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Exercise and complementary therapies for pancreatic cancer pain

As well as painkillers and other types of pain relief, some people find that other things help them deal with pancreatic cancer pain. These include physical activity and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture or massage.

Physical activity

Regular physical activity, such as going for a short walk, may help improve your mood and how you feel. It may also help you cope better with your pain, but we need more research to show that it helps people with pancreatic cancer pain.

Speak to your doctor or nurse about what physical activity might help and be suitable for you.

''To deal with pain you have to take it from all angles. Spending time with loved ones, getting out and about and doing something you enjoy can help.’’

Complementary therapies

Some people find that complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and massage, help them deal with pain. Complementary therapies work alongside your medical treatments – don’t stop any cancer treatments.

There isn’t much evidence about complementary therapies, and they don’t work for everyone. But they may help you feel more in control of your pain, which may mean you have less pain. Always speak to your doctor before trying any complementary therapies, as some may affect your cancer treatment. And tell your complementary therapist about your cancer treatment.  

Some common complementary therapies include:

  • acupuncture
  • massage
  • and relaxation therapies such as mindfulness and meditation.

Read more about complementary therapies.

“Complementary therapy made my days and pain more bearable. It gave me a positive focus amidst a day packed with tests.” 

Questions to ask your doctor or nurse

  • What sort of physical activity might help with my pain?
  • Are there any complementary therapies that might help?
  • Can you give me details of any local therapists?

More information on pain and pancreatic cancer

Who can help you to deal with pain?

What causes pain?

Different types of pain

Talking about your pain


Common questions about painkillers

Nerve blocks

Other types of pain relief

Things you can do to deal with pain

Updated February 2019

To be reviewed February 2021

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