How Do I Manage Brain Tumor Pain?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Managing brain tumor pain can prove very difficult. This is especially true as the tumor grows and presses against the brain tissue. Some options for dealing with the pain include over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, prescription pain relievers, and pain management programs. Cancer treatments that shrink or remove the tumor may help as well. Additionally, self-help techniques may prove helpful for dealing with the discomfort.

One way to manage brain tumor pain is with pain relievers. If you are dealing with an early-stage brain tumor and less severe pain, you may find relief with OTC pain relievers, such as those you would normally use for a headache. For example, ibuprofen or acetaminophen may prove helpful in such a case.

More severe pain, however, may require treatment with a prescription medication. For example, your doctor might prescribe a narcotic drug for dealing with the moderate-to-severe pain caused by a brain tumor. Some of the drugs a doctor can prescribe for dealing with brain tumor pain are codeine, morphine, and oxycodone. Unfortunately, some of these drugs do cause side effects and can be addictive. If your pain is severe, however, the benefits of taking such pain relievers may outweigh the associated risks.


Treatment of a brain tumor may also work to relieve the pain it causes. For example, if you undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy to shrink the tumor, it may do more than improve your prognosis. The shrinking of the tumor may also result in less pain. When possible, surgical treatment to remove the tumor usually results in relief as well. Such treatments help to reduce or eliminate the pressure of the tumor on the brain tissue. As a result of this lessening of pressure, you will likely enjoy relief from the associated pain.

You may also consider a pain management program when you are struggling with brain tumor pain. These programs typically take a combination approach to helping patients control and live with their pain. Often, these programs combine physical therapy techniques with prescription drug treatment plans.

Self-help techniques, such as meditation and relaxation therapy, may also help you deal with the pain caused by a brain tumor. Their effectiveness, however, may depend on the severity of the discomfort you are experiencing. In some cases, such techniques may prove helpful alone, but for severe pain, they may prove more effective when used in conjunction with traditional medicines and treatments.


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