How to reduce back pain in cancer patients?

Chronic back pain in cancer is a common complaint among individuals affected with cancer. It can arise in any part of the body depending on the type of tumor and the ongoing treatment therapy.  Back …

Chronic back pain in cancer is a common complaint among individuals affected with cancer. It can arise in any part of the body depending on the type of tumor and the ongoing treatment therapy. 
Back pain during cancer is often a consequence of the advanced stage of cancer in which metastasis has occurred to the spine or due to the compression of the spine by the tumor. Back pain can be managed at home with the help of simple exercises after seeking approval from your cancer support community. 

How to reduce back pain in cancer patients


In case your pain is too intense or occurs at an advanced stage of cancer, it is recommended against performing any physical activity without prior discussion with your group. Other measures can be useful in reducing back pain and will be discussed alongside exercises.

Home exercise to reducing back pain:

Walking is the simplest exercise you can do to manage back pain. 10 to 45 minutes of moderate-paced walking within the home environment has demonstrated immense pain-reducing potential in cancer patients.
Cycling or jogging
Aerobic exercises are generally recommended for pain management in cancer patients. Half an hour of daily indulgence will be immensely helpful.
Stretching and strengthening exercises
Performing simple stretches can be useful in managing chronic pain as it eases muscle fatigue. For more severe back pain, strength training with the help of a trained professional after seeking medical approval is advised. In the case of spinal compression, core stabilization exercises with a trained expert are also advisable. Flexibility exercises involving bending and movements are some other exercises that help in reducing lower back pain as they improve blood flow to the muscles of the back.
Side bends
This is a useful exercise for managing back pain, especially if it occurs after breast cancer treatment. You are required to:
  • Sit in a chair and tightly clasp your hands together in the front.
  • Now, gently raise your arms above your head while straightening them.
  • As you do this, bend towards the right. 
  • Repeat the same for your left side.
  • Repeat 5 times.
  • Keep your arms and back straight with your hands bent at an angle of 90 degrees at the elbow.
  • Align your arms on the wall in the manner of giving a gentle push.
  • Get back to the rest position.
  • Repeat 5 times.

Other methods

Yoga and posture 
Lower back pain can be aggravated by poor posture, which is why it is important that you stand, sit and walk while keeping your back straight. You can additionally perform yoga for improving your posture as well as for managing back pain.
Stress is a potential trigger for chronic pain as experienced in cancer. For long – term management of pain, meditation and relaxation can be used as notable methods of relaxation for alleviating stress and managing pain. You can use guided meditation or simple chanting exercises if you are new to meditation.
Along with exercising, you must provide ample rest to the painful area. Make use of comfortable bedding and avoid sleeping on your back if you experience intense pain. Make sure to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily for efficient recovery.
Distraction is a common technique used for diverting attention from the pain and can be employed for the management of mild to moderate pain. If your back pain is too severe, you can use television or music as ways of distraction while you wait for the pain medicines to work.
Commercially – available vibrating devices are effective in the management of lower back pain. You can also make the use of a large heat pad to provide some relief.
Cold or heat therapy 
You can use cold or hot compression to get relief from back pain, but, make sure to ask your cancer group before proceeding. Too hot or too cold stimuli must not be directly applied to the skin as these can cause burns. Also, hot compresses must be avoided in case you are being given radiotherapy.
Biofeedback and acupuncture
These are some commendable techniques that assist in successful pain reduction. While opting for these, you must look for a certified trained professional. 
Massage is another effective method of reducing back pain. You can hire a masseuse or can ask your caregiver to gently massage the painful area of your back for obtaining some relief.
Pain patch
A pain patch is used for the management of chronic pain, which is applied at the site and helps in managing pain by slowly releasing the drug on the area of the skin. These can be used for managing mild to severe pain.
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