The month of September is known for various things: the start of football season, crisp weather and beautiful fall foliage. What many don’t recognize is that September is also National Pain Awareness Month.
Greater attention is being paid to healthcare problems that are more common to seniors. The month of September is a great opportunity for caregivers to educate themselves about chronic pain.
What is Chronic Pain?
According to Medicine Plus, chronic pain is defined as “any pain lasting more than 12 weeks.” Chronic pain persists, often lasting for months or even longer.
Seniors and Chronic Pain
Research shows that 50% of older adults suffer from chronic pain. Although the numbers are staggering, pain among older adults is often overlooked and undertreated. This discount can lead to serious health consequences, such as depression and poor sleep. Untreated chronic pain may also contribute to decreased physical activity due to fear of discomfort.
The coloration between the aging and chronic pain can often be attributed to natural changes. As one ages, sleep patterns change, muscles and joints become stiff and overall energy levels drop. Because of this, seniors choose not to report their pain. Many believe that it can’t be treated or that it will lead to more tests and medicine. However, reporting pain to a medical professional is the first step in coping and managing chronic pain.
Contact a Medical Professional
Treatment of chronic pain may involve a team of various pain management specialists – including physicians, pharmacists and therapists. The knowledge of professionals from a variety of disciplines is useful for helping seniors manage their symptoms and relieve physical and emotional distress.
As a caregiver, it’s essential to support a loved one that is suffering from chronic pain. Taking time this month to expand your knowledge of chronic pain will ensure that your loved one receives the proper care that they deserve.