Aching. Burning. Stinging. That’s the way many seniors with chronic pain explain what they live with on a regular basis. Chronic pain may appear anywhere in the body, sometimes for no apparent reason at all. It’s defined by pain that lasts for more than 3 months, either nonstop or off and on. And it is more common than you might presume, affecting one in four of us in the US.
As you can imagine, such perpetual pain can have a huge impact on a senior’s wellbeing. Not only does it affect the ability to complete daily physical activities and responsibilities, it also causes psychological strain too, commonly causing anxiety, fatigue, swift changes in moods, depression, insomnia, and more.
Medical Treatments for Seniors with Chronic Pain
Numerous factors go into the determination of how to best support a senior with chronic pain, including the suspected or established source 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 alleviate pain, including treatment for any emotional effects being experienced.
Furthermore, the physician may wish to try an epidural steroid injection, nerve block, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which involves small electric impulses delivered via skin patches.
There may be undesirable side effects from these forms of treatments, and some are quite serious, so the physician will want to carefully examine what works best for the senior.
Lifestyle Changes for Seniors with Chronic Pain
Changes in lifestyle for seniors are often a good starting point, as they can be accomplished immediately without any negative impacts. Several recommendations from our experts in home care in Reisterstown, MD and the surrounding areas include:
- Dietary changes. Particular foods can cause inflammation, which could exacerbate pain. An anti-inflammatory diet that cuts out refined carbohydrates and red meat may be recommended by the doctor or a nutritionist.
- Stress reduction. Heightened stress levels can have a substantial effect on chronic pain. There are a variety of strategies to bring down stress that can help, including deep breathing, meditation or prayer, taking a warm, relaxing bath, reading, or listening to calming music.
- Exercise. Though it may seem difficult to think of physical activity while in pain, low-intensity workouts are in fact worthwhile, and can also help with alleviating stress. Ask the physician for specific suggestions.
- Rest. Sufficient sleep is key to general health and wellness. There’s also a link between sleep deficiency and weight gain, an element that can further exacerbate chronic pain. Let the physician know if insomnia is a problem so they can provide guidance on safe methods to strengthen sleep habits.
Home Care Can Help Seniors with Chronic Pain
Let the senior care team at Home With You Senior Care, award-winning provider of home care in Reisterstown, MD and the nearby areas, help a senior you love better navigate life with chronic pain. There are countless ways our caregivers can improve quality of life, including:
- Companionship – having someone to talk to and engage in enjoyable activities with is a good mood-booster
- Motivation to take part in recommended exercise programs
- Healthy meals
- Assistance with housework and laundry
- Medication reminders
- Transportation to medical appointments and anywhere else a senior would like to go
- Plus much more