Health > How to Cope With Chronic Pain as a Senior Citizen?
14th Jul 2022
Chronic Pain Management For seniors

How to Cope With Chronic Pain as a Senior Citizen?

Chronic pain can be exhausting; feeling active and enjoying life is hard when you are in constant pain. Fortunately, chronic pain management provides ways to cope with the pain as a senior citizen, including pain management techniques and psychological approaches to dealing with chronic pains like chronic back pain or chronic lower back pain. These methods can help you regain your sense of control over your body, mind, and spirit, making it easier to live an active life.


What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is complex to describe, but it frequently occurs as pain that lasts longer than the anticipated healing time. The discomfort can last for weeks, months, or even decades. The source of the suffering could be an injury or an illness. Moreover, it can be harder to specify at times because this may or may not be linked to a specific reason. Musculoskeletal disorders and treatment options such as diabetes, chemotherapy, and surgery are among the common chronic pain causes. Pain is also common in the late stages of chronic illnesses such as heart problems, chronic obstructive diseases, and others.


Why do Seniors Experience Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain impacts seniors for a variety of causes, including:

  • First our body systems break down and stop working. As we age, it might result in chronic symptoms.
  • Second diseases such as arthritis or cancer can lead to chronic pain.
  • Third chronic pain is caused by an old injury that did not recover fully.
  • Fourth  nerve damage can lead to chronic pain.
  • Fifth long-term anxiety can affect chronic pain.
  • Sixth  as an adverse reaction, specific drugs can cause chronic pain.
  • Finally, a lack of physical activity can contribute to chronic pain.


Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain Symptoms include:

  1. Continuous headaches
  2. Muscle spasms in the back or neck
  3. Joint stiffness, swelling, and/or aching in joints
  4. Extreme fatigue
  5. Difficulty sleeping
  6. Depression
  7. Nausea
  8. Pain in the abdomen
  9. Excessive sweating
  10. Intense anxiety
  11. Chronic dizziness
  12. Memory loss
  13. Loss of appetite


Learn Stress-Reduction Techniques

Many things, including stress, can cause chronic pain. If you’re a senior citizen coping with chronic pain, there are some things you can do to help reduce your symptoms. First, attempt to pinpoint the root of your anxiety and see if there’s anything you can do to eliminate it. If that’s not possible, try relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. You can also try gentle exercises like Tai Chi or yoga.

In addition, be sure to get enough rest and eat a healthy diet. These lifestyle changes can help reduce chronic pain symptoms and make you feel better. Another alternative is to discuss pain medication with your doctor. Pain medications often have unpleasant side effects, so they should only be used when necessary. Chronic pain treatment may also include counselling or physical therapy.


How does Chronic Pain Affect Day-to-Day Life?

Chronic pain could have a significant impact on daily life. It could make it very difficult to do things you love, get a good night’s sleep, and sometimes even make you more morbidly depressed. Although there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for chronic pain, seniors do some things to help cope with their problems. Here are some pointers for seniors suffering from chronic pain:


1. Frequent exercise is essential

Frequent exercise is essential

First, you must maintain your physical health. If you want your physique to stay healthy and combat pain, you must keep it in top shape. It necessitates frequent exercise. You are not required to perform anything callous, but simple daily strolls can contribute to alleviating your chronic pain and improving your general health. Not just that, but when you work out, your brain stimulates the release of endorphins into your body. These endorphins serve as natural pain relievers, and they bring you happiness as well.


2. Keep hydrated

Stay hydrated

Our bodies are 60% water. Water is essential for keeping our joints moist and lubricated; our brains need water to feel good. If you have chronic pain, staying hydrated may be an excellent way to alleviate pain.


3. Keep an eye out for pressure

Keep an eye out for pressure

Stress often makes the situation worse. If you’re in a tense environment, your body may not respond well to psychological anguish. It, in turn, may end up causing your chronic pain to erupt. This isn’t inherently wrong. Maybe a little stress is what we need to get moving and make good decisions for ourselves. We must be mindful of how much stress we enable.


4. Consider getting a massage

Consider getting a massage

Based on the area of your chronic pain, a spa treatment can be hugely helpful in relieving pain in seniors. Massage helps in two ways. For starters, they can alleviate stress and as previously stated, excessive strain for seniors can be painful. Spa treatments, on the other hand, help to relax joints of the body, which can take the pressure off and keep your brain occupied. Refrain activities that may aggravate your chronic back pain, such as having to sit in a hot tub all day or lying in bed all day.


5. Consider using heat or cold therapy

Consider using heat or cold therapy

These treatments could be used to alleviate muscle spasms and decrease inflammation. Heat therapy also helps arthritic joints, while cold therapy can assist with injury issues and strains. Remember that using these therapies too frequently may cause irritation or burns.


Health Management Suggestions To Relieve Chronic Pain

  1. Don’t stay silent Discuss your chronic pain and therapeutic interventions with a medical professional.
  2. Get moving – Even a tiny amount of exercise will help alleviate chronic pain.
  3. Try breathing exercises Exercises such as yoga and meditation can help you to calm down and relieve pain.
  4. Handle your stress – Stress can aggravate chronic pain, so try and relax and de-stress.
  5. Monitor your diet Certain food products can aggravate chronic pain, so be aware of what you eat.
  6. Receive sufficient sleep Tiredness can exacerbate your chronic pain, so aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
  7. Eliminate liquor and caffeine These substances can aggravate chronic pain, so avert them whenever possible.
  8. Discuss medication with your doctor – Using medication you may be able to handle your chronic pain better than conventional means but consult with your doctor before beginning any prescription treatments.


