The Cancer Information Service offers some alternative pain-control suggestions along with a couple of helpful resources that you could ask for.
l Relaxation techniques, such as visual concentration and breathing exercises relieve pain by reducing tension in the muscles.
l Biofeedback helps people control their heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension with special machines. Biofeedback is usually used with other pain relief methods.
l Imagery means using your imagination to create mental pictures or situations to reduce pain. The relief can last during imagery and for hours afterward.
l Hypnosis is a trance-like state between sleeping and waking. It can be used to block the awareness of pain or to substitute another feeling for pain.
l Skin stimulation involves applying massage, pressure, vibration, heat, cold and menthol preparations to the skin or near the area of pain to reduce or block the feeling of pain.
l Acupuncture is a widely accepted method of pain relief. Thin needles are inserted into the body at certain points for 15 to 30 minutes. Each point controls the pain sensation of a different part of the body. No discomfort is felt when the needles are in place or removed.
For all of these alternative pain-control treatments, your father will need expert advice and assistance. This certainly is not a do-it-yourself list.
For free copies of the National Cancer Institute booklets "Pain Control: A guide for People with Cancer and Their Families" and "Understanding Pain Control," call the Cancer Information Service at (800) 4-CANCER.
-- If you have a question or comment for "Sense for Seniors," write to Betty Gibb, Kansas Senior Press Service, 11875 S. Sunset, Suite 200, Olathe 66061.