Stinging. Aching. Burning. That is how many older adults with chronic pain express how they feel on an daily basis. Ongoing pain like this may occur anywhere in the body, at times for no evident reason whatsoever. It’s characterized by pain that continues for more than 3 months, either nonstop or off and on. And it’s more common than you may think, affecting 25 percent of us in the US.
As you can imagine, such ongoing pain can have a huge impact on a person’s wellbeing. Not only does it influence the capacity to complete everyday physical tasks and activities, it also causes psychological tension too, often leading to anxiety, fatigue, moodiness, depression, insomnia, and more.
Medical Treatments for Ongoing Pain in Older Adults
Numerous factors go into the decision of how to best assist older adults with chronic pain, including the suspected or known source of the pain, how significant the pain is, where in the body it occurs, and age/overall health. There are quite a few medication-based treatments to alleviate pain, including treatment for any psychological effects being experienced.
In addition, the physician might want to try a nerve block, epidural steroid injection, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, involving small electric impulses delivered via skin patches.
There might be unpleasant side effects from these types of treatments, and a few are very serious, so the doctor will need to carefully assess what works best for the older adult.
Lifestyle Changes for Ongoing Pain in Older Adults
Encouraging older adults to make lifestyle changes is often a good starting place, as they can be accomplished immediately with no negative impacts. Some suggestions from our experts in home care in Belleville, IL and the surrounding areas include:
- Dietary changes. Particular foods can cause inflammation, which can exacerbate pain. An anti-inflammatory diet that cuts out refined carbs and red meat may be recommended by the doctor or a nutritionist.
- Reducing stress. Heightened stress levels can have a significant impact on chronic pain. There are a variety of ways to lower 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 working out while in pain, low-intensity workouts are in fact worthwhile, and can also help with alleviating stress. Ask the doctor for specific suggestions.
- Sleep. Sufficient sleep is key to overall health and wellness. There is also a link between lack of sleep and weight gain, something that can further aggravate chronic pain. Let the doctor know if insomnia is an issue so they can provide assistance with safe ways to improve sleep habits.
Home Care Can Help Older Adults with Ongoing Pain
Allow the aging care team at Morning Glory Home Care, a trusted provider of in-home care in Belleville, IL and the surrounding areas, help an older adult you love better navigate life with ongoing pain. There are a great number of ways our caregivers can improve wellbeing, including:
- Companionship – having someone to talk to and engage in enjoyable activities with is a wonderful mood-booster
- Motivation to take part in recommended exercise programs
- Healthy meals
- Help with housework and laundry
- Medication reminders
- Transportation to medical appointments and any place else a senior would like to go
- Plus much more