Though back pain can affect people of all ages, it is more prevalent in the elderly due to conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis or because of the higher risk of serious injury. If your senior loved one is experiencing back pain, either chronic or acute, there are ways to help make the symptoms less severe. Scottsdale at-home care experts have a few suggestions for helping your loved one manage back pain.
See the Doctor
Back pain has many causes. If your loved one’s pain worsens or persists, take him or her to the doctor. Back pain can indicate diseases that need to be diagnosed and require special treatment. The doctor can also provide medications and physical therapy recommendations that ensure your loved one manages his or her back pain as effectively as possible.
Modify the Home
Bending or reaching is often difficult for seniors with persistent back pain. To help your loved one stay comfortable at home, move items from high shelves onto lower ones and avoid storing things on the floor. To make standing and sitting easier for your loved one, install grab bars throughout the home, including near the bed and in the bathroom. You can also modify the toilet to help your loved one move more easily from sitting to standing.
Back pain caused by arthritis can worsen if your loved one doesn’t move regularly. Depending on the severity of the pain, you can modify gentle exercises to help your loved one maintain his or her range of motion. Gardening and swimming are two options many seniors enjoy. Swimming is especially helpful if your loved one needs to strengthen his or her muscles, but needs a low-impact exercise to do so.
Use Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques can help some seniors reduce their overall pain. Hot and cold packs are usually the best options to relax muscles. Make sure to choose the option your loved one is most comfortable with, as ice can increase pain caused by arthritis. Remove ice packs after 10 minutes, and use heating pads and other heat packs carefully to prevent burns.
Assist with Daily Activities
Some seniors have severe back pain that makes it hard to relax or enjoy everyday activities. When your loved one is experiencing severe pain, allow him or her to move at a safe and comfortable pace. If possible, stay with your loved one until the pain subsides, or you can also hire a Scottsdale in-home caregiver to help him or her manage the pain and take care of daily tasks during the times you are not around.
In addition to back pain, the live-in and part-time caregivers at Home Care Assistance are trained to help seniors manage pain resulting from a wide variety of other health conditions. This can be done by assisting with exercise, providing medication reminders and transportation to the doctor’s office, and helping with a wide array of daily tasks. We also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and post-stroke care in Scottsdale. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 480.448.6215 to schedule a free in-home consultation.