Pain management strategies

Everyone's journey with pain is different. We find that better well-being leads to better pain control though. As such, the best way to manage your pain is a multi-modal approach. This approach tackles all aspects of your life

Cancer Education
14 min read

Pain is common because of cancer or following cancer treatment. It can have a significant impact on all aspects of your life. This includes your day-to-day activities and your various roles (be it as a parent, at work or study). Your pain can also affect your appetite, sleep and mood, and vice versa. Pain management strategies include pain medication and/or interventions. Not all patients experience improvement from pain medication and/or interventions alone though. Working towards an improvement in your well-being is important. This is how you will be able to achieve better pain control. 

The multi-modal approach to pain management involves a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals. This team includes your pain specialist and your GP. It also includes a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. They all work together in supplying various treatments and strategies. These treatments and strategies help achieve the best outcome for you. 

You are part of the team looking after your pain management. It is important that you take responsibility for your improvement in your well-being. You are better placed to achieve long-term pain control when you are:  

  • In control of your daily management of pain  

  • Able to use strategies and resources to manage their pain yourself

Pain management goals 

A multi-modal approach can work. It works best when you know your goals for improving and/or supporting your function and quality of life. 

What is important to you? What would you like to work towards? 

Try answering these questions first. Your team will then be better able to tailor a management plan. This plan will be specific to your pain, your needs, and your goals. Your pain management plan may include one or more of the following: 

  • Physical therapy 

  • Psychological therapy 

  • Social therapy 

  • Biological therapy.

Pain management self-education and self-assessment  

You know yourself and your pain the best. We recommend that you be an active role player within your pain management team for the best results. You can take control of the day-to-day management of your pain. You can also achieve better long-term pain control. Learning about your pain, and using self-assessment tools, increases the likelihood of this. 

Pain management therapies  

You can learn some of the following therapies and undertake them yourself. Some need a trained professional. Your pain management plan may encompass several of these therapies for your benefit.

Pain management program 

Chronic pain can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. In turn it can affect your day-to-day life, and the activities you do. Pain management programs reduce the impact of pain on your day-to-day function. They can reduce your pain even if you have had pain for many years. A pain management program also helps with improving your general health and well-being. 

Pain management programs use the multi-modal approach to pain management. They involve a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals. These professionals include pain specialist doctors and nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists. They all work together in supplying various strategies. These strategies help achieve the best outcome for you. Common strategies used include hydrotherapy, independent exercise programs, mindfulness, meditation, and pain education. The goal of the program is to empower you to develop self-management skills. These skills will be life-long. 

Pain management programs run for three to eight weeks (about two months). They are outpatient-based. They may run from two to five days a week. There are public and private pain management programs. Your pain specialist, or your GP can make a referral based on your geographical location. We do not run a pain management program. We can make a referral on your behalf though. 

It is important to be realistic about the pain management program. Whilst some people find a reduction in their pain, this may not occur for you. Many people find an improvement in their well-being though. A pain management program is beneficial for those with no active cancer. It is also beneficial for those who are cancer survivors. Most people receive help from a holistic and team-based approach to pain management. 



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