Acupuncture & Cancer Pain

Treating pain can be difficult, regardless of its origin, but treating cancer pain can be particularly tricky because it often has multiple causes.

According to Paley, et. al.: “Moderate to severe pain is experienced by 40% of individuals with early or intermediate stage cancer and 90% of individuals with advanced cancer. Up to 70% of all patients with cancer pain do not receive adequate pain relief, diminishing their quality of life in terms of both physical and psychological well-being.”

Tumors can compress structures, nerves can become irritated, inflammation multiplies, bones and organs can be taxed in their response to tumors or therapies – each pain is complex and often will often be prescribed a new therapy or drug in response. 

But, acupuncture provides an accessible and safe alternative to pain management without the need of added pharmaceuticals.

In a recent position paper published by the research group Evidence Based Acupuncture, a literature review showed that many studies found a moderate effect size of acupuncture on cancer-related pain, and concluded that: “…acupuncture is effective in relieving cancer related pain, particularly malignancy-related and surgery induced pain.”

Here at Maryville Acupuncture, our practitioners utilize their years of experience treating pain of all sorts.

Each visit, your acupuncturist will assess the quality, intensity, duration and frequency of your pain, as well as your current treatment regimens with your oncologist and other physicians.

We strive to be another source of excellent care as part of your integrated healthcare team.

Resources:

“Acupuncture as a Therapeutic Treatment for Cancer Pain.” Evidence Based Acupuncture, www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/acupuncture-cancer-pain/.

Paley, C.A., Johnson, M.I., Tashani, O.A. and Bagnall, A.M., 2011. Acupuncture for cancer pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev1(10).

What Happens During a New Patient Acupuncture Appointment?

I’ve heard that acupuncture can help me, but what happens during an acupuncture treatment?

When you come to our office for your first visit, you’ll be greeted warmly by one of our staff. You may have some new patient paperwork to complete – we keep all digital records – and will send you an email with a link to the paperwork or if you prefer to fill out the paperwork in office we’ll hand your our office tablet to work with.

Once your paperwork is complete, your acupuncturist will escort you back to the treatment room. She’ll begin by talking to you about the reasons you’re seeking acupuncture, as well as your relevant health history. She’ll also make sure to answer any questions you have regarding acupuncture and how it can help. Once your questions have been answered, she’ll leave the room and allow you to undress – most people choose to undress as if they were to have a massage, clothes off, underwear on – and get comfortable under the sheet on the table. If you have any questions please take the time to ask, we want you to feel comfortable.

When your acupuncturist returns, she will assess you – feel your pulse, palpate your channels, gauge your muscle tension, and other assessments to complete her diagnosis. She’ll then insert very thin, fine acupuncture needles at specific points in your body to support your symptoms. Once she’s completed the first set, your acupuncturist will leave the room so you can rest for 10-15 minutes. She’ll return, do another assessment, maybe add or take away some needles, and then let you rest for 10-15 minutes more. 

After your treatment, your acupuncturist will return to remove the needles. She’ll leave the room so you can take your time getting up and getting dressed. Once you’re ready, you’ll open the door and your acupuncturist will join you to talk about her evaluation and treatment plan, the changes you can expect and when to return. 

We usually book 1.5 hours for new patient visits and 1 hour for follow up visits. We can absolutely help you schedule your next appointment before you leave our office or you are welcome to utilize our online scheduler

Here at Maryville Acupuncture, it’s important to us that you feel comfortable and informed about your treatment, so we want to make sure all your questions are answered. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone or email if we can help at all!