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As you age, you’re going to experience more aches and pains. Some of this pain will be acute, meaning it’s short-lived, while others will, unfortunately, experience chronic pain. You don’t just have to grin and bear it. Both acute and chronic pain can be dealt with through pain management.
“Pain management is an important part of senior care because it can vastly improve a senior’s quality of life,” says Scott Houghton, Director of Home Care Services. “ There are a few different types of pain management that can be incorporated into your in-home care routine.”
There are more pain management techniques available to seniors than you may have originally thought. Before discussing the different techniques, it’s important to note that all types of pain management for seniors should be monitored and recommended by your doctor.
The first, perhaps most obvious, way to manage pain is through using pain medication. However, before you simply go to your medicine cabinet and pull out ibuprofen, it’s important to note that as you age, your body reacts differently to all medications. The safest pain reliever for seniors will be one prescribed by your doctor.
Seniors have a higher likelihood of having a negative reaction to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs due to the way your body processes these medications. These kinds of drugs include name brands like Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and Naprosyn. That’s not to say you can’t take these, but it should be approved by your doctor first. Other medications you may be recommended to use as part of your in-home care include paracetamol (acetaminophen), Aspirin, opioid medicines and local anesthetics.
Physical therapy can help seniors with pain management. Hot and cold packs can provide relief, while exercise helps to strengthen muscles and lessen the strain on affected areas. It’s important to choose ways of moving that you find sustainable, like yoga. Massage and hydrotherapy can also relieve pain and provide the relaxation necessary for proper management.
Living with pain can be difficult. A therapist can help you learn mental coping techniques that will help you avoid mental illness, like depression. Being mentally well can greatly impact your ability to live with and manage pain. A therapist may also be able to help you get in touch with a support group, so you feel supported by others who truly understand.
Some seniors find that methods like acupuncture are very effective in helping them manage pain. An acupuncturist may be able to show you pressure points that you can address for in-home care when you don’t have an appointment scheduled.
Pain isn’t a normal part of aging, even if an aging body may be more prone to it. Managing pain is an important part of senior care, because it allows you to continue to do what you love which is vital in maintaining your mental health. Also, if you’re managing your pain, you’re more likely to get your body moving. Staying active is also critical to healthy aging. If you or a loved one is living with pain, take the necessary steps to address it, so you can reclaim your life.
If you feel like you’re noticing more aches and pains as you go about your daily activities, don’t wait to talk to your doctor about pain management. There’s so much you can do even outside of medication for at-home care. Find the right strategy for you, so you can live life to the fullest.
Fedelta is your go-to resource for in-home caregivers. Make sure to reach out to one of our experts to get your free consultation today.