Pain and pain management are a growing concern among the elderly in America. Many older adults consider joint pain and aches as a normal part of aging. While many prefer to self-medicate, others quietly endure the pain. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), a majority of elderly persons today have significant pain problems that go undertreated. If not evaluated and addressed, pain in older adults can lead to other health issues such as depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, reduced functionality and independence, and lower quality of life. Geriatric care in Brooklyn, NYC, involves using several proven modalities to help older adults better manage pain and improve mobility and quality of life.
Common Causes of Geriatric Pain
The common causes of pain among the elderly are:
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bone spurs
- Frozen shoulder
- Muscular strain
- Myeloma or leukemia
- Inflammatory spondyloarthopathy
Treating Pain in the Elderly
Treating pain in older adults requires careful evaluation of the symptoms and their severity as well as the patient’s ability to perform routine tasks. At multi-specialty healthcare centers in Brooklyn, a professional team comprising neurologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, rehabilitation specialists, orthopedists and pain management doctors collaborate to conduct a thorough review of the patient’s medical history and symptoms in order to identify the root cause of the pain. Diagnostic imaging tests such as X-ray, CT and MRI scan may be used to examine joints and tissues. Once the condition is diagnosed, they will provide the patient with a customized treatment plan that may combine both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.
Pharmacological approaches involve the use of analgesics, nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), analgesics, nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation, and steroid injections to relieve chronic musculoskeletal pain. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can help relieve acute pain. Injections deliver steroids into the joints, muscles, ligaments or around nerves to reduce pain and inflammation. Spinal cord stimulation involves implanting a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) in the body to deliver electrical pulses to the spinal cord, which lessens pain.
Non-pharmacologic measures include physical therapy and chiropractic treatment. Brooklyn healthcare centers also offer elderly fall prevention programs help to reduce the risk of falling among older adults. Physical therapy exercise programs help reduce pain and restore normal function and body movement. They include various therapeutic exercises that help patients manage pain by strengthening the muscles around the joints. Chiropractic care for chronic back pain involves spinal cord manipulation to restore mobility of the joints. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) aims to reduce pain by means of a low-voltage electric stimulation that interacts with the sensory nervous system. Ice or heat application can be used to control pain and reduce muscle spasms and inflammation.
By customizing pain treatment through a holistic, compassionate approach, physicians in a reliable Brooklyn healthcare center help geriatric patients manage pain, regain physical and mental balance, and optimize quality of life.