Living with Chronic Pain
Chronic Pain Impacts Quality of Life. Tips to Get Better!
How pain disrupts quality of life
Pain disrupts many aspects of life such as sleep disturbances, reduced social activity, depression, and poor physical functioning. For the elderly, coping with pain can already be difficult and may affect their activities of daily living (ADLs). These problems can disrupt the coping process, increase the cost of care, and further lead to depression or isolation.
How pain disrupts sleep
When you’re in pain there are many factors that prevent an individual from getting a good night of sleep. If experiencing a stressful day, due to heightened symptoms from pain, this may result in frequent awakenings. In this situation, even turning while in bed can cause pain. Due to lack of sleep, a person's body is not able to recover and handle pain the following day. A vicious cycle of bad quality sleep, lower pain threshold, and the inability to cope with the chronic pain may result.
How pain causes depression and stress
When having to cope with pain,the inability to do so may lead to depression. This can then disrupt cognitive function and create a lack of concern regarding eating a nutritious healthy meal, which can result in malnutrition and low energy levels. The pain can prevent an individual from carrying out ADLs and require an individual to rely on others for help. The idea of asking or depending on someone else for help can lead to distress.
Through the process of aging, the physiology of our bodies change and coexisting health conditions often lead to difficulty in finding medications that will be beneficial for recovery.
Medication compliance can be extremely challenging. Many believe medication is only an option when experiencing pain. They assume taking analgesics, as a preventative measure, can cause a drug addiction. People who are in pain are frequently tired of dealing with the side effects of the drugs. They therefore refuse to take the medication all together. Individuals are unaware that lifestyle or dietary changes can help manage the side effects. This will prevent them from taking any additional medications to treat the side effects.
Treatment options for pain management
Exercise, acupuncture, guided imagery, relaxation, music therapy, biofeedback, spiritual interventions, hot and cold therapy are non-pharmacological options to deal with chronic pain. The pain and stress shouldn’t be a part of the aging process!