Helping seniors cope with chronic pain

BHC chronic pain m.jpgChronic pain is one of the most common health issues for seniors.  By age 70, chronic pain affects 79% of women and 53% of men. Common complaints include migraines, low back pain, arthritis pain, cancer pain and general muscle ache.  

Chronic pain in seniors is associated with reduced mobility, becoming more sedentary, falls, depression, anxiety, sleep impairment and isolation. Its negative effects extend beyond the patient to family, friends and caregivers.

Seniors often wrongly assume that being in pain is just a normal part of aging that they have to tolerate. A comprehensive geriatric pain assessment can determine underlying causes of pain and guide treatment for relief that is both effective and manageable by the senior and their caregivers.

However, managing pain in these seniors can be complicated. Declining organ function, increased vulnerability to adverse side effects, the presence of comorbidities and multiple medications can all contribute to the pain and limit relief options.

Beyond prescription and over-the-counter medications, seniors can control chronic pain through physical therapy, relaxation techniques and localized relief like massage, heat or cold.

Stay as active as is possible. Moderate physical activity that has the OK from a healthcare provider can help maintain mobility and release endorphins that can help ease pain.

Accept the current reality. Seniors don’t have to give up the things they love, but they may need to scale back their schedule or intensity of activities. Focus on the things they can do and learn how to enjoy them in a new way.

Practice relaxation. Pain can get worse when you are stressed out and tensed up. Seniors can use visualization, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques to release stress and reduce pain.

Belvedere Home Care caregivers provide companionship, assist with therapies and make sure seniors are getting to their healthcare appointment. Home health caregivers can also help create a safer, more accessible home environment and manage tasks like housework and errands that may cause stress for seniors. For more information, call us at 518-694-9400 or email