Yellow Pages Pixel How to Address Chronic Pain in Seniors

How Can Aging Adults Handle Persistent Pain?

By , 9:00 am on

Statistics indicate up to 88 percent of older adults experience chronic pain. The natural aging process commonly causes weakening of the musculoskeletal system and leads to conditions that cause pain. Various medical conditions are also causative factors. There are a number of methods seniors can consider to address their pain.

Take Medications

Prescription and over-the-counter analgesic medications are commonly recommended for aging adults with chronic pain. Up to 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen may be taken daily. However, if the pain is due to inflammation, prescription or over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended. Many seniors take ibuprofen, naproxen, or similar anti-inflammatory medications. However, routine NSAID use may cause gastrointestinal damage, cardiovascular issues, or kidney problems. Older adults living with nerve pain secondary to autoimmune disorders or diabetes may be prescribed anticonvulsants such as gabapentin, which interferes with nerve pain transmission.

Modify the Diet to Reduce Inflammation

It may be surprising to hear that diet can play a role in inflammation and alleviation of pain symptoms. For example, drinking red wine or consuming too many foods from the nightshade family can cause gout flare-ups. On the other hand, garlic and onions contain chemical compounds that reduce inflammation. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, oregano, and sage are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Including these spices in the diet may alleviate inflammation-related pain. 

A professional caregiver with training in nutrition can be an outstanding source of support for your senior loved one. Senior care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Exercise

Engaging in physical activity strengthens the musculoskeletal system while encouraging flexibility. Seniors living with painful conditions related to muscle, joint, or bone issues often experience relief when exercising. Even seniors who have physical limitations are often able to perform low-impact exercises or some other type of modified physical activity that proves beneficial. 

If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Scottsdale, AZ, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Stop Smoking & Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Older adults who smoke or use other tobacco products should quit. Tobacco products contain nicotine and thousands of other compounds that have toxic effects on the body. Nicotine acts as a stimulant that constricts blood vessels and intensifies pain symptoms. Consuming more than one alcoholic beverage daily increases inflammation throughout the body, which exacerbates pain.

Try Massage Therapy

Stress leads to muscle tightness, which intensifies pain symptoms. When seniors experience pain, their muscles tighten further in response, which may lead to knots and muscle spasms. Massage therapy can loosen muscles by alleviating tension. A massage therapist applies pressure in specific regions of the body to reduce muscle tightness. Getting a massage once or twice weekly may greatly reduce pain symptoms.

Start a Hobby

Occupying the mind and body with activities that require focus and concentration can dull pain sensations. Older adults might want to consider learning a new hobby or enjoying a favorite craft. The brain is particularly active when learning something new, and diverting the mind has been proven to be a wonderful compensating mechanism for seniors who live with chronic pain.

In Scottsdale, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 480.448.6215.