“Growing old isn’t for sissies!”
Have your heard one of these or something similar from your senior loved? Some of us have even said them ourselves!
Did you know that complaints of pain are the number one reason people go to the doctor? Pain affects people more than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Pain affects an estimated 70 million Americans.
The prevalence of some of the more painful medical conditions, like arthritis, increase as we age.
As medical care has evolved, the treatment for pain has improved. Unfortunately, many seniors are not receiving the treatment they need to adequately control their pain.
Chronic pain can lead to other problems such as depression, dehydration, malnutrition and functional decline for seniors. Of course, chronic pain can also have a real impact on quality of life, even without those other problems.
A effective pain control treatment plan should include not only pain relief but also working to regain any functional loss that occurred as a result of the chronic pain. For example, many seniors stop walking, have difficulty sleeping and doing other daily activities because of the pain. Getting back to all normal activities should be a goal of treatment.
Elements of Pain Treatment Plans
- Medications – over the counter anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDS) or analgesics are often recommended to control pain. Opiod medications are strong pain medicines that are prescribed by a doctor.
- Non-drug treatments – known as complementary or alternative approaches, such as acupuncture, hypnosis, massage, and meditation
- Exercise, stretching, physical therapy or chiropractic care
- Topical analgesics – numbs the skin surface of the affected area
- Medications that improve mood, such as antidepressants, stimulants and anxiolytics can help with pain and depression
- Injection therapy
- Counseling for emotional support
- Weight loss, if appropriate
- Improve body mechanics – learn how to lift properly, move differently and re-work tasks to reduce associated pain
Seniors have options to relieve their pain and a good healthcare team approach can get them back into life! No one should have to suffer!