Do you experience frequent or persistent pain?
Do you accept this as a normal part of aging?
Do you assume that nothing can be done for your pain?
Do you avoid asking for help so that you don’t bother your caregivers or doctors?
Do you worry about the side effects or addiction to medications?
Pain is a serious problem for many older adults. It can interfere with concentration, appetite, and sleep. It can cause mental confusion or challenging behaviours, such as aggression. Constant struggling with physical pain can cause depression, anxiety, and social problems. But pain isn’t a normal part of aging and shouldn’t be something that you have to just live with!
First consider the things that you can do to manage your pain. When you are living with chronic pain, it is best to stay active. This can take your mind off your pain. Going for walks, heading out to eat or to a matinee movie, and volunteering are just some of the things that can help you to stay moving.
Beyond what you can do for yourself, however, are the therapies available from doctors, specialists, and alternative therapists. It is important to know that there are ways to manage chronic or persistent pain, and even pain that has been present for many years can and should be treated. Although the long-established available drug therapies work for many people, there are also newer drug therapy approaches that are worth investigating.
Non-drug management approaches are also available. These include exercise programs, physical therapy, nutrition, manual therapy, massage, acupuncture, meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy and hypnosis, along with patient and caregiver education interventions.
Don’t just accept pain as part of aging – see your doctor and find out what is available to help you to feel better and improve your life.