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Chronic Pain among Cancer Survivors

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Living in chronic pain is a fate worse than death in my experience. I say this because as a long-term cancer survivor, I suffer from chronic pain off and on depending on the source, the type, etc. In my case it’s the type of pain that is severe enough to bother me but not severe enough to go see a doctor about it. I know that my chronic pain could be a lot worse.

Chronic pain is an elusive long-term side effect resulting from

  • neuropathy (nerve pain from inflammation from chemo or radiation)
  • radiation fibrosis (radiation scaring- inflammation)
  • muscle pain (inflammation)
  • organ damage (again, inflammation)

It is well-established that chemotherapy and radiation cause Inflammation  and that  inflammation causes pain. Therefore your chemotherapy and/or radiation to treat your cancer caused chronic inflammation which, in turn, caused your pain.

If you are a long-term cancer survivor like me, your goal is to reduce or even eliminate your pain without causing dependency or other possible side effects.

Which is why I’ve linked and excerpted the studies below.

  • Cannabis-based medicine,
  • Conolidine,
  • Acupuncture

All treat pain- with few if any side-effects. I get acupuncture weekly, I take CBD oil (Charlotte’s Web) before bed once or twice a week and I have not yet researched much about conolidine.

To Learn More About Traditional Chinese Medicine- click now

Are you a long-term cancer survivor with chronic pain? What therapies to you undergo to reduce, stop your pain? Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

New Guidelines for Cannabis in Chronic Pain Management Released

“”But I would strongly argue that I would use cannabis-based medicine (CBM) over opioids every time. Why would you use a high potency-high toxicity agent when there’s a low potency-low toxicity alternative?” he said.

Developed by a group of Canadian researchers, clinicians, and patients the guidelines note that cannabinoid-based medicines (CBM) may help clinicians offer an effective, less addictive, alternative to opioids in patients with chronic noncancer pain and comorbid conditions..

Overall, the guidelines place a high value on improving chronic pain, functionality, and addressing co-occurring conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and depression, mobility, and inflammation. They also provide practical dosing and formulation tips to support the use of CBM in the clinical setting…

In the current guidelines, all of the four studies specifically addressing combined opioids and vaporized cannabis flower demonstrated further pain reduction, reinforcing the conclusion that the benefits of CBM for improving pain control in patients taking opioids outweigh the risk of nonserious adverse events (AEs), such as dry mouth, dizziness, increased appetite, sedation, and concentration difficulties…”

New study further advances the treatment of chronic pain

“Scientists have demonstrated that conolidine, a natural painkiller derived from the pinwheel flower and traditionally used in Chinese medicine, interacts with the newly identified opioid receptor ACKR3/CXCR7 that regulates opioid peptides naturally produced in the brain. The researchers also developed a synthetic analogue of conolidine, RTI-5152-12, which displays an even greater activity on the receptor…”

Synthesis of conolidine, a potent non-opioid analgesic for tonic and persistent pain

“Management of chronic pain continues to represent an area of great unmet biomedical need. Although opioid analgesics are typically embraced as the mainstay of pharmaceutical interventions in this area, they suffer from substantial liabilities that include addiction and tolerance, as well as depression of breathing, nausea and chronic constipation. Because of their suboptimal therapeutic profile, the search for non-opioid analgesics to replace these well-established therapeutics is an important pursuit. Conolidine is a rare C5-nor stemmadenine natural product recently isolated from the stem bark of Tabernaemontana divaricata (a tropical flowering plant used in traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic and Thai medicine). Although structurally related alkaloids have been described as opioid analgesics, no therapeutically relevant properties of conolidine have previously been reported. Here, we describe the first de novo synthetic pathway to this exceptionally rare C5-nor stemmadenine natural product, the first asymmetric synthesis of any member of this natural product class, and the discovery that (±)-, (+)- and (-)-conolidine are potent and efficacious non-opioid analgesics in an in vivo model of tonic and persistent pain.”

What the Science Says About the Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine


Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body, usually by inserting thin needles through the skin. Studies suggest that acupuncture stimulates the release of the body’s natural painkillers and affects areas in the brain involved in processing pain; however, some trials suggest that real acupuncture and sham acupuncture are equally effective, indicating a placebo effect. Results from a number of studies, however, suggest real acupuncture may help ease types of pain that are often chronic, such as low-back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis/knee pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. It also may help reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches. For more information, see NCCIH’s acupuncture fact sheet.

Acupuncture May Reduce Inflammation via Vagus Nerve Pathways


  • Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique used to treat chronic pain and illnesses associated with systemic inflammation.
  • Eastern medicine views acupuncture as a way to redirect the flow of “life force” or vital “Qi energy” along meridian pathways within the body.
  • Western medical researchers recently identified how acupuncture triggers an an anti-inflammatory response via autonomic vagus nerve pathways…

Acupuncture Activates Inflammation-Regulating Pathways via the Vagus Nerve

Qiufu Ma is a neurobiologist who studies the fundamental mechanisms of pain and has been curious about the biological underpinnings of acupuncture for many years. About seven years ago, Ma’s curiosity about how the vagus nerve might mediate acupuncture’s anti-inflammatory potential was piqued by a paper (Torres-Rosas et al., 2014) which found that using electroacupuncture to stimulate the vagal-adrenal axis alleviated systemic inflammation in mice. His curiosity was “further intensified” by research (Koopman et al., 2016) published in PNAS by Kevin Tracey and colleagues at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research showing that vagus nerve stimulation tames inflammatory responses and lessens rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in humans. (See, “Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation.”)

Last year, Ma’s team successfully used an electroacupuncture technique to calm “cytokine storms” in mice with systemic inflammation. This study established that activating somatosensory autonomic reflexes plays a vital role in how electroacupuncture stimulation (ES) reduces systemic inflammation. These findings (Liu et al., 2020) were published in the peer-reviewed journal Neuron. In a follow-up study (Liu et al., 2021), Ma and his HMS colleagues unearthed a neuroanatomical basis for how electroacupuncture reduces inflammation. This ES study in mice pinpoints a specific subset of sensory neurons that appear to trigger an anti-inflammatory response via the vagal-adrenal axis. “Here we show that PROKR2Cre-marked sensory neurons are crucial for driving the vagal-adrenal axis,” the authors explain. These findings were published on October 13 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.



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