Chronic Pain and Aging
Today, the elderly will experience more chronic pain then we have ever witnessed over past the years. We have confirmed and theoretical ideas about what causes these occurrences of uncomfortable chronic pain, but can the individual comply with treatment. Even though 50% of older adults are living on their own and 75-85% are living in care facilities that deal with chronic pain, so many remain untreated.
Many elderly individuals experience depression, social isolation, decreased mobility, insomnia, fatigue, and many other serious conditions or diseases. Commonly, their chronic pain can be due to the effects of aging, but they can receive treatment to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of pain. So many elderly individuals believe there is no treatment, will cost too much, that only medication is the treatment option, don’t want to be bothered or depend on others for care.
Pain management specialists are made up of a multi-disciplinary team of a physician, physician assistant, pharmacist, nurse practitioner, and other healthcare providers. This team of specialists will determine the cause of the pain, provide treatment options, as well as guide you through process of alleviating the chronic pain. Then the individual also needs to play a role in understanding and education themselves in how to progress with the treatment process. The individual may need to make lifestyle and dietary changes which will require the individual to participate in their care.
Some care for chronic pain might require special needs due to the severity of pain or participation in self-management. To participate in care, the individual can start by asking the team of healthcare providers a few questions such as: What is the cause of my pain? How can I help reduce my pain? What is the name of my pain medication? What are the side effects of the medication? Are there any drug interactions with the medication? When should I take the medication?
The treatment process not only requires the management of physical symptoms but emotionally and spiritually issues. Self-management is an important factor of reducing and eliminating chronic pain that affects the individual's lifestyle daily.