As we age, our bodies begin to deteriorate, creating a slew of physical ailments. One of the most common ailments the elderly deal with is back pain. Whether they live in a senior rehabilitation center or at home with loved ones, the elderly are highly susceptible to chronic back pain. Thankfully, there are a handful of things you can do to relieve your pain or even prevent it altogether. Here are the top ten back pain remedies for the elderly.
Although back pains and aches can make it difficult to exercise, getting out and moving around can actually be a big help to your pain. Exercise has a slew of positives, such as strengthening your body and increasing your pain tolerance. Establishing an exercise routine can also help you lose weight which can be extremely beneficial as being overweight is a common contributor to back pain.
2. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is similar to exercise, but it is guided by a professional and is more targeted to relieve specific areas of pain. Your physical therapist will likely have you do exercises designed to stretch and strengthen your back. Things like fixing your posture and strengthening weak parts of your back can alleviate and sometimes even eliminate back pain.
3. Heat Therapy
Applying heat to the affected areas is a great way to relax your back muscles and stimulate blood flow. Just be careful when applying heat, as you don’t want to accidentally singe your skin and cause even more pain. Additionally, you‘ll want to stretch after heat therapy in order to get the full benefit from your relaxed muscles.
4. Ice Therapy
In a similar vein to heat therapy, ice therapy is the application of ice to affected areas. Ice therapy reduces blood flow, something that can help reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. This type of therapy is best used for new back injuries you’re attempting to mitigate and isn’t recommended for chronic pain.
Reliving your back pain could be as simple as resting and relaxing. Giving your back some time to relax and rest allows it to heal, and can eventually lead to less pain. If you find yourself frequently overworking your back or doing activities that strain your back, try taking some time off and resting.
One of the easiest ways to quickly get rid of back pain is through medication. Over-the-counter pain pills and prescription painkillers can alleviate back pain depending on its severity. Medication can provide almost instant relief, limiting the pain you experience for a while. However, you should not solely rely on medicine to ease your back pain, so you’ll want to pair it with some of the other ideas on this list.
Massaging areas of pain is a great way to provide relief and loosen up some muscles. Rubbing effective areas can eliminate muscle knots and other problems, providing relief. However, if you decide to go this route, you should do so with a trained professional. Massages from someone who doesn’t know what their doing could end up doing more harm than good. Additionally, the gentle touch of a masseuse is usually required for older and frailer bodies.
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine where fine needles are inserted into your body to stimulate the healing process. The effectiveness of acupuncture is hotly debated, with some claiming it’s phony and others claiming it completely relieved their pain. If you’re interested in trying, just make sure you work with a trained competent professional to ensure your safety.
Injections are one of the more serious ways to deal with back pain, but they can be a big help. Some injections like steroids and nerve blockers are key parts of back pain treatment, providing patients with a lot of pain relief. However, these injections are very serious, so you’ll want to discuss everything with a trained medical professional before you make any big decisions.
Another medical option you can consider is surgery. Surgery is often seen as a last resort for back pain, as the recovery process can be brutal, especially for the elderly. Getting surgery on your back is a serious decision, and should occur only when absolutely needed. Additionally, you might want to get a second or third opinion from doctors, just to confirm that surgery is necessary.