By Princess Gabbara, blackdoctor.org
There are approximately 60,000 people living with multiple myeloma (MM) in the U.S. and one of the most common effects is bone pain. The pain can be mild or severe depending on the speed of progression and whether fracture or nerve compression has occurred. The good news is that you can do something about it. “People with MM should be prepared to try out a combination of pain therapies to relieve their bone pain,” confirms Dr. Bola Oyeyipo, a family physician in San Antonio, Texas and co-founder of Healthgist.com.
“The first option would be to try out over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory agents like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve),” Dr. Oyeyipo says. “This class of medication is very effective for treating bone pain.”
It’s extremely important to point out that although over-the-counter medications can help relieve pain, they can also interfere with cancer treatment and cause serious complications, so be sure to talk with your doctor first.
If your pain is on the severe side, you’ll most likely need something stronger like Morphine, Vicodin and OxyContin. “If anti-inflammatories are not producing the desired pain relief, opioid pain medications could be [added],” Dr. Oyeyipo says. “Opioids have a high addiction potential, but this side effect is of less concern when treating pain in cancer patients as is the case with multiple myeloma.”
If you suffer from neuropathy, antidepressants and antiepileptics are known to help treat the pain. Anticonvulsants can also help treat neuropathy, as well as postherpetic neuralgia.
In extreme cases, radiation therapy is used to relive bone pain from MM by targeting specific areas of the body where the patient is experiencing the pain. “Radiation helps control localized pain by shrinking the tumor size thereby relieving the pressure pain from the tumor,” Dr. Oyeyipo says.
In addition to medication, consider speaking with your doctor about incorporating alternative treatments, including physical therapy, acupuncture, meditation, and music therapy. “Non-medicinal modalities like physical therapy and acupuncture can help with mild to moderate bone pain,” Dr. Oyeyipo says. “They also work well as adjuvants to the mainstay pain control regimen of anti-inflammatories and opioids.”