Chronic pain is an unfortunate reality for many elderly people. As we age, our bodies become more fragile. Osteoarthritic, musculoskeletal, neuropathic, and chronic joint pain are all common and difficult to treat.
These issues make everyday activities incredibly challenging, often causing sufferers to withdraw into a sedentary lifestyle. While these issues cannot be completely cured, taking steps deal with chronic pain can slow the aging process and prevent these health issues from getting worse.
The guidelines below are six simple no-brainer steps that will help any senior citizen deal with chronic pain easily.
1. Maintaining an Active Lifestyle
Living a sedentary lifestyle is one of the primary causes of chronic pain. Our bodies need to stay in motion to keep fit. Simple tasks like getting up from a chair or walking around can become incredibly challenging, as our muscles can degrade to a point where they can no longer support our bodies.
So as soon as mobility starts to become an issue, or you discover that your body fat scale reading is getting higher than it should be, then it's very important that you get as much daily activity you can.
2. Taking Medication
When prescribed by a doctor, medication can be incredibly effective at treating the symptoms of chronic pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs can treat the muscular issues that cause pain, and aspirin can treat the effects. If these medications are not powerful enough, many doctors prescribe opiate medications to improve the patient's quality of life.
Unfortunately, opiates have many side effects. If used incorrectly, they can quickly turn into a drug problem. If the pain is reversible, opiates can be used to manage the symptoms while the sufferer receives treatment.
For long term treatment, it's often recommended that patients take Palmitoylethanolamide. Also known as PEA, this drug is a naturally occurring substance that is responsible for a large number of biological functions. It's proven itself to be a highly effective treatment for chronic pain, without any of the addictive qualities or negative side effects found with opiates.
3. TENS Therapy
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, abbreviated as TENS, is a popular treatment for chronic pain caused by muscular issues. A TENS unit is a small electrical device with two electrodes. A low voltage current passes through the skin and into the muscle tissue, creating impulses that are detected by the central nervous system.
The current stimulates the nerves, reducing the pain to a manageable level. There are no side effects, making this a popular alternative to addictive medications.
4. Chiropractic Care & Massage Therapy
Inflammation and muscle tension can, over time, cause your joints to shift out of their natural positions. Over time, your bones and joints can shift. This permanently reduces mobility and increases pain levels. Chiropractors can manually reposition bones into their correct places, reducing the effects of chronic pain.
Massage therapists attack this problem from a different angle, forcing tense or imbalanced muscles to relax. In serious cases, these treatments are only temporarily effective. But regular appointments can drastically improve comfort levels.
5. Assisted Living
Chronic pain can get to a point where basic self-care is simply not possible. Nutrition and hygiene are essential to slowing the aging process. Elderly patients should have a live-in caretaker or relocate to a group home so that all of their basic needs are met.
When chronic pain results in mobility issues, maintaining a social life is an impossible task. Assisted living can address the physical problems, but a group home addresses the mental health consequences of an isolated lifestyle.
6. Reduce Stress
For people who suffer from chronic pain, stress can be a major problem. Our body reacts to stress with increased blood pressure and muscle tension. This amplifies the pain, creating a cycle that is hard to break. Fortunately, the treatment is easy. Simple things like spending time in the sun, visiting with loved ones, or even a phone call to a friend can reduce stress and provide the body with a chance to relax.