As more and more Americans transition into their golden years, the number of people suffering from chronic arthritis increases along with them.
But it doesn’t end there. Many of those who experience the painful effects of osteoarthritis know that often times medication prescribed by doctors doesn’t completely relieve them of pain.
For some older loved ones, medication just isn’t enough. Many times, prescription drugs come with side effects that are concerning to those who take them. And because of that, a growing number of seniors are turning to other practices for relief.
By combining alternative methods and natural remedies with their daily intake of medication, older loved ones can actually gain more control over their chronic pain.
One thing to keep in mind is that according to doctors, acute pain is usually associated with serious or long term health conditions – like fibromyalgia or cancer – which will likely never go away.
Instead, they suggest that the key is to living a more comfortable life is smarter pain management.
Change Your Thinking
Beverly Thorn, PhD, is a psychologist at the University of Alabama who helps seniors and others dealing with chronic pain think differently about it.
She says the brain funnels pain signals throughout our bodies, with our thoughts and emotions playing a part. Your brain can increase or decrease these signals and eventually become more sensitive to milder pain signals.
Focusing on positive thoughts can actually help a loved one control pain. While it may seem impossible, having a neutral attitude and not reacting to the pain can lessen the effect it has on the body.
Variation in Exercise
There are several types of exercises recommended by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for seniors who are receiving personalized elder care, in-home care and others. These include: aerobic, strengthening and range-of-motion.
Aerobic exercises like cycling or swimming are beneficial to pain management, weight control, cardiovascular fitness and overall function. Weight training is a strengthening exercise that develops muscle dexterity. Range-of-motion exercises such as hand and finger or head and neck movements are helpful in relieving joint and muscle stiffness.
Massage has been proven successful in helping relieve the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. Yoga is also beneficial in the relief of osteoarthritis pain, as well as professional acupuncture.