5 Ways for Seniors to Manage Their Chronic Pain

Chronic pain, lasting 3-6 months or recurring intermittently, is a common challenge for seniors. While eliminating it completely may not always be possible, older adults can adopt strategies to effectively manage chronic pain and improve their overall quality of life. Here are five key approaches:

  1. Stay Active: To prevent muscle weakness and additional discomfort, seniors should engage in gentle physical activities, including:
    • Walking at a comfortable pace
    • Water-based exercises
    • Low-impact workouts
    • Chair-based exercises with resistance bands or handheld weights.
  2. Medication Management: Seniors with inflammation-based chronic pain should consider anti-inflammatory drugs. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a safer alternative to opioids, offering pain relief without addiction risks. Always follow medication instructions.
  3. Hot/Cold Therapy: Heat and cold applications can help manage chronic pain. Cold reduces inflammation, while heat enhances circulation. Apply ice packs, cooling gel, heating pads, or take warm baths/showers as needed.
  4. Explore Alternative Treatments: Alternative therapies can be effective for seniors looking to reduce medication dependence. Options include:
    • TENS units for nerve stimulation
    • Acupuncture
    • Chiropractic adjustments
    • Biofeedback
    • Mindful meditation.
  5. Stress Reduction: Chronic pain often leads to stress, which can worsen the situation. Seniors can manage stress by:
    • Seeking support from friends and family
    • Keeping a pain journal
    • Trying “talk therapy” (psychotherapy)
    • Engaging in relaxing activities
    • Exploring controlled-movement practices like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi.

These approaches empower seniors to take control of their chronic pain, enhancing their well-being and quality of life.