Pain Awareness Month: Non-Invasive Techniques to Help Seniors With Chronic Pain
Although aches and pains are a normal part of life, more frequent pain experienced by some older adults can prevent them from enjoying life to the fullest. Chronic pain affects everyday life, interfering with sleep, mental focus, and mobility. It can lead to social isolation, especially when seniors begin to decline certain activities because their pain prevents them from leaving home.
Fortunately, older adults can learn to manage their pain so that it no longer prevents them from enjoying life’s precious moments. Here are four non-invasive pain management techniques to help seniors with chronic pain.
A common and effective pain management technique is heat or cold therapy. Ice is generally used to reduce swelling and inflammation in acute injuries. Heat promotes blood flow, helps muscles relax, and is most useful for chronic pain. Alternating between cold and hot can also be used to alleviate muscle pain. Older adults can use a homemade hot or cold pack to help manage pain. Never place ice directly on the skin, and never use extreme heat. Generally, a cold pack can be applied to the inflamed area for 20 minutes every four to six days. Heat can be applied to the painful area for 20 minutes, three times a day.
Music has many healing qualities, including reducing anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation, and pain. Studies have shown that there is considerable evidence that music can decrease pain levels. Listening to certain music genres releases endorphins and provides a distraction from pain. Combining listening to music with singing along and moving to it have more pain-alleviating benefits. Seniors with chronic pain might consider creating a pain-relieving playlist. Include familiar songs that encourage you to move and classical music to help you relax.
Another non-invasive pain management technique for seniors is yoga. It might seem counterintuitive, but movement reduces pain. Yoga specifically helps reduce inflammation by decreasing the body’s stress response. Various yoga poses and postures revolve around breath control and meditation. Yoga is a form of exercise that allows endorphins to be released. Endorphins are those feel-good hormones that reduce our perception of pain. In addition to providing physical benefits, yoga helps participants cope with the emotional aspects of chronic pain.
Aromatherapy has been providing pain relief since ancient times. Research supports the use of aromatherapy as a form of pain management, especially when combined with conventional treatments. Aromatherapy uses natural plant extracts, or essential oils, to promote health and well-being. Certain essential oils target pain and swelling, whereas others aim to alleviate pain and discomfort. Essential oils can be used in a diffuser or diluted and massaged into the skin. Before experimenting with essential oils, older adults should discuss essential oils with their doctor.
Visiting Angels Beaver Dam is here to support seniors who may be experiencing the aches and pains of life. We are a trusted agency that provides senior living assistance to families in Beaver Dam and the surrounding communities. After getting to know you in the comfort of your own home, we create a customized care plan that addresses your specific care needs. As your needs grow and change in the future, we can adapt your plan of care to ensure you remain safe and independent at home. If pain is limiting your ability to care for yourself or stay engaged in your favorite activities, let us help. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today by calling 920-821-1111.