Prevention, Self-Care, and Safety : Older Adults : Preventative Care
Coping with Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be the result of an injury, illness, or medical condition, or its cause may be unknown. Some people with chronic pain can develop emotional problems or physical limitations that impair their relationships, hamper job performance, and limit their activities.
Effective pain treatments are available. You can also take steps yourself to ease ongoing discomfort.
Find a health care provider who understands chronic pain, has experience treating pain similar to yours, is willing to talk and listen to you, and is willing to speak with your family.
Work with your health care provider to identify your pain and determine a pain-management plan. Your plan may include medications as well as non-medical treatments, such as exercise and meditation. Keeping a pain diary that includes where the pain is, how bad it is, how often it occurs, and what makes it better or worse can help your doctor find appropriate treatments.
Take care of your mental health. If you think you may be depressed because of your pain or are having difficulty with another emotional problem, tell your health care provider.
Explore your treatment options. Most treatment plans involve a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Many types of medications are used to treat chronic pain. Some drugs are long-acting to treat pain that is continuous; others are short-acting to treat pain that comes and goes.
Variety of options
Over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen and Naproxen, which also reduce inflammation
Steroidal drugs, such as prednisone, for more serious inflammatory conditions
Opioid pain medications, such as oxycodone for moderate to severe pain
Local anesthetics that are injected around nerve roots—a group of nerves—or into muscles or joints to decrease swelling, irritation, muscle spasms, and abnormal nerve activity
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or exercising
Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, meditation