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Non-pharmacological pain management is the management of pain without medications. This method utilizes ways to alter thoughts and focus concentration to better manage and reduce pain. Methods of non-pharmacological pain include:
Education and psychological conditioning
Not knowing what to expect with cancer treatment is very stressful. However, if you are prepared and can anticipate what will happen, your stress level will be much lower.
To decrease your anxiety about cancer treatment, consider the following:
Ask for an explanation of each step of a procedure in detail, utilizing simple pictures or diagrams when available.
Meet with the person who will be performing the procedure and write down answers to questions.
Tour the room where the procedure will take place.
Ask what you can expect as an outcome of the treatment.
With hypnosis, a psychologist or doctor guides you into an altered state of consciousness. This helps you to focus or narrow your attention to reduce discomfort.
Methods for hypnosis include:
Imagery: Guiding you through imaginary mental images of sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings can help shift attention away from the pain.
Distraction: Distraction is usually used to help children, especially babies. Using colorful, moving objects or singing songs, telling stories, or looking at books or videos can distract preschoolers. Older children and adults find watching TV or listening to music helpful. Use distraction appropriately, and not in place of an explanation of what to expect.
Relaxation/guided imagery: Guiding you through relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and stretching can often reduce discomfort
Other non-pharmacological pain management may utilize alternative therapies such as comfort therapy, physical and occupational therapy, psychosocial therapy/counseling, and neurostimulation to better manage and reduce pain. Examples of these non-pharmacological pain management techniques include the following:
Comfort therapy may involve the following:
Music, art, or drama therapy
Physical and occupational therapy
Physical and occupational therapy may involve the following:
Tone and strengthening
Psychosocial therapy/counseling may involve the following:
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.