As an EPC, Elder Planning Counsellor I am very aware of many issues that affect people as they grow older. I receive very interesting editorials from The Pulse, which is an e-memo for all EPC members, and is produced by the Canadian Initiative for Elder Planning Studies. In their March 2017 issue, they published a number of very pertinent articles, of which I will be sharing some with you.

Whether you are a senior, about to enter your senior years, or have older family members, I believe you will find these tips and ideas well worth considering.

6 Simple Ways for Older People to Deal with Chronic Pain is the first of a series of articles I would like to share with you. The points are as follows:

• Remain Active
• Taking Medication
• TENS Therapy
• Chiropractic Care & Massage Therapy
• Assisted Living
• Reducing Stress

Unfortunately, chronic pain is a reality for the elderly. As we get older, we are faced with more issues, such as osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal, neuropathic and chronic joint pain. These are common ailments, and sadly, very difficult to treat.
Here is a guideline to follow to help seniors deal with chronic pain a little better;

Fitness center senior woman exercise sit ups with personal trainer

1. Remain Active: Avoid being Sedentary. Our bodies need to keep moving to stay fit. If you notice that mobility starts to become an issue, or that your body fat index is increasing, it is important to get as much daily activity as possible. I have attached a calculator to quickly determine your body mass index (BMI). http://healthtools.bodyandhealth.canada.com/health_tools.asp?t=5&text_id=1855

2. Medication: Take the medicine your doctor recommends to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs can treat the muscular issues that cause pain. Opiates can also be of help, if used properly, but if not used correctly, drug addictions can result. Ask your doctor about PEA (Palmitoylethanolamide) which is a natural occurring substance that can be highly effective in treating chronic pain.

3. TENS Therapy: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), is a popular treatment for muscular chronic pain. A TENS unit is a small electrical device that passes a low voltage current through the skin and into the muscle tissue, creating current impulses that stimulate the nerves, reducing the pain to a manageable level. Since there are no side effects, TENS is an excellent alternative to addictive medications.

4. Chiropractic Care and Massage Therapy: Over time, bones can shift. Chiropractors can manually re-position bones into their correct position, which helps alleviate chronic pain. Massage Therapists force tense or imbalance muscles to relax. Treatments such as this may be only temporary, so for the treatment of chronic pain, visits to your massage therapist should be made regularly.

5. Assisted Living or Group Homes: Sadly, chronic pain can progress to the point that basic self-care becomes difficult, or impossible. Nutrition and hygiene are key to slowing down the aging process. Having a live-in caretaker or living in a group home is a good way to ensure that basic needs are filled. Maintaining a social life is challenging for shut-ins, due to chronic pain, so living in a group environment will address not only their physical needs, but also help with better mental health.

6. Reduce Stress: Stress is a by-product for those people suffering from chronic pain. Stress resulting from chronic pain, affects your body with increased blood pressure and muscle tensions. Try simple things like sitting in the sun, visiting friends and loved ones; even one simple phone call to a friend can minimize the stress, so that the body can relax.

Source; 6 Simple Ways for Older People to Deal with Chronic Pain, March 2017 Issue of The Pulse is an e-memo for all EPC members, and is produced by the Canadian Initiative for Elder Planning Studies.