Consider Use of TENS for Relief of Mesothelioma Pain
Mesothelioma is a painful and often debilitating disease for many patients. Pain that is so severe and chronic that it causes a rise in blood pressure and/or pulse rate can effect the survival of a patient. Finding an effective means to manage the pain is important for the overall treatment of a patient with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma, an unusual form of cancer which can take up to five decades to be properly diagnosed, is responsible for approximately 3,000 new cases each year in the United States. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, it can be treated with varying degrees of success through the use of surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation.
Types of Mesothelioma Pain
Mesothelioma tumors are invasive and can grow into nerves and muscles causing excruciating pain. The pain can come on quickly as in acute pain, or it can be continuous and ongoing, as in chronic pain. Pain can also be caused from the treatment regimen as well as any underlying conditions such as arthritis.
Mesothelioma surgery is another source of pain that typically lasts four to six weeks, but will dissipate as you recover from the surgery. Some patients, however, report pain at the incision site that is long lasting and is difficult to eliminate. Typically pain is treated through strong narcotics.
Use of TENS
An alternative to narcotics, is a process called transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation or TENS. TENS lessens pain by sending painless electrical impulses through electrodes placed on the skin. The electrical signals travel from the TENS unit through wires to the electrodes.
The signal then passes to the nerves under the skin sending messages to the brain describing sensations such as touch, warmth, pressure, and pain. TENS sends tingling sensations that replace the message of pain on these nerves changing your impression of the pain. Thus resulting in temporary relief.
The TENS signals may also increase the amount of endorphins, a pain-relieving chemical made naturally by your body, providing additional relief.
TENS is an FDA-approved device that may be covered by Medicare. A prescription is required by your physician and will often call for various trials to determine if the treatment is effective for the relief of your mesothelioma-related pain. As with any pain relief, TENS may not be effective for everyone.
A prescription for the device may be either short-term for acute pain or for an extended period of time for managing chronic pain. Work with your mesothelioma specialist to determine for how long a TENS device can be effective for you.