There is nothing quite as bad or more distracting that consistent back pain, and unfortunately for the elderly, it’s something that they experience frequently. As the years pass by, people gradually lose the strength of their muscles and their bones start to deteriorate as well; this results in increase back discomfort as well as resistance to healing. Luckily, there are some effective pain management strategies to help the elderly to reduce back pain.
Many people use yoga to manage back pain, and less strenuous variations can be effective in the elderly as well. It’s advised that any seniors considering a change in physical activity consult their physician first just to make sure the movements won’t cause an adverse effect and end up causing their condition to worsen. However, many elderly have found the practice of yoga to work in their favor by using restorative yoga, a gentle approach to the traditional practice. This form of yoga has been noted to make a tremendous difference in pain associated with the back and hips as well as discomfort due to arthritis.It involves many gentle poses, and long extensions of the limbs, and while there is a surplus of instructions on the internet, it’s best for seniors to take a class designed specifically for the elderly to ensure effectiveness and safety.
A Quality Mattress
It’s common for the seniors to keep the same bed for a long time, and while the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is true in some instances, it’s not the case for mattresses. A quality mattress can cause a huge relief in those experiencing back pain, and old, worn out beds do nothing to support the back or neck. Any new, high-quality mattress would work better than an old one, but memory foam mattresses are especially great for relieving back pain; they’re designed to form around the body and reduce any pressure points that cause achy back and joint pains.
Many elderly treat their back pain with pain killers prescribed by their doctor, but pills, while necessary at times, can cause many side effects and long-term health problems when taken too frequently. Massage therapy has helped some elderly patients greatly reduce their need for pain pills by improving circulation and reducing inflammation and swelling around the muscles. When done consistently, massage therapy actually improves the condition instead of just masking the symptoms the way pain medication does. Most massage treatment centers also offer less traditional procedures, such as acupuncture and hot stone massage, which have been proven to be very effective as well.
A Good Diet
In combination with other effective treatments, a healthy diet can greatly aid in helping seniors (or anyone for that matter) reduce their back pain. Because the pain is coming from the inside out, a balanced diet can help work the pain out internally. Calcium and vitamin D are essential in keeping bones strong and healthy, and a deficiency in these valuable nutrients can aid in chronic back pain. A diet full of anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce muscle swelling and joint pain, and it’s important to know what foods are going to help and what foods are going to hurt. Flaxseed oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, ginger, garlic, oatmeal, and lean protein sources all help reduce inflammation. On the contrary, dairy, pastries, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, refined grains, and any heavily processed foods are best to avoid because they aid in the inflammation of muscles and joints.
Many senior citizens have found that aquatic therapy helps relieve symptoms of chronic pain as well as provides a great opportunity to stay fit and active as it allows for increased mobility and stretching without any strain. Not only does aqua therapy relieve symptoms, but it can help eliminate future occurrences of back pain by increasing circulation and strengthening muscles. Many community recreational centers offer aqua size classes as an option, and sessions involve an instructor leading an aerobics-like routine the water. Regular pools work great, but some forms of aqua therapy require the use of heated pools to help reduce inflammation and swelling of the muscles.
Most senior citizens experience some level of back pain, and for many of them, they’ve been dealing with it as early as when they were in their thirties. For the elderly who have been carrying discomfort around for years, it’s relieving to finally see an increase in options. Experiencing back pain might be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be life-long.