Pain Management Using Holistic Strategies

As medical research reinforces and admits that chronic pain is a multifaceted process with biological, psychological, and sociological components, pain management has become more diverse. Traditional manipulation and spa treatment may be too stressful for many senior chronic pain patients, and even meditation may be too stressful. As a result, all treatment options must be suited and personalised for each patient.

Physical: Interaction between all health personnel is critical to ensure that all prescription medications are safe to take together and that treatment is appropriate to the senior’s needs. Factors like slowed metabolic activity, increased probability of using or abusing alcohol, lack of exercise, etc. need to be taken into account. Many seniors find it worthwhile to engage in sports that divert their attention away from severe discomforts.

Psychological: Anxiety, dementia, and depression are more common in seniors. Workouts, cognitive, mental, problem-solving, and interpersonal psychotherapy may benefit as non-medicated care options for seniors.

Social: Solitude is a challenge for many seniors due to losing loved ones, inability to drive, disease, frailty, and other factors. Tackling the need for more socialisation is critical to a senior’s overall wellness.


The Efficacy of Pain Management Therapies

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a marvellous alternative pain remedy. Numerous studies have found that acupuncture can help with chronic pain, including chronic low back pain (CLBP), neck pain, knee pain, osteoarthritis, and migraine headaches. A meta-analysis found that actual acupuncture treatment options for low back pain were no more helpful than phoney acupuncture treatments. Still, authentic acupuncture treatments were more valuable than no treatment at all. The impacts of acupuncture on the brain and nervous system and how these impacts can be evaluated are still being studied. Data shows that several factors unassociated with acupuncture needles, such as beliefs and expectations, may play critical roles in the positive effects of acupuncture on distress.


  • Chiropractic Treatment

In people with chronic lower back pain, chiropractic treatment was more helpful than hospital outpatient therapy in reducing the severity of impairment like versatility tests of lumbar flexion.


  • Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is gaining recognition as an effective way of managing chronic pain, and this might be an especially appealing option for senior chronic pain patients. Hypnosis is a condition of mystical experience accompanied by high receptivity to the proposal. Because of the psychosocial issues usually associated with chronic pain conditions, the hypnotic suggestion is more complicated for chronic pain than for intense pain.


  • Multidisciplinary Group

Functional Restoration (FR) is another method for managing chronic pain that takes a multifaceted approach. A physician/nurse team specialises in spine management; a psychologist to help individuals deal with stress and develop coping mechanisms; an exercise physiologist to help individuals improve everyday function toward established objectives.


Perspective for the Future

  • First, we must confront a challenging societal problem: ageism.

With many people who will live to old age in the decades ahead, society may be unable to preserve the notion that pain in seniors is normal. Measures shall be taken to educate medical professionals and the public about these issues. Most notably, the seniors must understand that pain is not an inevitable aspect of old age.


  • Second, an instructive plan must be developed.

Health professionals and caregivers must be well educated about the ageing process and the complex relationship between ageing and pain, including biological, psychological, and social aspects. It will better prepare them for multi-morbidity, weakness, and other more complicated challenges associated with old age. Evaluation and the obstacles to assessment in seniors are also key instructional issues. Different evaluation methods, such as the Faces Pain Scale and interpretive pain scales, must be in the repertoire of those caring for the seniors, in addition to the well-known and frequently used instruments such as the Visual Analogue Scale and Numerical Rating Scale.


  • Finally, we have a research proposal.

Most research pertaining to chronic pain should be conducted in groups of seniors and even more vulnerable populations, such as people with dementia. In past studies, enhanced and promising observational evaluation tools have been formed, which need to be applied and affirmed further. Pharmacologically, it is critical to investigate dose-effect relationships, drug reactions, and treatment options in senior patients. Non-pharmacological interventions, such as additional treatments focusing on the repercussions of pain, such as functional disability, should be established further. Pain evaluation and management issues in the growing senior population should receive special attention in research and training.



Chronic pain is a reality for many seniors, but there are ways to manage it so that it doesn’t take over your life. It’s important to understand chronic pain and how it differs from acute pain. You must find a healthcare team you trust who will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Do not be hesitant to get assistance from family and friends. Give yourself time to adjust to your new reality. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically and emotionally. Stay connected to the things that bring you joy. And finally, know that you’re not alone in this journey.

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Is it true that chronic pain worsens with age?

According to scientific studies, increasing age is a cause of chronic pain and painful conditions such as chronic neck pain, and lower back, knee, and shoulder pain.


What terrible condition most frequently affects the seniors?

The most common distressing conditions affecting seniors are joint problems. Still, the rate of chronic systemic disease that can also result in pain (e.g., forms of diabetes, cancer-related pain, post-stroke pain) is also high.


Why do the elderly cry and moan about their pain?

Fatigue might be the basis of a senior’s worries. These feelings are frequently exacerbated when they are supported by limited movement, tiredness, and other age-related changes that can affect their freedom, daily activities, and operations.


Is pain a normal part of ageing?

Pain is not really a normal part of ageing and often enhances or continues to remain stable over time, fatalism does not result in adjustment, and prescription medications are not extremely addictive in seniors, indicating that the stereotypes identified are misunderstandings of pain in later stages of life.


What are the effects of pain in seniors?

Pain is linked to significant disability due to decreased movement, prevention of action, falls, anxiety and depression, sleep disruption, and solitude. Its negative consequences stretch beyond the patient, disrupting both.