Chronic Back Pain in Seniors: 5 Easy Treatments

Author

Elderlink Home Care, Inc.

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Elderlink Home Care, Inc.

Posted on

Apr 09, 2024

Book/Edition

Colorado - Denver Metro

Older adults can experience pain related to many different conditions. Back pain, in particular, has a variety of possible causes, though the most common causes of chronic back pain in seniors are osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis. People over the age of 60 are more likely to experience back pain related to the degeneration of the joints in the spine. The good news is that there are also a variety of simple solutions that may help ease this pain.

Sometimes the simplest answer is the best, and in some cases, one little change can make all the difference. For others, a few adjustments to their habits or lifestyle can ease the discomfort.

There are other options besides surgery and prescription drugs.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a general term that means the swelling of a joint. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage at the joint wears down, leaving the bones without any protection against each other; it is the most common type of arthritis. It can occur at any joint in the body, though it is common in the spine.

When this happens, or if the cartilage is chipped or damaged on one side, the injured cartilage or the neighboring bone rub against the bone, causing further injury. This, along with the accompanying joint inflammation and muscle spasm, cause back pain.

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

This is a narrowing of the bone channel occupied by the spinal cord and nerves, which puts pressure on the nerves and can result in tingling, numbness, or pain. Spinal stenosis is related to osteoarthritis and degeneration of the spine and could show up in the fifth decade of life and continue through the years.

When the lower back develops lumbar stenosis, the spinal nerve roots in the low back become compressed and produce symptoms of sciatica—tingling, weakness, or numbness that radiates from the low back and into the buttocks and legs. This often gets worse with activity, which leads people to avoid movement and exercise.

Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle leads to additional health issues.

Symptoms of Chronic Back Pain in Seniors

Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:
• Pain that is most pronounced in the mornings and evenings.
• Pain that interrupts sleep.
• Pain after activity.
• Tender when pressed against.
• Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the back (being unable to twist or bend comfortably at the waist).

Spinal stenosis often features slightly different symptoms:
• Leg and lower back pain after even a short walk.
• Lower back pain that is quickly relieved by sitting down.
• Weakness, numbness, and tingling that moves from the low back into the buttocks and legs (sciatica).

In both cases, symptoms ranging from mild to severe may start slowly and increase over time.

Simple, Natural Treatments for Chronic Back Pain in Seniors

1. New, High-Quality Mattresses:

All mattresses are not created equal! A high-quality mattress can offer huge relief for those experiencing back pain since old, worn-out mattresses do little to support the back or neck.

2. Better Diet:

Healthy fats (flaxseed oil, avocado oil, olive oil, etc), fruits, vegetables, nuts, ginger, garlic, oatmeal, and lean protein sources all help reduce inflammation. Meanwhile, dairy, pastries, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, refined grains, and any heavily processed foods are best to avoid because they increase inflammation in muscles and joints.

3. Yoga:

Many older adults have found the practice of yoga to work in their favor, particularly by practicing restorative yoga, a deeply relaxing approach to the traditional practice. Depending upon your range of motion and fitness level, you might also choose a gentle hatha yoga or chair yoga class. Studies have shown positive outcomes like decreased pain, increased the range of motion and a greater sense of well-being for people with back pain. John Hopkins offers more tips for doing yoga with arthritis.

4. Acupuncture:

This is a gentle, alternative medicine approach to help ease and treat the aches and pains in aging bodies. Instead of treating symptoms, acupuncture helps treat the pain source naturally, without the use of drugs.

5. Massage Therapy:

Pills can cause many side effects and long-term health problems when taken too frequently. Massage therapy improves circulation and reduces inflammation and swelling; studies have shown it to be effective in reducing chronic back pain, which may reduce a patient’s need for pain pills.

Treating chronic back pain in the elderly doesn’t always mean resorting to prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs. There are all-natural alternatives that your caregiver may be able to help you try. Contact us today to learn more about in-home senior care.

Other Articles You May Like

Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

This year, Vincentian celebrates 100 years of compassionate care, and youre invited to join the celebration! Founded in 1924 to meet unmet community needs, Vincentian is committed to serving our neighbors compassionately with your help.You can join the movement by supporting Vincentian through the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community, a friends-asking-friends fundraiser and funraiser! It all culminates on Saturday, June 22, 2024, with a fun walk on Pittsburghs North Shore. All donations directly benefit Vincentians benevolent care to those in need. Get started today by visiting vincentian.us/walk to join a team, form a team, or register as an individual walker and fundraiser. By raising just 25 dollars, youll receive a Highmark Walk t-shirt and, if you register for the walk and attend the event, youll receive a Vincentian t-shirt, too! Join us for the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community to reconnect with old friends and make new memories, all while commemorating Vincentians 100 years of service to the community. For more information, visit vincentian.us/walk or email development@vcs.org.

