Chronic pain can be a big problem for seniors, although they may not talk about it. Estimates are that as many as 75% of seniors suffer from some type of chronic pain. But many never mention it to their home care providers, children, or doctors because they don’t think there’s anything that can be done to stop the pain. They may not want to go on heavy pain medication or they may just think it’s part of the aging process to be in pain. But it’s not just a part of aging that has to be accepted. Medications can help, and you should talk to your senior loved one’s doctor about medication and pain management. However, there are also lifestyle choices and activities that can help seniors manage chronic pain like:
It’s totally true that the more seniors move the better their health with be. Strength training will help seniors keep their muscles strong and prevent the loss of muscle mass. Walking will increase circulation, lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, and the increased blood flow will make the entire body feel good again. If your senior loved one is not getting at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week you should try to find ways to motivate them to move more.
Chronic pain is often due to inflammation. Diet can be a source of inflammation if seniors are eating food that aren’t healthy or that they can’t process. Many seniors have undiagnosed wheat, dairy, or other allergies that can leave them in pain. You can work with a home care provider to create a diet for your senior loved one that has mostly anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce inflammation and pain for your senior loved one.
Not getting enough sleep can interfere with brain function. When the brain isn’t functioning properly there is a better chance that the brain will misinterpret some of the body’s signals as pain. A home care provider can work with your senior loved one to establish a healthy bedtime and help your senior loved one wind down at night so they can get better sleep.
It’s a classic for a reason. Seniors can use the RICE method to help them deal with chronic pain:
R- Rest legs, arms, and other body parts affected by chronic pain.
I-Ice or cold therapy will reduce inflammation in the affected parts of the body and help promote good blood flow.
C-Compression. Seniors should wear compression socks and other compression garments too if necessary to keep blood flowing well. Good circulation will help reduce chronic pain.
E-Elevation. Whenever possible seniors should sit with their feet up to prevent blood from pooling in the legs and causing pain. Elevating arms and feet will also help reduce painful swelling, especially swelling in the legs and the feet.
Topical creams and OTC pain relievers may help take the edge off chronic pain for seniors but ultimately seniors should rely on the classics to help them manage their chronic pain.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care in Greensboro, NC please contact the caring staff at Affordable Family Care. Serving Raleigh, Greensboro, and the surrounding areas in North Carolina. Call today 919-676-1070.