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Drug-Free Ways for Seniors to Manage Chronic Pain

How to Manage Chronic Pain
Senior man looking for ways to manage chronic pain

According to the American Pain Foundation, over 40 million Americans annually experience chronic pain. For those over age 65 still living at home, more than 50 percent battle persistent pain. Often, this is caused by underlying medical conditions or illnesses. Many seniors with chronic discomfort also struggle with anxiety, depression, sadness, poor nutrition and limited mobility.

When it happens to an elderly loved one you care about, like a parent, it can make you feel helpless and frustrated. Over the past few decades, physician protocols for treating chronic pain have included numerous prescription medications. However, those drugs only work in half the patients, and sometimes cause serious side effects including dependency and even addiction. The good news is that there are now many proven alternatives for seniors to manage chronic pain that don’t require drugs. Here are a few of the better ones.

Chronic Pain Types

Most chronic pain issues stem from a past injury, surgery or lingering illness, but some are caused by other factors. Here are the most common types of chronic pain reported by seniors:

  • Low back and neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Persistent headaches including migraines
  • Shingles
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia

If you have an aging loved one still living at home suffering from one or more of these painful conditions, it can eventually interfere with their ability to carry out normal daily activities.

Drug-Free Chronic Pain Therapies

On an increasing basis, healthcare professionals are utilizing effective pain management programs that address both a patient’s physical and psychological needs. Therefore, many seniors are turning to drug-free, total mind and body techniques to help manage chronic pain, including:

  • Alternative and integrative therapies. These include approaches like acupuncture, deep massage, spinal manipulations by a licensed chiropractor or osteopath, meditation and biofeedback.
  • Low-impact exercises. Forms of exercise that don’t place a lot of stress on muscles, soft tissues and joints are great as chronic pain relievers. As a result, seniors are increasingly engaging in activities like yoga, walking, water aerobics, swimming or bicycling. There are numerous senior exercise programs now available at hospitals, community senior centers, or the local YMCA and YWCA.
  • Nerve stimulation. Tiny bursts of electricity produced by small medical devices can help block nerve impulses that cause chronic pain. These electrical bursts are delivered through the patient’s skin using wearable, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) devices, or fully implantable units.
  • Psychological approaches. One growing form of chronic pain management is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT educates a senior on how to better cope with their discomfort, while mentally and physically limiting how much pain interferes with their daily activities.
  • Physical therapy. Another treatment option is for the patient to work with a physical therapist to strengthen their muscles, improve range-of-motion, balance and most importantly learn how to avoid certain activities or movements that aggravate their chronic pain.

We Help At-Home Seniors Manage Chronic Pain

If you currently have an elderly family member who’s aging independently at home, finding the time to assist them with their pain-altered daily activities can be difficult. This can be especially hard when you live too far away. Helping in-home seniors manage chronic pain is one of our specialties at Cranberry Home Care. Our dependable, affordable and family-trusted services are delivered by highly-trained and carefully-screened professionals to put your mind at-ease. We provide reliable home care services including companionship, exercise, meal preparation, light housework, transportation.

We are family-owned and operated agency. Therefore, we understand the importance of keeping families updated on the medical status of their loved ones. Let us help design a flexibly tailored senior home care program that affords your loved one with the care they deserve when and where they need it. To schedule a free in-home consultation with Cranberry Home Care in the Middleboro, MA area today, visit: www.cranberryhomecare.com now.

Trish Garbitt
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