Stinging. Aching. Burning. That is the way many seniors with chronic pain explain how they feel on an everyday basis. Chronic pain may occur anywhere in the body, often for no reason whatsoever. It’s defined by pain that lasts for more than three months, either continuous or off and on. And it’s more prevalent than you may think, affecting 25 percent of us in the United States.
Obviously, such constant pain can have a significant impact on a senior’s wellbeing. Not only does it affect the capacity to undertake everyday physical responsibilities and activities, it also creates psychological tension too, which can lead to anxiety, fatigue, changes in mood, depression, insomnia, and more. Fortunately, home care helps manage chronic pain in a number of important ways.
Options to Treat Chronic Pain Medically
A variety of factors go into the determination of how to best help a senior with chronic pain, including the suspected or established root cause of the pain, how severe the pain is, where in the body it occurs, and age/overall health. There are quite a few medication-based treatments to relieve pain, including treatment for any psychological effects being experienced.
In addition, the physician may wish to try an epidural steroid injection, nerve block, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which involves small electric impulses delivered via skin patches.
There can be unpleasant side effects from these types of treatments, and some are very serious, so the physician will want to carefully evaluate what works best for the senior.
Lifestyle Changes for Chronic Pain
Lifestyle changes tend to be a great starting point for seniors, as they can be implemented right away without any negative impacts. Several suggestions from our Bristol home health services experts include:
- A change in diet. Particular foods can cause inflammation, which may worsen pain. An anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates refined carbs and red meat might be recommended by the doctor or a nutritionist.
- Reducing stress. Elevated stress levels can have a substantial effect on chronic pain. There are a wide range of ways to lower stress that can help, such as deep breathing, meditation or prayer, taking a warm, relaxing bath, reading, or listening to calming music.
- Exercise. Though it may seem difficult to think of exercising while in pain, low-intensity workouts are in fact helpful, and can also help with alleviating stress. Ask the physician for specific recommendations.
- Rest. Sufficient sleep is key to all around health and wellness. There’s also a link between insufficient sleep and weight gain, something that can further exacerbate chronic pain. Let the doctor know if insomnia is a problem so they can offer assistance with safe methods to improve sleep habits.
Home Care Can Help with Chronic Pain
Want to see for yourself how home care helps manage chronic pain? Let the in-home care team at Live Free Home Health Care, a provider of Bristol home health services, help a senior you know better navigate life with chronic pain. There are a number of ways our care providers can enhance quality of life, including:
- Companionship – having someone to talk to and engage in enjoyable activities with is a fantastic mood-booster
- Motivation to engage in recommended exercise programs
- Healthy meals
- Help with housework and laundry
- Medication reminders
- Transportation to medical appointments and anywhere else a senior would like to go
- And more
Reach out to us any time at 603-217-0149 and let us know about the difficulties you are going through so that we can offer a solution to overcome them. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities we serve.