Effective pain management for the elderly can help improve quality of life for many patients. Speaking with a primary care physician for advice on pain management for the elderly is a crucial first step. Caretakers should know how to recognize pain in elderly patients. Some pain medications may cause allergic reaction or interaction with other drugs, and therefore should be used with caution. Remaining active can help the elderly control chronic pain, although activities and exercise programs should be done under the supervision of a physician.
Although pain medication is an effective method of pain management for the elderly, it may only be a temporary solution. Some elderly patients living with long-term pain do not do well with extended use of pain medications. Anti-inflammatory drugs may cause serious side effects with prolonged use. A more practical solution for many elderly patients is finding a plan that helps control pain.
Holistic or alternative medicine may be beneficial for many patients. This is generally a natural approach that does not rely on the use of medications that may cause unpleasant or even dangerous side effects. Various techniques may be used when considering holistic pain management for the elderly. Stress reduction and relaxation techniques may be beneficial for some patients with ongoing pain.
Some doctors may recommend meditation as a means of pain management for the elderly. Meditation to control pain may include breathing techniques, or simply focusing on a mental image. This may be worth a try for some elderly patients who do not want to be dependent on medications to control their pain. Music therapy may also be recommended as pain management for the elderly.
Physical therapy is often prescribed for elderly patients with painful conditions such as arthritis. Patients who are recovering from painful hip or knee surgery may also benefit from physical therapy to manage pain and to strengthen joints. In addition, some elderly patients choose acupuncture as a means of pain management. Acupuncture sessions may be performed on a weekly or monthly basis, or as needed.
Daily exercise, such as brisk walks may help elderly patients control pain. By staying active, the joints may become more flexible and strong, thus helping to reduce pain after exertion. Depending upon the cause of pain and severity of an injury or illness, exercise may not always be the ideal remedy for some people. Before designing an exercise program to control pain, one should consult a physician. Some elderly patients may do better by resting the affected area for a period of time.