Approximately 100 million Americans are currently living with a form of chronic pain, while millions more are experiencing acute pain, which can also impact their quality of life. Some painful conditions are also more common at different periods in a person’s life. Learn more about the seven biggest age-related pains and how to ease them.
- Lower Back Pain
Anyone who has ever experienced lower back pain will know how debilitating it can be. It is also one of the most common forms of chronic pain in the US. If you are experiencing back pain and are under the age of 50 years old, yet have never experienced a back injury, it is more than likely caused by many hours of sitting, as this can apply pressure onto your back’s discs. If you’re over the age of 50, lower back pain could be caused by an age-related health condition, such as arthritis.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to alleviate lower back pain without the need for painkillers, such as a massage. Find out more about how to naturally ease back pain without surgery or medication.
The second most common form of chronic pain is regular headaches and migraines. Despite them affecting millions of people across the world, experts are still unsure about the cause of the condition. Yet, they can be a symptom of dehydration, muscle tension, PMT, food choices, and even weather changes. You’re also more likely to experience headaches between your 20s and 50s.
There are different forms of headaches people experience. For instance, if you experience a headache in your temple and forehead, you might have a tension headache. Simply massage the painful area, or apply a menthol cream to either your forehead or the base of your neck to ease the associated pain. You can also take pain medication, such as ibuprofen, but you should not take an over-the-counter medication for more than three days. It’s important to discuss the problem with your doctor if headaches persist.
Osteoarthritis affects approximately 33% of adults over the age of 60, and it can be an incredibly painful condition that can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. The condition can develop when the joint and bone’s protective cartilage breaks down, which can cause pain in a person’s hands, hips, knees, and other joints. It can be a sign of age-related changes or might be caused by wear-and-tear or an injury from a sport.
Physical activity can provide a natural form of pain relief, as it helps the blood to circulate throughout your body, which can reduce pain while keeping your joints healthy. What’s more, it can strengthen your joint muscles, so can ease the pressure on both the bone and joint. It is, however, essential to discuss physical activity with your doctor if you are living with severe arthritis or are relatively new to exercise.
Are you experiencing joint pain that’s not caused by arthritis? It could be tendinitis. It’s caused by an inflammation of the tendon, which is the tissue band that connects muscles to your bones. The pain can often be caused by repetitive motions, and the more you move your joints, the more pain you might experience. You’re also more likely to develop tendinitis if you’re over the age of 40, as the tendons will lose their elasticity as you age, so you become prone to injury.
If you believe you are suffering from tendinitis, you should rest and elevate your joints while applying ice. You must also attempt to take a much-needed break from the repetitive activities that aggravate your joints. If the pain does not ease after one week, it’s important to book an appointment with your doctor to discuss the problem.
- Pelvic Pain
Reportedly, 1 in 7 women aged between 18 to 50 experience chronic pelvic pain, which can feel like a dull ache or sharp pain. The pain is not associated with a female’s period, and is more than likely a result of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or endometriosis.
While over-the-counter medications may alleviate the symptoms, you should speak to your doctor if the pain lasts for more than a couple of days. They can then provide the appropriate treatment for the cause of the pain, which could range from muscle relaxing medication to physical therapy.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome often occurs in adults in the mid-40s or mid-60s. You are also more likely to experience the condition if you are living with arthritis, have a history of carpal tunnel syndrome, or are experiencing hormone changes caused by menopause. The condition can develop when the nerve that travels from your arm up to your palm is either squeezed or pressed. Consequently, it can cause pain, numbness and tingling in the wrist and fingers.
If you believe you could be living with carpal tunnel syndrome, you should visit your doctor, who might suggest different exercises, physical or occupational therapy or over-the-counter pain medication. If the condition does not ease, surgery might be the most effective way to eliminate the pain.
- Muscle Pain or Strain
Many people, unfortunately, experience different muscle pains and strains as they age. That’s because your body’s muscle fibers will become less dense over time, which can reduce flexibility while making you more likely to experience an injury or soreness. It’s for this reason many older adults complain of muscle pain following various forms of physical activity, such as exercise or gardening. You’re likely to experience muscular pain and strain with each passing decade, too.
Often, the only way to reduce pain and strain is not to push yourself too hard when performing physical activity. For example, you should not push, pull, or lift heavy items without assistance. You can also increase your flexibility by performing stretching exercises, such as Pilates or yoga. This can help you develop limber muscles, which can also prevent soreness. If your muscles are sore, both rest and elevate your muscles and apply ice. Talk to your doctor if pain persists or increases.