reduce the inflamation. The cancer will only become less active when on chemo or other types of treatment, maybe you are in early months of treatment. You could read my profile it might help you understand. You usually only have pain in the bones that are affected with cancer and its all according how much of your bones have been damaged. I think you should ask your oncologist to explain your cancer to you face to face and then you will feel more in control of your pain and know what to expect. Please feel free to ask me anything i will always try to help if i can but i am no expert. Take care x

  • Hi Wino, I have updated my profile, thank you for your reply and I have just read your profile, you are amazing. It's not me who has the cancer it's a friend who is a teen and I am only learning about it in bits and bobs. Trying to help with limited info and access to info, I know every case is different and specific but at the moment every little bit of info helps to create a picture of what cancer does or might do and how I can help. Thank you, hope you have a good day.

  • Hi FourMarys, I know you've certainly already figured this out, but in case not...

    I'm assuming you've tried over the counter meds, and heat/cold and whatever else home care google tells you? Quickly though, in case they don't work, so your friend is not in pain a long time?

    And by "we don't have access to hospital pain killers today," do you mean it's after hours???

    If so, I'm not familiar with the UK system, but is there any medical person you can contact who is on call? Uncontrolled pain is a good enough reason to rouse them. Here (I'm in the US) I would call the on-call resident or physician at my hospital, maybe you guys have nurses there who do that? They would then call in a prescription. If it's after hours then here there are always 24 hour pharmacies somewhere fairly nearby (may have to drive a bit) that you can have them use. Do they have those where you are?

    Every time I've done this (or my family has), the person has been very gracious and not at all put out, fyi.

    As to whether pain means it is active, it depends on their situation. They could have pain from treatments too, as well as from the cancer itself. For example, sometimes shots they give to bring white cells back up after chemo can actually cause bone pain. Or if you get an infection, like a virus, when your white cell counts are low after chemo, it can cause general achiness, the same as when any of us get a virus. Or if you overdue it in physical therapy there may be pain. The docs will probably try to figure out where it is coming from and be able to treat it.

    Hope your friend's pain is controlled well now!


  • Hey Patricia, thank you for your reply, I hope you are having a good day today. The hospital won't send meds home with the young person I am supporting because they are concerned about their mental health/stability, so they have to go to the hospital to get pain relief which is almost an hour's drive away, it's pretty dire. We have tried over the counter anti inflammatories but they don't really work. I am wondering if there are late effects from previous treatment. I am praying that the doctors can see how difficult it is and there does seem to be a little more activity and support around of late but its hard to tell because I don't go to the hospital and have to wait for news to be shared with me. I am guilty of second guessing but my eyes tell me when someone is tired, or weary etc. and I am trying to support a healthier lifestyle at home to build strength, which is another minefield! Dairy bad? Dairy good? etc wow, I am learning a lot - thanks again for your reply, best wishes.

  • Hm, so you are getting all info through your friend still? Perhaps I'm wrong, but something seems a little strange. Mental health/stability? Like, addiction, or suicide? Because if depression, there are actually antidepressants that are effective at treating pain. Also, if opioid addiction is an issue, there are other prescription pain meds that are not opioids. And regardless, is he getting mental health/addiction treatment? 

    In what sense do you mean "build strength?" Like, muscular? Or do you mean just general ability to get off the couch, like maybe due to tiredness? Or more mental health?


  • Hey, yes, I get updated as and when, its depression rather than addiction I would say. I was thinking it might also be a way for the doctors to keep in contact. None of it is straightforward. Thank you for the info re antidepressants and pain medicines, they are not really open to mental health treatment or counselling as yet, and for strength I meant just general nutrition and of course a caring environment to help with mental health. Thanks for writing back.

  • Hi again, 2 things: the antidepressants they give for pain, they are just called antidepressants because that's what they were first used for. They could also be called medicine for pain, I suppose. In case you want to discuss with him and he is not receptive to mental health meds. Also, another med for pain that is not an opiate is gabapentin, it helps with nerve pain. And number 2: I have had docs suggest combining over the counter pain meds. So when paracetamol (?acetaminophen here) doesn't cut it, I add ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Sometimes they added gabapentin to that too. Like layering on pain meds. This was for after lung surgery, which can be pretty painful.

    As far as nutrition... controversial. If weight loss is an issue, cancer people will say just feed them whatever they are willing to eat, never mind "healthy" for now. If not a weight loss issue, there is a lot of bunk out there about what is healthiest. Good luck to you in wading through it all! I don't think dairy or gluten or sugar or clean eating or paleo or low-carb or whatever made a difference at all to me, but some people believe in all that, everyone has an opinion.

    Good for you for looking out for your friend!