Burning. Stinging. Aching. That is the way many seniors with chronic pain explain how they feel on a daily basis. Chronic pain can happen anywhere in the body, sometimes for no clear reason at all. It’s defined by pain that lasts for more than three months, either constant or coming and going. And it’s more prevalent than you might imagine, affecting a quarter of us in the United States.
As you can imagine, such continuous pain can have a significant effect on a senior’s quality of life. Not only does it influence the capacity to complete daily physical activities and projects, it also brings about psychological tension too, often resulting in anxiety, tiredness, mood swings, depression, insomnia, and more. To ensure overall wellbeing, pain control is essential for those with chronic pain.
Chronic Pain Control: Medical Solutions
Quite a few elements go into the approach of how to effectively help a senior with chronic pain, including the suspected or established cause of the pain, how severe the pain is, where in the body it occurs, and age/overall health. There are a number of medication-based treatments to relieve pain, including treatment for any emotional effects being experienced.
Also, the physician may want to try a nerve block, epidural steroid injection, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which involves small electric impulses delivered through skin patches.
There can be undesirable side effects from these forms of treatments, and some are quite serious, so the physician will need to carefully assess what works best for the senior.
Chronic Pain Control: Lifestyle Changes
Implementing changes in lifestyle for seniors are often an effective place to start, as they can be put in place immediately without any negative effects. Several recommendations from our professional and compassionate team of Topeka caregivers include:
- Dietary changes. Particular foods are known to cause inflammation, which may exacerbate pain. An anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates refined carbohydrates and red meat may be recommended by the doctor or a nutritionist.
- Stress reduction. Elevated stress levels can have a substantial impact on chronic pain. There are a variety of ways to lower stress that can help, like deep breathing, meditation or prayer, taking a warm, relaxing bath, reading, or listening to calming music.
- Exercise. Though it may seem hard to think of exercising while in pain, low-intensity workouts are actually worthwhile, and can also help with reducing stress. Ask the physician for specific ideas.
- Sleep. Adequate sleep is key to all around health and wellness. There is also a link between insufficient sleep and weight gain, something that can further aggravate chronic pain. Let the health care provider know if insomnia is an issue so they can provide guidance on safe techniques to improve sleep habits.
Chronic Pain Control: Home Care Can Help!
- Companionship – having someone to talk to and take part in enjoyable activities with is a good mood-booster
- Motivation to engage in recommended exercise programs
- Healthy meals
- Assistance with housework and laundry
- Medication reminders
- Transportation to medical appointments and any place else a senior would like to go
- And much more