By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.
If you are in pain, speak up, Gwen Gladfelter advised those attending the community health education program she conducted last week.
Gwen is a Care Consultant with the Galesburg office of Hospice COMPASSUS. She was speaking on “Understanding and Managing Your Pain” at the Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Aledo, Illinois.
Pain is not all in your head and is not something you should have to live with, she said.
Pain is our body’s way of sounding an alarm that something is not right. It is the result of injury, disease or damage to the body and may be a nuisance or a signal that something is seriously wrong.
If you are in pain, ask for help. Talk to your doctor or nurse. Be your own advocate.
The longer you wait to get help, the harder it will be to get better. If you act quickly, you can often prevent things from getting worse. Getting a handle on pain can help improve the quality of life.
There are safe and effective ways to treat pain without using pills. Here are some of the examples that Gwen mentioned:
Community Support Groups
Exercise, Yoga and Tai Chi
Massage – can help the body heal itself.
Ice and Heat – (be careful so that you don’t cause burns).
Meditation, Prayer, Spiritual and Pastoral Support
Humor – improves breathing, helps your heart, can reduce blood pressure.
Music – can help a person relax and relieve anxiety. Can also help with nausea and vomiting.
Chiropractic Care – move the spine to aid in healing.
Acupuncture – relief of pain and treating illness.
Reiki (ray-key) – a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.
Because what works for someone else may not work for you, it is important that the treatment of pain be individualized, Gwen said.
Discuss the situation and your options with your doctor. You should always feel comfortable asking your doctor why he or she is recommending a particular course of treatment.
For your doctor to best be able to help you, Gwen recommended that you be prepared to talk about such things as…
How does your pain feel?
How often do you feel the pain?
What time of day is your pain the worst?
What gets your pain started?
Does your pain stay or does it come and go?
What makes your pain better?
What makes your pain worse?
What have you tried that makes your pain better?
What do you think causes your pain?
What medications have you used in the past?
Does your pain cause you problems in meeting your personal needs?
If your doctor gives you something to help relieve or manage your pain and your pain does not go away, let them know, she said. You don’t have to live with pain.
“BMA Management is the leading provider of affordable assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”