Pain is not a normal part of aging in seniors. Many seniors feel that it is normal and are hesitant to let their doctors know.
Common Causes of Pain in Seniors
- Post-surgery pain
- Physical injury from a fall
- Compression fractures
- End stage lung, heart, or kidney failure
Untreated chronic pain can lead to multiple health consequences such as depression, social isolation, impaired sleep, impaired mobility, increased falls, malnutrition, and decreased quality of life.
Some Options to Explore if You Are in Pain
After evaluating your medical history and determining the cause of pain, your doctor may suggestion for treatment:
- Analgesics such as Acetaminophen are effective for mild to moderate pain. It can be dangerous to your liver if taken in high doses.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
- Opioid- pain relievers are powerful prescription drugs that are used to treat moderate to severe pain. They have many side effects and can be addictive in nature.
- Acupuncture - a form of treatment which involves inserting very thin needles through a person's skin to help relieve pain.
- Cognitive behavior therapy - teaches you how to change the way you view pain and reduces your reaction to it.
- Hypnosis - uses the power of the mind to reduce pain.
Exercise, although uncomfortable at times for someone with pain, can be one of the best pain management options. Physical activity can improve mood, strength, increase endurance, decrease pain, and improve functional abilities.
PT’s can help patients with chronic pain become stronger as they are usually weak from not moving. One can become very fearful of moving when they have chronic pain. A PT can show a person how to move effectively without putting increased strain on body structures.
A physical therapist can treat inflammation and address the movement dysfunction, which is at the center of chronic pain. A PT working with a chronic knee patient can help them achieve greater knee bend, which can help a patient get on and off chairs more comfortably.
A PT can modify your environment helping to decrease pain and make your daily routine easier. One example would be adjusting the car seat, putting less pain and stress on painful joints.
Patients with chronic pain frequently have problems with self-regulating. This often leads to flare ups where they may experience increased pain.
OT’s can teach patients to pace themselves with their activities, such as taking breaks or asking for help. OT’s can teach body mechanics during daily tasks to avoid increasing pain.
If a patient has increased pain with bending during lower body dressing task, an OT can teach them strategies and skills to decrease the pain.
Our goal is to help restore function, reduce the presence of persistent pain, and improve your quality of life. If you are experiencing pain and want to explore different options to reduce pain, please reach out to our physical and occupational therapy departments at Greenfield Rehabilitation 920-467-2401 Pine Haven Christian Communities, 1280 Pinehaven Lane Street, Sheboygan Falls, WI 53085.