Many seniors treat pain as a natural part of aging. If you provide service for elderly care Singapore, you may already be used to older adults dismissing their pains regardless if they are acute pain, muscle tension, nerve pain, or chronic pain.
Elderly individuals must understand that there are many safe pain treatments available. They need pain relief and other effective medications to reduce pain and treat health conditions.
However, precautions must be taken care of by wellness professionals when prescribing pain medications to senior adults. Aside from the patient’s full consent, you must ensure the prescription medicines are administered moderately and per their doctors’ advice.
Sadly, a study about senior suicides in Singapore in 2020 found that a 26% spike was recorded among citizens 60 years and above. Among the reasons cited was the elderly’s struggle with daily tasks and mobility.
Senior citizens are already facing tough changes and challenges their age brings. This article aims to walk you through safe and effective pain treatments. This way, you can help make their lives more comfortable and easier to live.
Let’s dive right in.
5 Safe Pain Treatments to Try for the Elderly
The following are some of the most effective remedies for pain in senior adults. If you are a senior patient, talk to your doctor before taking any pain relief, over the counter, or prescription medicines.
For caregivers, consult with your patient’s primary care provider to ensure the medications or activities won’t interfere with whatever they are taking or therapies they may be undergoing.
Natural pain relievers
You must teach your senior patients to refrain from taking pain medicine for common pains, such as backache or toothache.
You can help them manage pain without taking the risk of misusing pain medicine and suffering from side effects. To get this done, you have to walk them through the natural remedies they can try for pain management and how.
Natural pain relievers are categorized as alternative medicine. They come in various forms, including many herbs that can treat pain, such as:
This is the spice responsible for curry’s unique flavor and yellow color. Turmeric contains an antioxidant called curcumin that protects the body’s cells from free radical molecules.
You can also get this spice in supplement form. It helps alleviate the pain signals and symptoms of conditions, such as inflammation, psoriasis, stomach upset, ulcers, and indigestion.
Talk to your doctor before taking the supplement to relieve pain. You also have to stop using this herb as a pain medication if you experience untoward side effects, such as yellow stool, rashes, headaches, diarrhea, and nausea.
This herb is also referred to as frankincense, a resin derived from Boswellia serrata trees and made into topical treatments, pills, or tinctures. The herb has been proven effective in reducing and managing chronic pain.
You can also use it to treat the stiffness of your patients, relieve pain, and manage pain caused by osteoarthritis. The herb has anti inflammatory properties and can also alleviate the symptoms of brain swelling, colitis, arthritis, and asthma.
Take note that improper use of the herb can negatively interact with antiplatelet and anticoagulant prescription drugs. Some people may also experience allergic reactions upon its topical application.
Cloves, often mixed with various dishes, also act as natural pain medicine. It contains a compound used in some over the counter pain rubs, known as eugenol.
You can get the herb in oil, powder, or capsule form, which you can purchase over the counter. Cloves can reduce pain and treat different health conditions, such as diarrhea, indigestion, toothaches, arthritic inflammation, headaches, colds, and nausea.
Products containing cloves may have harmful side effects, including internal bleeding, on patients taking blood-thinning medications and those with bleeding disorders. But they will provide relief for patients managing chronic pain, muscle pain, and high blood pressure.
Different practices that can help in managing pain
Instead of pain medications, your senior patient can benefit from learning pain management through various practices, which include the following:
It’s an ancient Chinese tradition that balances the body’s energy flow by inserting thin needles into a patient’s skin. It works by releasing serotonin in the body, promoting healing while reducing stress and managing pain.
This is used to relieve pain caused by fibromyalgia, acute pain and chronic pain in the back, myofascial pain, migraine, and more. However, it can also cause side effects to some people, including allergic reactions, infections, nerve injury, and internal bleeding.
Reiki, or biofield therapy, is a form of alternative medicine that originated in Japan. A therapist or healer performs it and channels the healing energy to the patient to manage pain while reducing fatigue and stress.
Over the counter painkillers
You can buy many pain relievers and pain medications over the counter to manage pain or lower a fever. But always ensure that you take them responsibly to avoid drug overdose and adverse side effects.
Paracetamol contains dihydrocodeine and codeine, both known as weak opioid painkillers. You can use this over the counter pain medication to treat acute pain to moderate pain.
· Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
The most common of these over the counter drugs are aspirin and ibuprofen. You can take these over the counter medications for severe pain with inflammation.
This over the counter pain medicine is not an NSAID drug. It is used in treating common pains and aches without inflammation. You can also take this pain medicine when looking for muscle relaxants to ease muscle tension.
Therapies for pain management
You can also consult a physical therapist to help your patient manage pain and be more comfortable.
· Occupational therapy to control pain
The physical therapist will work with the patient to identify the pains. They will also work together to develop the right strategies to help them manage pain by incorporating them into the patient’s daily routine.
· Physical therapy
This is done by a physical therapist that incorporates methods to help the patient manage long term pain. It’s a hands-on approach that employs massage therapy and sometimes uses a heat or cold pack to relieve inflammation. It can also use essential oils to help calm the patient while relieving pain.
Research suggests that music therapy helps in relieving pain and anxiety. This is why you will likely hear soothing music being played in a private nursing agency and other health institutions.
Mind-body exercises that help relieve pain
Mind-body exercises combine controlled breathing, mental focus, and body movement to relieve pain and improve overall health.
· Yoga in preventing musculoskeletal pain
One PA promotes yoga classes intended for senior citizens from Singapore. The classes teach the participants how to use the different yoga techniques and poses to relieve physical discomfort and prevent musculoskeletal pain and other ailments.
· Mindfulness exercises and breathing exercises used to treat long term pain and short term pain
Mindful awareness includes breathing exercises that aim to raise one’s awareness of their surroundings and body. The exercises are usually included in the programs provided by elderly home care Singapore and other health facilities.
How Pain Affects the Recovery and Quality of Life of Seniors Negatively
Research suggests that many older people with chronic pain develop depression and lower resilience. It affects their mental health, physical health, and general well-being.
Pain makes many senior citizens uncomfortable. It gravely affects the quality of their lives. This is why they need help to sustain good health and good life. And one of the ways to achieve this is by giving or teaching them about proper pain management.
The elderly citizens need good pain relievers and techniques, just like combat soldiers need morphine. Many soldiers are given painkiller injections with morphine within an hour after they get wounded. The painkiller helps them cope and manage pain while preventing the development of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Aging is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean you will allow your parents or aging patients to suffer further by ignoring the symptoms and side effects of pain.
If you are looking after the wellness of seniors in elderly care Singapore, make sure that you brief them about what to do in case of pain. It will also help to encourage them to speak up and share how they are feeling and whatever they are going through.