Muscle pain, also known as myalgia, can be described in two different ways:
- a deep, dull, and steady ache
- a quick, random, and sharp ache
The pain may be focused in a specific area or it may be all over your body. The pain may range from mild and manageable to severe and debilitating. Muscle pain is often accompanied by joint pain. Muscle pain can cause fatigue and can sometimes lead to depression if the pain is constant.
The following breast cancer treatments may cause muscle pain:
- radiation therapy
- hormonal therapy:
- Arimidex (chemical name: anastrozole)
- Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane)
- Femara (chemical name: letrozole)
- Evista (chemical name: raloxifene)
- Fareston (chemical name: toremifene)
- Faslodex (chemical name: fulvestrant)
- Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab), a targeted therapy
Bisphosphonates, medicines that are used to protect bones during breast cancer treatment, also may cause muscle pain and stiffness.
Managing muscle pain
- Use warm compresses to help ease discomfort in a specific area.
- Take warm baths to soothe all-over muscle pain.
- Consider massage or acupuncture to relieve muscle aches.
- Talk to your doctor about muscle relaxants to that may help ease your muscle pain.
- Try to do strengthening and flexibility exercises.Yoga can help stretch and strengthen muscles. Make sure the exercise is at a mild to moderate level so you don’t make the muscle pain worse.
- Try bed rest for a few days to let your muscles relax and recover.
- Keep a pain diary that records the severity of the pain, when and where the pain happens, and any pain medications you take. Write down as many details as you can. This will help your doctor find the best treatment for you.
- Try to avoid becoming constipated. If your muscles are in pain, you may be less active, which can lead to constipation. Drink plenty of fluids and make sure you're eating enough fiber.
- Hang in there. Most muscle pain caused by breast cancer treatment medication goes away after you stop taking the medication.
Call your doctor immediately if you have:
- numbness and tingling in your legs
- new or increasing back pain
- loss of bowel and bladder control
- unusual pain that wraps around your waist or chest area
These could be signs of a serious medical condition.
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