Have you ever been told the adage “No pain, no gain?” While perhaps that may be true when, say, pushing through the miles training for a marathon (but even that is debatable), if you are feeling pain daily, it’s not something to brush off. Sufferers of chronic pain are at greater risk of developing anxiety and depression and experiencing poor sleep, negatively affecting their enjoyment of life.
Among older adults, the most common causes of chronic pain are spinal degeneration and arthritic conditions—and half of the adults aged 65 and older report having experienced it. If you are living with chronic pain, what are your options for managing it or reducing it so that it doesn’t affect your quality of life? A common practice for decades has pointed toward the use of medication. While that tends to be effective for treating acute pain, there are many other ways to address chronic pain and live more comfortably—either in conjunction with medication or without it altogether. Consider talking with your doctor about the following pain management strategies that don’t involve medication:
Studies have shown that massage therapy has a dramatic effect on reducing pain! Massage improves the body’s circulation, promoting healing and releasing tension. Beyond relief from pain, mental and physical benefits abound with massage, including reduced stress and lowered blood pressure.
Meditation as a tool for pain management involves paying specific attention to your body to get to know your pain. As you focus on each area of the body, acknowledging any pain and breathing through it, your stress reaction to the pain decreases even if the pain itself remains present.
For those experiencing chronic pain, yoga offers many benefits for relief – such as increased flexibility and range of motion, decreased inflammation in the body, and even lowered perception of pain. In other words, while the pain is still there, it doesn’t feel as intense, making it more manageable.
The movement might not top the list of things someone with chronic pain would want to do. Still, those who take part in light, low-impact exercise experience benefits like reduced inflammation, increased muscle strength (which promotes better sleep!), and less fatigue than chronic pain sufferers who lead a more sedentary lifestyle. As always, talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise routine to decide what type of exercise will be most beneficial for you.
At The Hickman, our residents enjoy daily exercise groups, chair yoga classes, and even light massage – activities we are proud to offer as part of a holistic and individualized approach to health and well-being. We’d love to show you the many ways you would love living here. Contact us to schedule your tour and discover how “when you’re here, you’re home.”