As we become old, we start expecting a variety of problems, and when they occur, we throw our hands up in the air and give up, thinking that nothing can be done to relieve the imminent pain. Most often than not, pain relief is possible and long lasting too, mostly because not all symptoms faced by the elderly are caused by the ageing process.
Following is a list of common painful ailments experienced by the elderly, and how they can be treated:
- Arthritis – Although arthritis disease might seem unavoidable for the elderly, it is not actually related to ageing. By improving diet, balanced nutrition and regular exercise, you can reduce your risk of getting this joint pain disease. There are two main types of arthritis, osteoarthritis, which causes pain in weight bearing joints and occurs when cartilage between the bones breaks down, and rheumatoid arthritis, which causes pain in multiple joints and occurs when the immune system goes awry attacking body’s joints. The best way to prevent or cure this disease is to exercise, rather than consume side-effects laden pills and drugs. Exercise can strengthen the muscles and bones, help maintain weight and increase blood circulation. Supplement regular exercise with nutritional balanced diet. Use yoga, massage, acupressure, and heat/cold therapy for instant pain relief.
- Back pain – Back pain is the most common body pain occurring due to a variety of reasons. The most common reason is improper body posture while standing or sitting down. Other causes can be osteoporosis, spinal osteoarthritis, spinal disk degeneration or spinal stenosis. Be wary of upper and middle back pain, as they can be markers for heart attacks, kidney infections or other serious diseases. Lower back pain is more common, since lower back supports majority of the upper body. Usually, back pain will be relieved after a few weeks of active rest. For instant pain relief, stop your current activities and lie down comfortably on your back or sideways, with knees supported by a cushion. Try to stretch your back using back extension stretches, or take a short walk. Practice yoga regularly to keep back pain at bay. Strengthen your core muscles using exercise and strength training. Remember to keep your back straight and maintain correct posture.
- Heartburn – Heartburn is not a burning sensation in the heart. Rather it occurs when acids and enzymes from the stomach irritate the esophagus, usually after a meal. Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest. It also leaves a bitter taste in the mouth because of the digestive juices coming up. With age, the generation of saliva is reduced, increasing the intensity of heartburn. Avoid heartburn causing foods such as spicy and fatty foods, chocolate, onions, tomato, coffee, colas, hot tea and alcohol. Quit smoking, and reduce intake of peppermints. Sit up straight after a meal, and go to bed two or three hours after having your dinner. Try drinking chamomile tea to reduce heartburn, since it has anti-inflammatory properties. Reduce your number of medications, since they also can contribute to heartburn.
Instead of relying on pain-killing drugs, remember than regular exercise and healthy diet are the surest way to live a pain-free life.