Radiation of particular tumors or lesions on the bones also relieves pain. Strontium-89 is an injected radiation treatment that irradiates lesions in bones throughout the body. It usually provides significant pain relief for three to six months.
Strontium-89 treatment affects healthy bone marrow as well. This may result in a drop in the red blood cells used to carry oxygen throughout the body and in platelets needed for blood to clot. This side effect may require treatment itself.(See Low Blood Counts.) Because of this side-effect, Strontium-89 can be used only a few times.
Monthly infusions of pamidronate, which is used to strengthen bones, may also reduce pain.
Eliminating pain can eliminate fatigue, lethargy, stress and lack of interest in normal activities. Working through pain uses a lot of energy and may become a barrier to normal activity.
Alternative methods are often used along with medical methods to relieve pain. Acupuncture has been proven
to relieve some pain. Meditation and visualization are useful. Massage can also help, whether a full-body professional massage or a foot massage by a friend.
The most important thing to remember about pain is you don't need to have it. If a medication doesn't work within a few days, ask your doctor for something else.
You must become a clock-watcher when on pain medication. To work effectively, pain medication must be given before pain starts and on a regular basis to maintain a steady level of medication. Sleeping through a scheduled dose allows pain to reappear. It is much harder to eliminate pain than to prevent it.
Set an alarm clock to remind you when the dosage is due. When you take your medicine, reset the alarm for the next dose. For longer acting drugs, mark your calendar.
If your medication lasts four to six hours, you must get up in the middle of the night to keep on schedule.