JUST FOR SUNDAY: 10/21/12

Oct 21st, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Managing Pain As We Age

Most anything can be endured for a short period of time.  Even pain.  But stretch it out endlessly and the ability to cope becomes compromised.  Aging brings with it the need to find ways to deal with the presence of pain. Medications, both prescribed and over the counter, proliferate as a means of dealing with the incessant attack of pain.  The wide variety of meds available on the market today require some understanding of their potential dangers as well.  While promising to relieve pain, they also come with side affects that are equally problematic.

Keeping pain at bay is the day by day challenge faced by seniors. Some are manageable, some are not.  The more severe forms often create challenges beyond bearing.  Among persons I have known and loved have been those who have had to fight rheumatoid arthritis.  In my growing up years, my father had to endure the ever present attack of swelling and aching.  His started at a relatively young age, and at a time when little was known about treating it.

It handicapped and limited his ability in a variety of ways.  He was unable to enjoy occasions of celebration as his son grew to manhood.  It did not kill him, but at 79, at his death, his body had been clearly ravaged by this insidious disease.

I have known women who, similarly, have had to deal with swollen hands and fingers, joints limiting their capacity to be mobile, and pain that prevented their enjoyment of life.

Such pain is an enemy who offers little comfort and persistent patience.  Finding ways to deal with it is beyond the cliches of commercials.  While there are today more treatments available offering some relief, it can still be, like many others, a debilitating experience.

Attitude is Always a Factor

Among those I have known who have had to take on this enemy of productive living, some have shown that their outlook on life helps them.  There it is again, how we feel often comes from how we cope.  How we cope is often motivated by attitude.  Attitude is not a cure all, but it may well be the one driving force that helps most in keeping the aggravating presence of pain minimal.

There are no easy outs or Pollyanna cures for many diseases.  There are ways of coping and finding that life can be lived, even with pain.  Taking on the enemy means doing what many have learned to do:  get plenty of rest, stay in charge of your own life, eat a healthy diet, have a partner who understands, and keep in touch with the grace of living.



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