As we grow older, our odds of developing a painful medical condition go up. About 50 percent of older adults suffer chronic pain, and that rate is even higher among nursing home residents.
If you’re one of the unlucky 50 percent, you don’t have to just grin and bear it. We have more options than ever in Arizona for treating pain, so if you’re suffering, we can probably find a solution that works for you.
Medication is an obvious choice, but most medications, even those you buy without a prescription, can have side effects and interact badly with other drugs you may be taking. For that reason, at The Pain Center, whenever possible we try to minimize the amount of medications patients have to rely on.
Oftentimes, combining an alternative treatment with medication can mean patients need lower doses or less frequent doses of medicine—or maybe none at all.
In last month’s blog, we looked at how minimally invasive treatments such as nerve blocks and trigger point injections can help relieve pain among older residents. This month, we look at how complementary treatments, such as physical therapy and acupuncture, can help. Below are some pain solutions worth trying:
- Physical therapy: This is an important option for people with chronic pain. If you’re hurt, a physical therapist can work with you to strengthen and stretch the muscles you need to heal your injury and avoid hurting yourself again. Even if you have a serious disability, a therapist can work with you and your doctor to help you stay as strong and mobile as possible.
- Acupuncture: Many people find that acupuncture, which has been used for centuries in China, can help alleviate pain and reduce their need for medication. It involves usingtiny needles to stimulate certain points on the body.
- Exercise: Exercise can help prevent the depression and sleep problems that often accompany chronic pain and improve your overall health, from your heart to your brain. If you possibly can, try to do some form of exercise most days. Low-impact activities, such as walking, water aerobics, yoga, and tai chi, are good choices. Even people with limited mobility may be able to participate in activities like chair yoga.
- Meditation: Meditation techniques, which can include breathing techniques and guided imagery, help relax the mind and relieve stress, making it easier to cope with pain.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: Some studies show that cognitive behavioral therapy, which has long been used to treat depression, can help treat pain. CBT is a way of reframing the automatic thoughts that you may not have been aware of that accompany pain. It can help you manage stress and allow your body’s natural pain-fighting defenses to work.
These are just a few of the options available for helping you manage your pain. At The Pain Center we can also manage your medication needs, and we provide more than a dozen minimally invasive procedures that can help with many different types of pain, from cancer pain and pancreatitis to complex regional pain syndrome.
For more information about ways to control pain and remain active as you grow older, talk to the specialists at The Pain Center. We take multiple insurance plans; find out if we take yours. Make an appointment today, and take the first step toward getting back into life.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.