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May 26, 2021
5 min. read

Medication Free Pain Management Tips and Exercises

Medly

You’re as young as you feel. No matter what age you are, if you’re in pain, then you won’t be living your best life. As National Senior Health and Fitness Day approaches on May 26, it’s the perfect time to seek out new solutions for pain management.

Since 1993, this day of celebration has encouraged seniors to understand the importance of good healthy lifestyle practices can help to discourage illness. Why not celebrate this year’s National Senior Health and Fitness Day by doing all you can to eliminate pain for a healthier, more enjoyable way of life?

How does pain management work?

There are many causes for pain in seniors. Back pain, neck pain, joint pain, and nerve pain are all fairly common complaints. If this type of pain occurs regularly for over three months, it’s considered chronic pain.

Not all pain that seniors feel is chronic pain. Sometimes an injury to the back, hip, or other parts of the body can contribute to pain. This is called acute pain. Everyone feels pain differently, but when it occurs, it can be excruciating and debilitating. That’s why it’s critical to get pain under control. One common strategy is pain management.

Pain management usually begins with an evaluation by a doctor, typically a primary care doctor. This doctor will refer you to a specialist in pain management, who will examine your pain and make decisions accordingly.

pain management

What is a pain management specialist?

The doctors that handle pain are pain management specialists. These doctors will have a board certification in one of the following specialties: anesthesiology, physical rehabilitation, psychiatry, and neurology. Pain management doctors operate pain management clinics. They’ll have a care team that will assist you with getting your pain under control. These doctors are highly skilled at being able to recognize specific types of pain.

Once your primary care doctor refers you, pain management MDs will discuss your pain symptoms on your first visit. They will also review your medical history and any available studies associated with your pain. Then, they will diagnose your pain and pinpoint the cause. Afterward, they will determine the best treatment plan. Some MDs will provide you with a pain journal to help them with your healing process. This journal will allow you to record your level of pain, how often it occurs, and activities that trigger it.

patient provider

If your pain management doctor prescribes medicine to treat your pain, then you may have to sign a pain management contract. Many pain prescriptions include opioids which are very addictive and can lead to dependence. Therefore, a pain management doctor will require patients to sign an agreement to take medications exactly as prescribed.

Why Pain Management is Important

Managing pain is essential because it aids in improving your quality of life. Pain can interfere with sleep and enjoying daily activities. It can also get in the way of relationships with your family and cause depression. This is why it’s critical to have pain diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

pain management tips

Pain management doctors treat a variety of pain, these are some of the most common:

  • Headaches
  • Cancer pain
  • Coccydynia pain (pain in the tailbone region)
  • Compression fractures (osteoporosis-related vertebrae issues)
  • Somatic pain
  • Radicular pain (nerve irritation stemming from disk herniation)
  • Goals of Pain Management

In most cases, doctors cannot wholly eradicate pain. The primary purpose of pain management is to reduce pain in patients. Aside from minimizing pain, a few other goals with pain management are getting patients back to a suitable level of activity and improving their quality of life.

A pain management doctor will help you to bring your pain to a level that’s under control. Depending on your type of pain, you can expect pain management techniques to consist of:

  • Physical therapy
  • Pain medication
  • Spinal injections (for lower back pain)
  • Alternative therapies
  • If your pain causes depression and anxiety, your treatments may also include psychiatry to help cope with the pain.

Why medication-free treatment is the preferred method of pain management

Medication is a common way to address pain. However, it’s not the only way. In 2015, FDA required prescription and over-the-counter drug makers to include the side effects that are possible with higher doses of a product. The side effects could consist of heart attack, stroke, and stomach ulcers.

medication free treatment

Another major problem with some opioid treatments is that patients can become addicted to them. Many pain medications become ineffective with regular use. Prolonged use of commonly prescribed medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, can cause dependence, addiction, confusion, and even death.

These negative drawbacks from medications can be why doctors may prescribe medication-free options.

Medication-free options include, but are not limited to:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage Therapy
  • Yoga
  • Mind-Body Therapies

Pain management doctors may prescribe these alternative methods or use them combined with medication as part of the treatment plan. Ultimately, medication-free is the better option, but this may not always be feasible depending on the patient.

Tips for Pain Management

Lifestyle enhancements can make a positive impact in reducing pain.

A few activities that can help minimize pain include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Improvements to diet
  • Stopping smoking
  • Being vocal
  • Scheduling time off
  • Participating in life
  • Keeping a pain journal

There is so much more that you can do to start to gain control of your life again and minimize pain. These activities will give you a good start.

What exercises can help seniors minimize pain?

Exercise can be a great way to manage pain proactively. Here are a few things that you can do to ease your pain, whether it’s from chronic pain or acute pain:

  • Gentle stretches
  • Supervised weight training
  • Mild aerobics

Regularly performing exercises will help with the treatment plan that your doctor has prescribed for you.

Dealing with pain can interfere with your plans and living life to its fullest. You don’t have to sit idly and suffer from pain. Treatments and alternative methods can help get back to enjoying your life. This National Senior Health and Fitness Day, commit to doing all you can to minimize your pain.

References An Overview of Pain Management Pain Management What to expect from your pain management specialist Before You Sign a Pain Management Contract The downside of taking pills to treat chronic pain The drug-free approach to pain management

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