While it’s not a surprise many older adults are more likely to experience pain compared to the younger population, it is a surprise that many older adults see pain as a natural part of aging and don’t tell their doctors about the pain they’re experiencing. As we age, it’s important to remember that living with pain is not normal and a pain treatment plan can help you live a more pleasant and fulfilled life.
According to Practical Pain Management, “Pain and pain management are a growing concern among Americans aged 65 and older. A recent analysis of data from a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study found 53% of the older adults surveyed reported having bothersome pain in the last month; three-quarters of them reported having pain in more than one location. Bothersome pain, particularly in multiple locations, also was associated with decreased physical capacity.”
Because pain-related issues are such a common issue among our older population, we have put together three ways to help manage pain as you age.
How to manage pain as you age
Oral pain relievers for seniors
Older people handle pain medications differently than younger people. Because of this, seek out advice from a medical professional on which pain medication is best suited for you. Kidney function declines as we age, making filtration of pain medication less effective. When in doubt, start off with the lowest dose possible, then gradually increase based on the level of pain.
Keep in mind that NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, etc.) are not recommended for people with kidney, liver or heart issues.
Topical pain relievers that may help older adults
For mild joint aches, especially knee pain or backaches, topical NSAIDS is a popular option. Topical lidocaine in particular has little to no side effects while offering relief from pain.
When you’re taking pain relievers, be sure to keep in mind other medication safety tips.
How physical therapy can help seniors reduce pain
Physical therapy for older adults, also known as geriatric physical therapy, is specifically targeted to assist with mobility restoration, increased fitness and exercise levels and pain reduction.
If you happen to be someone who suffers from chronic pain, physical therapy and rehab may be the best option. To help retain overall strength, independence and productivity, utilizing a physical therapist will help craft a specialized group of exercises to help you alleviate pain and get back to some semblance of normalcy and independence.
As we age, managing pain should be a part of our everyday lives. Keeping an open line of communication with your medical providers will help guide which treatment plan is right for you and your level of pain.
Find a community where caregivers can help you manage your medication and pain
If you’re a senior or caregiver looking for independent living, assisted living or memory care services for you or your loved one, contact us to schedule a tour or request more information about a community near you.
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Find a community
If you’re a senior or caregiver looking for independent living, assisted living or memory care services for you or your loved one, contact us to schedule a tour or request information about a community near you.