Embracing Friendships

Embracing Friendship: A Guide to Making Connections Later in LifeWhen we were young, it was easy to make friends. No matter where we went, it was an opportunity to connect with others. But as we journey through life, the landscape of our social circles begins to undergo significant changes. Whether it's due to career moves, life transitions, or the natural ebb and flow of relationships, finding new friends can become a bit more challenging as we get older. But fear not! Making friends in your later years is not only possible but can be incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips to help you navigate the waters of adult friendship and build meaningful connections.Embrace Your HobbiesOne of the best ways to meet like-minded individuals is by engaging in activities you love. Whether it's joining a local book club, taking up a new hobby like painting or photography, or participating in community events, pursuing your passions can lead you to people who share your interests. Conversations flow more naturally when you're discussing something you love, providing a solid foundation for friendship.Attend Social EventsMany communities host social events that cater to a wide range of interests and ages. Attend local gatherings, festivals, or workshops to meet new people. This creates an organic environment for striking up conversations and finding common ground. Don't be shy to initiate discussions or join group activities. Remember, everyone is there to connect and make friends!Leverage TechnologyIn our digitally connected world, technology can be a powerful tool for forging new friendships. Join online communities and social media groups, or use apps designed to connect people with similar interests. Attend virtual events or participate in online forums related to your hobbies or passions. You might be surprised by the genuine connections that can blossom through these platforms.Volunteer Your TimeGiving back to the community is not only a fulfilling experience but also an excellent way to meet new people. Plus, its been proven that its good for your health! Another little perk. Volunteer at local charities, community centers, or events, and you'll likely encounter individuals who share your commitment to making a positive impact. Shared values can be a strong foundation for lasting friendships and relationships.Be Open and ApproachableFriendships often begin with a simple smile or a friendly greeting. Practice being open and approachable, even in everyday situations like at the grocery store or in your neighborhood. Small talk can lead to deeper conversations, and you never know when a chance encounter might turn into a meaningful connection.Reconnect with Old AcquaintancesLife gets busy, and people often lose touch with friends from their past. Take the initiative to reach out to old acquaintances or classmates. Rekindling old connections can be a delightful way to expand your social circle, and you may find that you have more in common now than you did before. Not to mention, its always fun to reminiscence on the past. Join Classes or WorkshopsLearning something new can be a fantastic way to meet people. Enroll in classes or workshops that interest you, whether it's a language course, dance class, or cooking workshop. The shared learning experience can foster a sense of camaraderie, making it easier to strike up conversations and build friendships.Attend Meetup GroupsPlatforms like Meetup.com offer a plethora of groups centered around various interests and activities. Whether you're into hiking, board games, or meditation, there's likely a meetup group in your area that caters to your preferences. Attend events hosted by these groups to meet individuals who share your hobbies.Remember, making friends at any age is about being genuine, open-minded, and patient. Building meaningful connections takes time, but the journey is well worth the effort. So, embrace the opportunities around you, be true to yourself, and watch as your circle of friends blossoms with kindred spirits. After all, friendship knows no age limits, and the joy of companionship is a treasure that can be discovered at any stage of life.This article was submitted by VIPCare Senior Primary Care.  

How Does Colorado Medicaid Pay for Assisted Living?

Does Medicaid pay for Assisted Living? Medicaid is funded in part by the federal government and in part by the states. If you are confused about Medicaid, you arent alone. The Federal and State government are continuously changing rules surrounding healthcare, making it difficult for many people to know if they are using the correct information and making the right choices. Below, weve gathered some of the main benefits and drawbacks as well as some links to our vetted resources. Or, feel free to give our team at Stacys Helping Hand, Inc a call at the number above if you would like a Denver assisted living expert to help provide some clarity.Does Medicaid Pay for Assisted LivingIn Colorado, you can apply directly to Medicaid on your own, or you can choose to get Medicaid through the PACE program. In the Denver area, the program is called the InnovAge Greater Colorado PACE. We recommend utilizing InnovAge if the centers are conveniently located due to the fact that many of the assisted living facilities that dont accept Medicaid will accept payments through InnovAge. The drawback is that InnovAge centers are in limited zip codes and require that you go through their network of experts. For difficult cases, you might need to talk to a local medicaid expert.Medicaid BenefitsIf you have limited assets, low income and you need help paying for nursing home or assisted living care, Medicaid might help you pay for part of your care. Nursing home and assisted living services are considered types of long-term care. Long-term care consists of not just medical services, but also personal services. For example, a resident in a nursing home might pay for assistance with bathing and dressing in addition to medical treatment. Medicaid rules for long-term care are significantly different in many ways than their rules for other services.Medicaid DrawbacksMedicaid may not be the best source of funding for assisted living depending on your situation. The first questions most often asked is whether Medicare will pay for assisted living. The answer is no. Medicare is strictly health insurance. Long Term Care Medicaid pays about 30% less than whats needed for most assisted living costs. Medicaid will cover up to $2250 a month at most.Since Medicaid reimbursement rates for assisted living facilities are not high, many assisted living communities dont accept Medicaid. The ones that do are often shared living communities. Also, given the limited range of services for which Medicaid provides assistance and the enrollment caps and waiting lists for Medicaid waivers, many families might benefit by finding affordable assisted living outside of the Medicaid system.EligibilityFor those who need help with assisted living in Denver, adults without dependent children whose household income does not exceed 133% Federal Poverty Level can apply here and will also need to apply for an Elderly Blind and Disabled Waiver (EBD Waiver). If they already have Colorado Medicaid Insurance, then they would apply for the Medicaid EBD Waiver. This waiver is what will contribute to covering the costs of assisted living.Weve written in more depth about the financial eligibility aspects of Long Term Care Medicaid (EBD Waiver) in Paying for Assisted Living Facilities: Spend Downs. In a nutshell, Long Term Care Medicaid requires you to contribute most of your income for room and board when you are living in an assisted living and the EBD Waiver will supplement the facility for your care. You are allowed to keep a small fixed amount of money as a personal needs allowance to pay for snacks, clothing and personal products.There are spousal protection rules, but if you need that much detail, wed recommend talking to a local expert. You can give us a call at Stacys Helping Hand, Inc at 720-248-7758

Local Services By This Author

Elderlink Home Care, Inc.

Non-Medical 9878 West Belleview Avenue, Littleton, Colorado, 80123

Elderlink Home Care, Inc. has been providing metro-area seniors with access to superior home care services for over 35 years. As a family business, we have spent decades perfecting the art of home care and learning everything we need to know to provide you with the best service possible at the best price available. Our services will allow you to age with dignity and control in the comfort of your own home.