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Post Radiation Pain

lociee's picture
lociee
Posts: 103
Joined: Apr 2009

I've had 37 radiation treatments. They ended in late May. By June I was experiencing lower back pain. My oncologist said it was not from radiation. Now the pain has gone to my hips and down my legs. I feel so weak - and often the pain makes me nauseous. Has anyone else experienced this kind of pain from radiation? I was initially very afraid of the whole radiation thing - and at one point stopped - but went back - now I'm so mad at myself for continuing and ending up a cripple! I've always been very physical - work out 5-6 times a week - even when I was in treatment (Chemo & radiaiton). Now I can barely put socks on.

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

If the pain seems to start in your butt and radiate down your leg, I'd guess siatica (sp??) which probably isn't related to the radiation.

But I was wondering if you had IMRT radiation, a CT-scan/computer regulated type of external radiation that automatically shields the uninvolved tissue and organs and bones, cutting way down on the 'friendly fire' factor of radiation. Direct radiation of bones can weaken the large bones and if you think that may be the case, I'd be asking for an Xray of my bones to see if I had any hairline fractures that might be accounting for this pain. I had 28 external IMRT radiation treatments and 3 internal brachy radiation rounds, and haven't had any pain during or since treatment of any kind. ((((BIG HUG))))

lociee's picture
lociee
Posts: 103
Joined: Apr 2009

I've had siatica pain before - this is different. This sounds stupid, but I'm not sure about the radiation. I know I had full pelvic radiation 25X - and 6 direct treatments to the tumor. The first 25 would probably fall into the "friendly fire" variety. I have a call in to radiology - and have an appointment next monday with my reg. oncologist - so will check out the fracture possibility. Thanks! How ironic. Cancer gets controlled, but I hobble around like an old lady with new pain.

deanna14
Posts: 733
Joined: Oct 2008

I have not had any back, hip or leg pain from radiation. I do get stiff and uncomfortable if I sit or stand too long. I have decreased flexibility in my hips. I don't know if radiation contributed, or just the HUGE decrease in my activity level in the last year. I would highly recommend discussing this with your radiation oncologist. I don't think you should be having that much trouble.
Good luck to you.

kellyw314
Posts: 51
Joined: Jan 2007

I too had 27 external radiation treatments - about 8 months post treatment, I woke with agonizing pain in my right lower back -responded "ok" with alleve, but visited a chiropractor 2 weeks later - diagnosed me as having sciatic nerve pain and "adjusted" me for 5 days in a row - left for vacation and agony increased - returned to see an orthopedic who confirmed chiro diagnois and now on 8 pain pills daily with minimum relief - regular follow-up with gyn-onc about 4 weeks later and still in a lot of pain - he ordered CT scan which suggested fracture of right sacrum bone - confirmed by follow-up MRI - I believe chiro fractured sacrum with "adjustments" as gyn-onc said there is no way to protect this area with radiation - you may have a hairline fracture and MRI to confirm diagnosis
kellyw

lociee's picture
lociee
Posts: 103
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Kelly, what happened after the diagnosis? Has the pain cleared up? Is there something I can take to make all of this go away?

kellyw314
Posts: 51
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi Lociee,

My back pain took about 10-12 weeks to ease up - I could walk short distances without pain and stand up from a chair and roll over in my bed = the sacrum bone needed to heal from its fracture - I have long term effects in that standing at the kitchen counter for extended time causes right lower back to ache as well as standing and walking for longer than 45 minutes - my "shopaholic" days are shorter or I sit for a few "recovery" minutes - I am able to play golf, but need to take a cart now - my earlier game would have had me walk the 1st 9 holes and ride the 2nd 9 holes - I have taken to swimming to strengthen my "core" and it has improved my weakened back - will pop 2 alleve if I know I am undertaking extra exercise

kelly

lociee's picture
lociee
Posts: 103
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Kelly, I saw the doctor yesterday. He said it was too early for a fracture from radiation. He ordered an MRI on my back. We'll see. Anyway, I got information about my radiation that I wish I had had before! I asked him how much radiation he had given me - and if I got the same as a women who weighed 200 lbs. In other words, how are radiation amounts decided? Turns out that I got super turbo radiation because I had a large existing tumor that had spread. I NEVER would have agreed to that, because of the chances of side effects. I stupidly thought that radiation was radiation. One zap was the same as another. I was so wrong. Why didn't I think to ask this before. What an idiot!!!! I think doctors should share with us the amount of radiation they are giving. Oh.... he also said that when there is a fracture, that flossenais (sp?) is good.

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