Angels Care Home Health provides tips for managing pain as you age
If you have suffered from pain for several months or longer, you are among the millions of Americans with a condition known as chronic pain. Despite decades of research, chronic pain remains complex and difficult to treat.
Chronic pain can be so debilitating that it disrupts daily activities, such as eating and sleeping, causes anxiety and depression, and compromises quality of life. Since chronic pain grows more prevalent with age, seniors and the elderly are especially at risk.
Nearly 50 million Americans have chronic pain, according to the American Pain Foundation. Sometimes the pain is caused by a specific injury or surgical incision that has long since healed, other times there may be no apparent reason for the pain. However, many cases of chronic pain are related to these 7 conditions: Low back pain, arthritis (especially osteoarthritis), headache, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, shingles, and nerve damage.
The good news is that chronic pain can be managed successfully. There are a variety of treatments available. Some treatments come in the form of prescription medicines that you can get from your doctor, others can be found over-the-counter. And then there are some treatments that don’t involve pharmaceuticals at all.
Angels Care Home Health understands the importance of managing pain and provides the following tips and information about the various ways to manage pain in the hopes that if you or someone you love is suffering, you will have a better understanding of some of the pain relief options available to you to discuss with your healthcare provider.
There are four main types of prescription pain relievers used to treat pain, including:
• Corticosteroids.Treat swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions; may be prescribed for allergies, asthma, orarthritis.
• Opioids (Narcotics). Treat acute pain such as short-term pain aftersurgery.
• Antidepressants. Treat chronic headaches likemigraines.
• Anticonvulsants. Treat nerve pain-related conditions like fibromyalgia and peripheralneuropathy.
Some common over-the-counter medicines that can provide relief from your pain include:
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Relieves fever and aches; recommended for arthritispain.
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen; treat the pain, inflammation, and swelling related to rheumatoidarthritis.
As people age, they are at risk for developing more serious side effects from medication. Due to this risk, it is important to take exactly the amount of pain medicine your doctor prescribes.
Also, mixing any pain medication with alcohol or other drugs, such as tranquilizers, can be dangerous. Make sure your doctor knows all the medicines you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements, as well as the amount of alcohol you drink.
Non-Pharmaceutical Treatments for Pain
In addition to drugs, it may take both medicine and other treatments to feel better. There are a variety of complementary and alternative approaches that may provide relief from pain, such as:
• Acupuncture. Uses hair-thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body to relieve pain.
• Biofeedback. Helps you learn to control your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. This may help reduce your pain and stress level.
• Electrical nerve stimulation. Uses electrical impulses in order to relieve pain.
• Massage therapy. Can release tension in tight muscles.
• Physical therapy. Uses a variety of techniques to help manage everyday activities with less pain and teaches you ways to improve flexibility and strength.
If you’re living with chronic pain, you want to do everything you can to help your body, not hinder it. Aside from medications, there are other things you can do yourself that might help you feel better, including.
• Eating a well-balanced diet.
• Maintaining a healthy weight.
• Keeping moving.
• Getting enough sleep.
• Joining a pain support group.
• Seeing a pain specialist.
• Avoiding tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol, which can get in the way of treatment and increasepain.
• Keeping a pain journal.
Overall, knowing and understanding the medications you’re taking, what they can do for you, and their side effects, plus educating yourself about other treatment options is your goal to helping you have a normal mood and activity level and work towards managing your pain. Most important is to be proactive and discuss all options with your physician. Be proactive, ask questions and look for answers.
If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic pain and want to learn more, contact Angels Care Home Health today for more information about its Pain Management Program, community education classes or to discuss the benefits of home health service at 979-244-0600 or visit angelscarehealth.com.