5 Tips for Helping Seniors Handle Chronic Pain

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Statistics indicate that up to half of all older adults live with some type of chronic pain. Some of the leading causes of pain among the elderly include musculoskeletal arthritis, injuries, and fibromyalgia. Here are a few ways you can help your elderly parent address chronic pain and enjoy a high quality of life.

1. Promote Physical Activity

Maintaining an inactive lifestyle contributes to pain, muscle and joint stiffness, and poor blood circulation. Older adults have a variety of exercise options to choose from. Simply stretching in the morning and before bedtime loosens and relaxes stressed tissues. Cycling, swimming, and other low-impact activities bolster cardiovascular function and strengthen muscles. Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain-relieving compounds. 

Aging adults who need help exercising should consider professional home care services. In-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

2. Encourage Physical Therapy

Many seniors benefit from attending physical therapy sessions. Therapists are trained to promote healing and increase the function of various body regions affected by injuries or chronic conditions. Therapy might include passive range of motion exercises, hot/cold treatments, or massage. Practitioners also prescribe simple exercises older adults can perform in their homes. 

3. Suggest Massage Therapy

When specific areas cause pain, the muscles in that region commonly tense, which exacerbates discomfort. Massage therapy relaxes tight muscles. The therapy also encourages the release of feel-good chemicals and inhibits the production of cortisol and other stress hormones. 

4. Serve Healthy Foods

Processed foods and certain carbohydrates promote inflammation, which adds to general discomfort. However, there are many foods that have the opposite effect and are known to address pain. Here are some of the foods that can alleviate chronic pain in the elderly: 

  • Cherries – Seniors can indulge in one cup of cherries a day or drink 12 ounces of cherry juice twice daily for muscle pain. Cherries contain antioxidants, and they also have anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAIDs. 
  • Ginger – Consuming just ¼ of a teaspoon of ground ginger alleviates nausea and other types of stomach upset. The spice also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce the pain associated with arthritis, muscle discomfort, and migraines. 
  • Turmeric – Unlike other spices, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that protects nerve function. The spice should be consumed with black pepper, which releases and activates curcumin. 

Caring for older adults with chronic pain can be a challenging task. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Montgomery, AL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

5. Consider TENS Units

TENS refers to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. The treatment involves a small electronic device called a TENS unit, which uses electrodes to deliver a mild adjustable electric current that passes through the surface of the skin and deep into the muscles in the affected area. The therapy alleviates pain by interfering with the pain signals transmitted to the brain. 

Chronic pain can impact an older adult’s health, wellbeing, and independence. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Montgomery, AL, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (334) 593-3988 today.

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