Geriatric Pain Management: Solutions


    When pain is ruining the “golden years,” an accurate diagnosis can lead to solutions that might bring some of the glimmer back into your life. After looking at the common problems that lead to chronic pain in the elderly, we need to look at some of the remedies.


    Medications: Not every medication used to treat pain will cause dependency. Actually some very simple medications can help without getting you “hooked”. Start with acetaminophen first. Daily, regular use of Tylenol is pretty safe as long as you don’t exceed 3000mg per day. Next, speak to your doctor about Celebrex, a type of anti-inflammatory medication that is easy on your stomach. Yes, Celebrex does have some risks but the risks may be worth it to you now that all you seek is comfort and not longevity. Some medications help that treat nerve pain and do not cause dependency like Zonegran and Desipramine. And finally, you can always consider the opioid medications like hydromorphone which is well tolerated in older folks if all else fails.

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    Medical Equipment: Tools only help if you use them. Certain tools can relieve pain while walking like walking sticks, canes, and walkers. Other tools help when you are at home like TENS units, heating pads, and zero-gravity chairs. In the car, try a seat cushion or a portable, heated lumbar support. At a relative’s house, try using a foam mattress topper on the guest bed. Life is out there, you just need the right tools to help you enjoy it.


    Physical Therapy: By now, you might have given up on physical therapy. Many people have thrown in the physical therapy towel because of bad experiences. However, a really good physical therapist that is extremely knowledgeable and gifted can save your life. You can find some of the best physical therapists belong to the American Academy of Orthopedic and Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).


    Injections: Steroid injections into joints like the knees help temporarily. Epidural steroid injections into the spine can help for a short period of time, too. Nerve “burning” procedures, called radio frequency ablation, work 50% of the time and, if they do work, are not a permanent solution. All of these invasive procedures are worth considering, but should be done in conjunction of other solutions so that when the effects wear off there is already a safety net of pain relief in place.


    Attitude: Attitude is everything. Sourpuss attitudes make the people around you miserable and in turn you’ll be miserable too. Hopeless, helpless attitudes can spiral you into a deep depression. Instead, try an attitude that is founded on faith, hope and love. An attitude of gratitude is infectious. Remember, your mouth will speak what your heart is full of. A heart full of love spreads seeds of love to all around you and that is the greatest thing you can ever do at anytime in your life.

Published On: November 30, 2013