Pain and aging—it’s an unfortunate fact of life. As we increase in age, so does our risk for painful health conditions. Research also suggests the experience of pain changes as we age; the treatments for it must often change as well.
More Painful Problems
“As we get older we are more likely to experience pain because of the kinds of health problems that go with getting older,” says Patricia A. Parmelee, PhD, director of the Alabama Research Institute on Aging at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. “There are a number of disorders linked with the aging body that are painful,” she says. Of these, one of the most common is osteoarthritis (OA).
The likelihood of developing arthritis increases with age. The CDC reports that 7% of people between the ages of 18 and 44 say they have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Among people 65 and older, that number is 50%.
Continue reading Aging and Arthritis Pain: Should Treatment Plans Change as We Age?
Researchers agree – meditation can help with a host of health problems. “Relaxing and quieting your mind by focusing on your breathing can reduce stress – even the stress that comes with arthritis flares,” says David E. Yocum, MD, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center in Tucson. His studies, as well as others, found that patients who meditated responded to stress with lower heart rates and improved immune function; and that meditation, in combination with traditional medicines, appears to help patients with chronic pain. Studies have shown that meditation inhibits or relieves pain perception. And in a study published in the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s scientific journal in April 2015, 43 patients who used a mindfulness meditation program as part of their pain management experienced lower general anxiety and depression, better mental quality of life (psychological well-being), a greater feeling of control of the pain, and higher pain acceptance.
Continue reading Easy Meditation Options for Pain
The pain of childbirth – experienced by women throughout the world every day – is considered to be one of the worst pains humans can bear. But women don’t have to give birth to know more pain than men.
Continue reading Gender Differences in Pain
In a perfect world, pain wouldn’t exist, our weight would be optimal and we’d enjoy daily exercise and have energy to spare. But as arthritis pain and stiffness invade joints, the desire to exercise and the energy for much of anything can wane.
The world is not perfect, but there are ways to manage weight, minimize pain and improve energy levels. By changing habits, anyone can make small changes that will have a big impact over time.
Not sure where to start? We asked experts to help compile this top 10 list of habits to adopt.
Continue reading 10 Healthy Habits For Better Arthritis Management
Soaking in warm water, with or without minerals, is one of the oldest forms of medicine. And there’s good reason why this practice has stood the test of time. Research has shown it works wonders for all kinds of musculoskeletal complaints, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and low back pain.
“Water is wonderful,” says Carol Huegel, a physical therapist with ReQuest Physical Therapy, Gainesville, Fla. Huegel says submersion aids sore joints three ways: It reduces the force of gravity that’s compressing the joint; offers 360-degree support for sore limbs (almost like an Ace bandage); and can increase circulation and decrease inflammation. And Huegel says its moist heat is more penetrating than the dry heat you’d get from a heating pad.
Continue reading Use Your Tub to Fight Joint Pain and Stiffness
Meditation includes many different practices of focused thinking and relaxation and studies show it can help people with arthritis. No matter what technique you choose, the goal is to improve coping strategies for pain and reduce symptoms like stress and anxiety. Maybe you’ve even tried it – but two minutes felt like two hours and after each 20-minute session, the result was the same: You created a mental to-do list and had a sore behind. You’re not alone.
“We are so used to multitasking that we find it difficult to sit down and turn off our thoughts,” explains Scott Zashin, MD, a rheumatologist and clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. “Meditation is not a quick fix; it takes time.”
Continue reading Meditation for Arthritis Pain? A Beginner’s Guide
Can classical music soothe aching limbs and decrease your stress? Yes! sing researchers and music therapists alike. By listening to slow-tempo classical music, pain from chronic arthritis may ease, research indicates. Researchers at the Florida Atlantic University College of Nursing, Boca Raton, found that participants’ pain levels decreased because they were distracted by the music. Stress levels did, too. Music therapists have also found that heart muscles synchronize to the beat of music, as does breathing. When classical music rhythms mimic the average resting heart – approximately 70 beats per minute – the soothing sounds actually helped to slow fast-beating hearts.
Continue reading Classical Music Eases Arthritis Symptoms