Rehabilitation medicine physician Michael Stubblefield of Memorial Sloan-Kettering says that pain after cancer treatment can have a significant impact on a patient’s ability to move and function normally. Having precise information about the cause of a patient’s pain helps doctors develop the most appropriate treatment strategy, which may include a combination of physical and occupational therapies and medications that target the source of pain.
When possible, Dr. Stubblefield chooses pain medications that offer the biggest benefit to patients with the least amount of side effects. Drugs that affect the central nervous system, such as duloxetine (Cymbalta®) and pregabalin (Lyrica®), can relieve pain caused by conditions such as neuropathy (nerve damage). Steroid injections and anti-inflammatory drugs such as celecoxib (Celexa) can help reduce painful muscle spasms and improve mobility in other patients.