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Pain management for spinal tumour

bull699bbull699 Posts: 1
edited 07/06/2015 - 5:49 PM in Pain Medications

Got a close relative who was diagnosed with a spinal tumour around two years ago. Received an operation soon after that and has been on minimal but regular painkillers since then. I know very little on the topic but, since the pain has recently got worse, I promised I'd do what I could to research any online recommendations from a community like yourselves.

She's had radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but she is terminal and not receiving any more treatment as far as I'm aware. Like I said she's been on minimal painkillers (8 paracetamol a day apparently) but they don't seem to be cutting it any more. She can't take codeine as it makes her violently ill but any other suggestions would help.


Welcome to Spine-Health

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--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 07/07/15 00:53est


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    I am very sorry about your relative with the terminal illness.

    Is she keeping her doctors updated with her unmanageable pain?
    They should be able to tweak meds or change meds as each patient is so individual, it may take trial and try again, but to never give up, as comfort is first priority.

    I'm not sure where you are, but I'm in the Midwest , United States.
    For terminally ill patients, we have Hospice. It is very wonderful service and helpful to those in their last stages of life.
    Besides a vast variety of services they provide, they visit patient in their home and help keep that communication with doctor and communicate orders or changing orders from doctor to patient and Hospice RN does all she can to help facilitate those orders to provide for all that is needed.

    They will do the best for pain as that is their main goal....comfort for the patient. Physically with meds, of course, but in all ways ex.. living situation adequate or need more assist for care needed to be provided, mental, emotional, and or spiritual care if wanted. Last time I worked with Hospice, for a loved one, their services were of no added expense to patient.

    Often times, when in such pain, it is near impossible to navigate the system to receive the help needed. Hospice is professionally trained to get through the system to help patient.
    You're involvement is very helpful, also, as you search for what is best and that you are there to help give voice to your relative's situation, esp if she or he is too weak, too much pain, etc...to answer adequately for themselves.

    I wish your loved one the very best...and to you, also, as you search for best comfort measures and services available to help you see she has all she needs.

    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Should be making the recommendations regarding pain medications for your relative. A discussion with her doctors regarding her pain levels and ineffectiveness of her current meds needs to be had from the sounds of it.
    It would be ill advised for any of us to suggest any particular medication since we aren't her doctors.

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  • One of the best thing that you can do is to get educated on the topic. Learn as much as you can about the cancer, the treatments, the doctors involved, the support groups and anything else that you can think of. Read the same scholarly articles and publications that the doctors do. Also learn from people that had the same or similar conditions.

    I don't have experience with cancer so I can only offer my empathy with that but I do have experience with pain and pain treatment. If your relative is not ready for hospice then she will need a pain management specialist to take over the reins for pain management. I am surprised that her physician is only ordering Paracetemol. It's possible that the primary doctor and the oncologist are each thinking the other is going to take over the pain management and there is just some confusion going on.

    No matter the case she's going to need opioid treatment for pain. There are differences among them so there will be trial and error before she finds the right combination and amount. The golden spot is one that removes the pain and only gives the slightest euphoria and without tiredness or nausea.

    Make sure she starts with an opioid that can scale. What I mean by scale is that the medicine can be taken in greater dosages without much harm to the body. Cancer treatment is too complex for this thread and your doctor may have reasons that we others are unaware of. So it comes back to educating yourself as much as possible.

    Best wishes
  • Hi. I'm so sorry. May I ask what country you are in? You say 'Paracetamol' are you in England, Europe? The services available varie from country to country. My great aunt died from cancer recently. She actually went through a stage where she wasn't receiving pain meds because she couldn't tolerate co-codamol/co-dydramol (spell??) etc. there is a HUGE list of meds available to make people more comfortable. The hospice system mentioned previously is available, free of charge, in the UK. again, I'm so sorry.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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