Conservative Treatments for Post-Mastectomy Pain

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chest pain

Post-mastectomy pain is a form of chronic pain associated with post-surgery breast cancer operations, including mastectomies, lumpectomies, and axillary lymph node dissections. Pain in this arena has been described as burning, shooting, and stabbing sensations, as well as aching, throbbing, or oppressive pain. This condition can start several months post-surgery and has been known to persist three or more years.
Post-mastectomy pain is often the result to an injury during surgery. It can be to sensory nerves in the axilla (underarm) or breast areas. Formation of after-surgery scar tissue can be another issue.
Pain management programs can be designed to treat the symptoms of post-mastectomy pain.
Physical Therapy
Physical therapy looks to correct symptoms of post-mastectomy pain. Physical therapists will tailor a program for your specific condition. Listening to their counsel will be critical because exercise that isn’t done correctly can exacerbate the situation. The overall goal of physical therapy will be to reduce pain, gradually rebuild tolerance and return to normal function.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy approaches post-mastectomy pain by teaching sufferers about pain and what they can do about it. A practical, hands-on approach to thinking, this is goal oriented psychotherapy that tackles the symptoms behind our difficulties with a greater understanding of how specific pain is affecting us physically and psychologically, sufferers can better prepare to manage that pain.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, is a therapeutic procedure that incorporates low voltage electrical current. TENS utilizes a pocket-sized machine powered by battery. You connect its electrodes to the skin surface, often in the range of a pressure point or area of pain. The current travels along nerve fibers, transmitting messages to the brain that block pain signals. Members of the medical community believe TENS also enhances the production of endorphins and blocking pain perception.

Relaxation techniques are a promising post-mastectomy pain treatment. They help sufferers better understand their bodies, pain, and how to deal with it. Relaxation techniques walk you through relieving stress associated with pain. Through increased body awareness and exercise, we learn how to quiet the mind and slow down the body. Pain is more likely to dissipate as you develop a stronger emotional stability and counteract the physical reaction to pain.
It is important to develop management for post-mastectomy pain as early as possible before its negative impact greatly disrupts our quality of life. Any post-cancer surgery pain can be addressed with safe and practical manners.

Posted on behalf of Allied Pain & Spine Institute