Managing Pain: Staying as Young as You Feel

Many of us feel young at heart, but our bodies don’t seem to be on the same page. About 80 percent of Americans ages 65 and older suffer from a chronic disease and 30 percent have three or more chronic diseases. In many cases, these conditions spell long-term pain. Research has shown that half of older adults who live independently and 75 percent who live in an assisted care facility experience persistent pain.

Electrical and chemical nerve signals in the body can become damaged, causing continual pain. Even if the pain began with an illness or injury, it can persist long after those conditions have healed if permanent changes occurred in the body.

Doctors have found the best way to manage a patient’s pain is to address their physical, emotional and cognitive needs. Today, mind-body therapies and complementary medicine are becoming part of a comprehensive approach to help alleviate chronic pain. These therapies include Reiki, acupuncture, massage, magnet therapy, biofeedback, hypnosis and others. Many of these therapies can be effectively used along with traditional medicine to help treat minor illnesses, such as colds, as well as chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia.

Complementary medicine has been shown to reduce stress, increase coping skills and improve mood. Studies have shown individuals with chronic pain who use complementary medicine often experience a decrease in their pain levels. According to a survey by the National Institutes of Health, 55 percent of people say they use mind-body therapies and conventional treatments because they believe they get better results.

If you experience pain that has lasted more than six months, you may want to talk to your doctor about mind-body therapies. He or she can help coordinate your care and provide you with more information on the type of therapies that may be ideal for you. In addition to your prescribed treatment plan, complementary medicine may put you on the path of pain-free, rejuvenated, living.

Little Company of Mary’s Interventional Radiology services encompass multiple sub-specialized sections, including pain management, oncology, peripheral vascular disease, deep venous thrombosis/pulmonary embolism, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, hypertension and end-stage renal disease, women’s health, pediatrics, and varicose veins.  Click here to learn more.

Sources: JNeurosci.org, MedlinePlus.gov, NationalPainFoundation.org

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