Tips to Address Aches and Pains
Starting your day with pain can make it difficult to get up and go on about your day. But getting sufficient sleep and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help alleviate pain.
As you age, musculoskeletal pain is more common. By age 65, up to 80 percent of people experience daily pain. Over the age of 50, 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men experience widespread pain over multiple areas of the body.
Some aches and pains in the morning are temporary. This pain occurs because your body suppresses inflammation while you sleep. When you start moving around in the morning, inflammatory markers go back up. These markers mean you'll have increased pain levels and more inflammation in the morning.
Sleep quality and quantity can have a significant effect on your pain levels. In fact, research suggests in adults over the age of 50, non-restorative sleep is the strongest predictor of widespread pain onset. Other risk factors include poor physical health, memory impairment, and anxiety. Luckily, how much sleep you get is a factor that you can control to a certain extent.
Treatments and Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Pain
Find out the cause of pain. Pain can have many sources, some requiring medical treatment. Work with your doctor to diagnose the source of your pain and rule out any serious conditions that need treatment. If the source of your pain is age-related, lifestyle changes and alternative treatments may offer some relief.
Sleep well. Getting the quality sleep you need each night can lower your risk of experiencing pain throughout the day. Practice good sleep hygiene, maintaining a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine. Choose a mattress that meets your needs for comfort and support, taking the time to compare mattresses online and read reviews to find the right model. Avoid habits that can interfere with healthy sleep, such as late-night screen time, consuming caffeine, alcohol, or heavy meals before bed, or vigorous exercise just before you go to sleep.
Seek chiropractic treatment. Some aches and pains can be relieved with chiropractic treatment. You may need an adjustment to get back into alignment and relieve pain. Your chiropractor may use a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit to induce pain relief by stimulating nerves with pulsed electrical currents. This treatment can be effective for mild pain.
Consider alternative treatments. Other treatments include massage, which can relieve tension and stress in your muscles. Some people have had success in reducing pain with acupressure, which is a massage style that is similar to acupuncture. Acupuncture, meditation, and other alternative treatments may help you sleep.
Apply heat and cold. Applying heat and cold can ease some types of pain, including joint pain and back strains. Cold numbs the pain, while heat relaxes muscles. You can try one or the other, or alternate between the two. These treatments can reduce inflammation to offer some relief.
Use pain relievers. Over-the-counter analgesics can relieve pain and may reduce inflammation. Aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium are medications commonly used to relieve pain. But they can come with side effects, including stomach pain, ulcers, and nausea. There is also a risk of kidney damage or other problems. Long-term use of pain relievers should be considered carefully with your doctor.
Apply topical pain relievers. Topical pain relievers are applied where you feel pain. They are generally preferable to oral analgesics, because they are only applied locally and have fewer side effects, and can be used in combination with hot and cold therapy.
Aches and pains may seem like an inevitable part of aging, but there are steps that you can take to reduce your pain.