Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that, according to the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, is experienced by 100 million Americans every year. While it is associated with a host of other physical and mental conditions, including loss of sleep, cardiovascular disease, compromised brain function, weight gain, adrenal fatigue and a higher risk of developing depression or anxiety, it can have an especially devastating impact in older individuals as it can compromise their maintenance of an active, healthy lifestyle for combatting the effects of aging. What challenges does the older population face, how does keeping an active lifestyle help, and what chronic pain treatments are available to keep them moving?
Pain and Aging
It’s estimated that there are more than 40 million Americans over the age of 65, and that number is only expected to rise in the coming years as the Baby Boomers age. Recent reports indicate that up to 75% of those over 65 are having problems with chronic pain, and those rates are even higher in nursing homes and assisted living centers. For many of these older adults, avoiding pain means avoiding activities that contribute to the pain, but that loss of physical activity eventually decreases total mobility, increasing the risk of functional decline and mortality. With reduced activity, individuals:
- Are less mentally and physically stimulated and more prone to disability
- Experience less social interaction, which can lead to feelings of isolation and depression
- Can experience weight gain, causing more pain in the knees, hips and back
- Can lose sleep, contributing to fatigue, weight gain, and less mental and physical acuity
We know that staying active is important as we age, but how does maintaining an active lifestyle help combat this decline in health?
Fountain of Youth
The benefits of regular exercise have been studied extensively, and include a reduction in the risk of heart attack and stroke, a reduction in stress, depressive symptoms and blood glucose levels, and an improvement in lung and cardiac function. According to the National Institute for Aging, exercise is vital for those wanting to fight Father Time, as there is a clear connection between maintenance of muscle strength and cardiovascular tone, and the ability to perform the activities of daily living. Exercise accomplishes:
- An Increase in muscle mass, which increases bone density and reduces the risk of bone breaks
- A reduction in the risk of falls by increasing flexibility and balance
- A reduction in stress, orthoarthritic pain and stiffness, and the risk of depression and dementia
- An increase of energy levels to fight fatigue
Is Chronic Pain Keeping You From Staying Active?
Many chronic pain treatments are available to help older individuals avoid settling for inactivity and to regain and maintain their independence. The medical professionals at Advanced Wellness and Rehab use an all-inclusive approach to address the sources of pain, including chiropractic care, physical and massage therapies, MyoKinesthetic treatments, and braces or orthotics. Contact us today to learn more about how to get moving again!