Pain is not a normal part of life for the elderly. Often, if the pain isn’t chronic, it can be caused by other physical issues or illnesses. If you have an aging parent or loved one that is experiencing intense pain, the first step to figuring out how to treat and manage it is having a doctor examine them. Use the following step-by-step guide, provided by the Boca Raton home care company, Home Care Assistance, to help you better understand senior pain issues and how to effectively manage it:
The Difference Between Acute Pain and Chronic Pain
Acute pain is caused by an underlying injury and normally goes away as the body heals. If the pain continues untreated for an extended period of time, it may turn into chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain that continues or grows worse over the course of several months or years. Chronic pain is often caused by arthritis, cancer, back problems and nerve issues.
Step #1: Diagnosis
Proper diagnosis will help determine the proper course of action for someone with extensive pain issues. The first step is an extensive physical examination. This examination can be performed at home by yourself or another family member before you head to the doctor’s office. This involves gently pressing against different parts of your loved one’s body to determine where the pain is occurring.
When you visit the doctor, they’ll be able to run more in-depth tests such as stimulation and imaging tests. Stimulation tests normally include an electromyography, evoked potential examinations and nerve conduction tests. The doctor will be able to tell which muscles or nerves have been affected. Standard imaging tests include x-rays and MRI, both of which can tell the physician if your mother or father is suffering from any type of injury.
Step #2: Treatment
Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, the physician will propose multiple treatment options. Some of the options include:
- Medicine – A variety of medicine is available that can help treat chronic pain. Some of those include muscle relaxers, acetaminophen, steroids and more. Each type of medicine may be prescribed depending on the root cause for your family member’s pain. You should always carefully follow dosage instructions given to your parents by the doctor.
- Devices for Walking – If walking or other similar physical activity is the main cause of their pain, it might be best to purchase devices that can assist with mobility such as canes or walkers. Doing so will help relieve the stress they put on their joints and muscles.
- Physical Therapy – Therapy is an excellent way to reduce pain. Taking your parents to a therapist at least once a week will help ease the long-term pain with special exercises.
Once you have a treatment plan in hand, ensure your parents are taking their medicine on a regular basis. Assist them as much as possible with moving around the house and taking short walks outside, if possible. If you are unable to care for your loved one, seek help from a local home care agency that offers services such as part-time or hourly home care in Boca Raton.
Step #3: Checkups
Take your elderly family member to monthly checkups with his or her doctor. The doctor will determine if the pain is progressing or decreasing and can adjust their medicine dosage accordingly or discuss alternative methods of treatment with you.
Does your aging parent or loved one experience chronic pain that prevents them from carrying out regular routines and activities? Reach out to Home Care Assistance of Boca Raton today and learn more about our highly trained caregivers who are available 24/7. Call 561-826-9282 and schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation today.