Aching. Stinging. Burning. That is the way many seniors with chronic pain express how they feel on a daily basis. Chronic pain can happen anywhere in the body, at times for no clear reason whatsoever. It’s defined as pain that continues for more than 3 months, either nonstop or off and on. And it is more prevalent than you might imagine, affecting 25 percent of us in the United States. Finding something that improves the management of chronic pain can feel daunting. But there is hope.
As you can imagine, such long-term pain can have a dramatic effect on a senior’s total wellbeing. Not only does it affect the ability to perform daily physical tasks and activities, it also creates psychological pressure too, commonly leading to anxiety, exhaustion, mood swings, depression, insomnia, and more.
Medical Intervention to Treat Chronic Pain
A number of elements go into the decision of how to best assist a senior with chronic pain, including the presumed or known root cause of the pain, how significant the pain is, where in the body it happens, and age/overall health. There are quite a few medication-based treatments to ease pain, including treatment for any psychological effects being experienced.
Also, the physician may wish to try an epidural steroid injection, nerve block, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which involves small electric impulses delivered through skin patches.
There can be uncomfortable side effects from these forms of treatments, and a few are very serious, so the physician will want to carefully assess what works best for the senior.
Lifestyle Changes for Chronic Pain
Encouraging seniors to make lifestyle changes tends to be an effective place to start, as they can be implemented immediately without any negative impacts. Several suggestions from our senior helpers in Des Moines and the nearby areas include:
- Dietary changes. Certain foods are known to cause inflammation, which could exacerbate pain. An anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates refined carbohydrates and red meat might be recommended by the doctor or a nutritionist.
- Stress reduction. Elevated stress levels can have a significant impact on chronic pain. There are a variety of strategies to reduce stress that can help, like yoga, deep breathing, meditation or prayer, taking a warm, relaxing bath, reading, or listening to calming music.
- Exercise. Though it may seem tough to think of exercising while in pain, low-intensity workouts are in fact beneficial, and can also help with relieving stress. Ask the physician for specific tips.
- Rest. Sufficient sleep is key to general health and wellness. There is also a connection between sleep deficiency and weight gain, something that can further intensify chronic pain. Let the doctor know if insomnia is a problem so they can provide guidance on safe techniques to improve sleep habits.
Home Care Improves the Management of Chronic Pain
Let At-Home Care Company’s senior helpers in Des Moines and the surrounding areas help a senior you love improve the management of chronic pain. There are a lot of ways our care providers can help, including:
- Companionship – having someone to talk to and engage in enjoyable activities with is a wonderful mood-booster
- Motivation to take part in advised exercise programs
- Medication reminders
- Transportation to medical appointments and any place else a senior would like to go
- And much more