According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, 100 million Americans live with chronic pain every day. In fact, chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined! Older adults tend to be affected by chronic pain more than younger adults. These conditions may include migraines, low back pain, arthritis pain, and cancer pain and more. That is why it is important to talk pain awareness since September is Pain Awareness Month.
While some chronic pain may go away over time, other pain may not. Here are 4 things you can do to manage and relieve your chronic pain as much as possible:
Learn. Learn everything you can about your physical condition and why you have chronic pain. Through your research you may discover other traditional or non-traditional treatments that might help relieve your pain that you were not aware of before. Are there exercises you can do, even minimally, to help relieve some pain? Even if you do not discover something new, by knowing everything you can about your condition, you are putting yourself in a position where you know that you, and your healthcare providers, are doing everything possible.
Be Realistic. Understand what you can and cannot do within your physical limitations. Don’t set a goal to run a marathon when you should only be walking. Don’t expect to play 18 holes if your back or shoulders aren’t ready for it. Also be realistic with your treatment. Based on the knowledge you gained when you learned all you could about your condition, you probably already know if your pain will subside over time or if you have to live with it forever. Don’t ‘hope’ it will go away. Hope is not a strategy. Make a realistic plan and do what you can to reach your goal.
Relax. Pain can get worse when you are stressed out. Through visualization, yoga, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques, you can release some stress and hopefully some pain as well.
See the Big Picture. Don’t just focus on the pain. Focus on all of the things you are able to do. As you put your plan in place to try to relieve some of your pain, you will regain control of your body, emotions and mental state. With more clarity, you will be able to determine how you can live a normal live even with your chronic pain.
The American Chronic Pain Association has much more information about pain and pain awareness.
At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our skilled caregivers help our seniors manage and/or reduce their pain based on the advice of the appropriate healthcare team. They will make sure their seniors are taking appropriate medication and doing exercises as instructed. Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at-home care can accommodate your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.