By Lizzie Weakley
Your chronic pain condition doesn’t need to run your entire life. Try these tips to find relief and enjoy more of your daily activities.
Get More Exercise
Regular exercise will strengthen your muscles and keep your body in a better overall condition. Even a small amount of movement each day will help you manage your pain.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with simple stretches and a daily walk. Consider enrolling in an exercise class geared toward seniors. Your health care professional will be able to recommend specific exercises that strengthen the area where you experience the most pain.
Look for Natural Alternatives
NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin are good to use in a pinch, but they can have complicated effects with other medications. Extended use of NSAIDs can also result in stomach problems in the long term.
Look for natural forms of pain relief like herbal teas, heating pads, and ice packs. Cold should be used to ease immediate pain, and heat should be used to loosen muscles. You can also try acupuncture, massage, and other treatments to find relaxation.
Seek Regular Treatment
You aren’t expected to manage your pain alone. Many different chronic pain services are available to help you find a long-term solution. Start by talking to your doctor about the options available to you. You might also want to visit a specialist related to your condition.
Don’t let yourself go without treatment. Some cases of pain are truly chronic, but others can be solved with medical care. Pain doesn’t always stem from an obvious source; only a doctor can identify and treat the actual cause of your discomfort.
Get Plenty of Sleep
A full night’s sleep has been shown to significantly increase your tolerance to pain. Adding two hours of sleep to your current schedule could increase your tolerance by as much as 25%.
As a senior, getting enough sleep isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Your chronic pain might even keep you from falling asleep at night. Clear your schedule so that you can sleep in a little later in the morning. You might also consider taking naps in the middle of the day. You’ll feel significantly better when you wake up.
Many seniors only sleep 4-6 hours a day. For pain management, try to average 8 hours; shoot for 10 if your pain is bothering you. If you continually deal with insomnia, your doctor may be able to prescribe a sleep aid to assist you.
There’s no single solution for the management of chronic pain. Your pain specialist may recommend several different treatments; try each option, and stick with the ones that work best for you.