As we get older, it is important to care for our bodies when they begin to experience pain that we aren’t accustomed to. Many things can contribute to these chronic pains, and it is important to take the time to get to know your body’s own necessities. Luckily, there are factors you can take into account, including diet and exercise. Continue reading to learn a few tips to help manage chronic pain.
The older we get, the more likely we are to have chronic pain. Studies show that starting around the age of 55-65, a larger percentage of the population begins to experience chronic pain. And those numbers continue to increase as we age. Let’s face it, with age, many experience more and more pain throughout their body.
According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic pain in older adults is linked to sleep disturbance, low mood, social isolation, functional limitations, and even reduced mobility. However, there are health practices that can help improve chronic pain. Talk with your health practitioner to discuss options that are a good fit for you. Management for chronic pain in older adults can be achieved. You just need to find the correct fit for you.
While it might feel counterintuitive, if you can find a low-impact physical activity, it can actually help with your chronic pain. While it can be quite difficult to get yourself to exercise when you are in chronic pain, the movement helps your muscles and joints stay strong and flexible, aiding in reducing the inflammation that could be one of the sources of your pain. Some great low-impact exercises are walking, Thai chi, yoga, swimming, and water aerobics.
Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Consider what foods you are eating. Some foods actually help lower inflammation in your body, while others increase it. Foods like fruits, nuts, leafy greens, fatty fish, tomatoes, and olive oil all reduce inflammation in your body. Sodas, fried foods, processed meats, and refined carbohydrates (like white bread) increase the inflammatory response in your body. You can also consider supplements to help reduce inflammation. Talk to your doctor about vitamins, herbs, and even spices like Turmeric that you can take in supplement form to help reduce inflammation and chronic pain.
Talk With A Counselor
While you are in pain, it is important to have the skills to be able to mentally manage your pain. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been used to help improve the lives of those suffering from chronic pain. A therapist can help you grow your ability to manage your pain through different skills and techniques. Some options to consider are deep breathing techniques, meditation, EFT tapping, brain spotting, EMDR, and biofeedback. Research some options, and interview a few different counselors to find an option that can help you manage your pain levels.
While there are plenty of prescription medications to help you manage your pain, many doctors are now encouraging patients to start with non-prescription pain management to alleviate their pain. Some of these options include physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, fascia stretching, and topical medications. It may take a few weeks to see results from some of these options, but many people begin to feel relief after one session. While these options require intentionality, you may see long-term results as opposed to the short-term benefit of a prescription pain medication.
Learn to Manage Stress Better
We all have stress, no matter what stage of life we are in. And, we can all continue to learn how to manage our stress more effectively. Stress actually increases chronic pain. If you can lower your stress levels, you might be able to lower your pain levels as well. Many people use guided meditation practices, music, grounding practices, stretching, and progressive muscle relaxation to lower their stress levels. Stress is also a component of your thought patterns, and specific types of counseling may help you learn how to manage your mental stress internally.
While many of these techniques can help with chronic pain, there are plenty of other types of chronic pain that need to be addressed through prescription medications or surgery. Make sure to work with your healthcare provider if you have chronic pain because they can help you determine the reasons for your pain. This person-centered approach helps address all dimensions of wellness.
If you are experiencing chronic pain, the Pain Management Team at the Center for Spine and Orthopedics can help. Call
303-287-2800 today for an appointment with Dr. George Leimbach, Dr. Paul Leo, Jacque Carbone, NP, or Annette Johnson, NP.
Original article posted on eldercarealliance.org