How to Deal With Neck Pain From Radiation Therapy
Neck pain from radiation therapy is a common side effect that can occur for anyone receiving radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. It may cause stiffness, tightness or pain in the neck and shoulders – an uncomfortable sensation that may be difficult to bear. Fortunately, there are ways to manage these symptoms.
Radiation therapy typically produces acute effects that usually subside after treatments are completed. If you experience any side effects, speak to your doctor about ways to minimize them.
Physiotherapy can help increase flexibility and range of motion. Your doctor may suggest exercises that stretch the neck and shoulder muscles, and a physiotherapist can demonstrate effective techniques for relieving pain and stiffness.
Anti-nerve pain drugs may also be prescribed to reduce the sensation of ache or sharp pain in your neck and shoulders. A physiotherapist can show you how to apply heat or massage on the area to ease any discomfort that arises.
Botulinum toxin A injections are also effective at treating neck muscle spasms, which often occur in the sternocleidomastoid muscle (a thick band of muscles connecting your throat and jaw). While these spasms can be painful and make swallowing difficult, botulinum toxin A injections provide temporary relief from these spasms.
It could be due to an issue in your immune system or blood cells. If this is the case, then it could take time for things to clear up. Visit a doctor or nurse as soon as you start feeling achy and get prescribed medicine to address these concerns.
Your lymph system is a network of vessels and nodes throughout your body that transports clear fluid with cells to fight infections. If this system has been damaged by radiation or surgery, it won’t function as efficiently; leading to facial, neck, and chest swelling.
Today, the risk of late effects from radiation treatment are lower than in years past due to changes in how it’s administered. This explains why some people with cancer can go years without experiencing a recurrence of their disease.
Additionally, you may be able to reduce some side effects of radiation therapy by eating nutritious foods and staying physically active. Not only will this improve how you feel physically, but it can make treatment more comfortable as well.
Talk to your doctor about using a humidifier, which can assist with breathing and reduce some side effects from radiation therapy. Additionally, it will keep skin hydrated and prevent dry mouth.
Maintaining adequate hydration during and after radiation therapy is essential to ensure you remain at a healthy weight. Drinking plenty of water will help you stay hydrated.
Be sure to discuss a diet that provides ample nutrients with your doctor. Furthermore, ensure you consume an appropriate breakfast and sufficient fiber each morning.