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Can complementary treatments help relieve pain from pancreatic cancer?

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Your doctor may suggest complementary treatments to ease your pain from pancreatic cancer.

One option is massage. A licensed massage therapist will stroke or knead the muscles of your body. It can help with muscle and bone discomfort and overall pain control.

Physical activity can also help. Exercise increases your body's level of hormones called endorphins, which may help ease pain. Research shows that people with pancreatic cancer who stay active report a better quality of life. Check with your doctor before you start. A good rule of thumb is to begin with a 5- to 10-minute walk each day. Gradually increase it until you are up to 45 minutes at least three times a week.

Meditation is another option. It's a mind and body technique that has you focus your attention on one thing for a period of time. Examples include deep breathing, prayer, or yoga. Some studies suggest that these activities help relieve cancer pain. They can also improve your mood, which may make you notice your pain less.

You can also try acupuncture. A practitioner places needles, heat, or pressure to certain places on the skin, called acupuncture points. It's thought that when these points are stimulated, your body releases endorphins and the chemical serotonin that relieves pain and improves your mood. Ask your doctor to recommend a practitioner.

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can also help. It's a type of talk therapy that helps you manage thoughts and emotions that you may get after your cancer diagnosis. The goal is to stop negative feelings and to learn relaxation strategies. Studies show that people with cancer who take part in CBT report less pain and distress.

SOURCES:

Digestive Diseases & Sciences: "Pain in patients with pancreatic cancer: prevalence, mechanisms, management and future developments."

American Cancer Society: "Signs & Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer."

Johns Hopkins: "Pancreatic Cancer Pain Management."

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance: "Managing Pain in Pancreatic Cancer."

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: "Exercise as medicine in the management of pancreatic cancer: a case study."

Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing : "A Systematic Review: Mindfulness Intervention for Cancer-Related Pain."

American Society of Clinical Oncology: "Can Acupuncture Help Relieve Cancer Pain and Other Side Effects?"

Columbia University Irving Medical Center: "Coping with Cancer and How CBT Can Help."

Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology : "Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Patients With Cancer."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on May 21, 2020

SOURCES:

Digestive Diseases & Sciences: "Pain in patients with pancreatic cancer: prevalence, mechanisms, management and future developments."

American Cancer Society: "Signs & Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer."

Johns Hopkins: "Pancreatic Cancer Pain Management."

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance: "Managing Pain in Pancreatic Cancer."

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: "Exercise as medicine in the management of pancreatic cancer: a case study."

Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing : "A Systematic Review: Mindfulness Intervention for Cancer-Related Pain."

American Society of Clinical Oncology: "Can Acupuncture Help Relieve Cancer Pain and Other Side Effects?"

Columbia University Irving Medical Center: "Coping with Cancer and How CBT Can Help."

Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology : "Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Patients With Cancer."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on May 21, 2020

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Can keeping a journal help you get relief from pancreatic cancer pain?

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