How to manage Pain Naturally in Older Adults

Many seniors experience terrible pain due to a vast variety of health problems; like shingles arthritis, fractures, and poor circulation. Many of those who suffer do not want to take their medication, do not have adequate insurance or money for the medication, or do not want to voice their “problems” to their care professionals.

Why do seniors have such awful pain control? There are a few answers to this question.  Seniors may be hesitant when it comes to taking their pain medication. Their doctor may have increased their dosage or changed their medication, while the seniors themselves do not wish to change their established habits. They may also fear the side effects such as constipation, insomnia or drowsiness, addiction, or confusion. The cost might be too high, and the senior may have a strained budget and may not have the appropriate health coverage. Some seniors may just assume that there are no options of pain control for them and they simply must live with persistent pain every day.

Some seniors may think that they are just complaining, and they may view that as a weakness, so they do not inform their doctor. There are many reasons why seniors may not have control of their pain, but there are quite a few, non-invasive options for managing pain.


Chronic pain can easily invade all areas of a person’s life. Distraction is a helpful way to take your mind off the pain. When seniors that take pain medication concentrate all of their focus only on the pain, they find themselves watching the clock in expectation of the next dosage of pain medicine.   They are sometimes so preoccupied with it, they can think of little else. However, many seniors are able to successful distract themselves with activities that may take their mind off the discomfort, at least for a while. Activities that interest the senior have a tendency to be more effective.


For some people, tense muscles can actually make the pain worse. Relaxation techniques can help ease some of the pain. Some seniors may find it helpful to listen to verbal cues for relaxing or relaxing music. Exercise classes, such as yoga or Pilates, also have relaxation components that many seniors find helpful. Focusing on each muscle and relaxing them may turn a person’s thoughts to the muscles rather than the pain.

Frequent Changes in Position

Laying or sitting in one position for a long time may lead to increased pain. Seniors that are bedridden will rapidly develop pressure ulcers or other serious conditions that can lead to additional declines in their health and much more pain. Frequent changes in position and performing range of motion exercises can help decrease the hazards of immobility such as pressure sores, improve circulation and decrease pain.


Massages can be helpful in relieving pain. A plain back rub in the evening may be useful in relieving stress and pain before going to bed. Gentle massage can help a person to relax. However, a deep massage should always be performed by qualified professionals. Massaging particular areas, like the neck or legs, may add to the risk of injury. This makes it crucial to ask their doctor about safe massage techniques before trying to do so.

Warm and cold therapy

Warm therapy, like a heating pad or warm pack, will increase blood flow to an injured area and help relax sore muscles. Cold therapy can decrease inflammation, provide a numbing effect and may help to manage nerve pain. Many seniors find that alternating warm and cold therapy may provide pain relief. However, this type of therapy has a high risk for injury in seniors; the skin should always be covered before applying a compress. They should not be used for more than ten minutes at a time.


Biofeedback can sometimes give a person data about how pain and stress affects their body. For instance, the blood pressure, respirations, and pulse may be elevated because of stress or pain. Sometimes understanding this data can help a person to become more aware and may help them to identify sources of stress and pain.

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle can help control pain. For example, those who are obese may experience a lot of pain in weight-bearing joints and those who smoke will experience difficulties breathing and painful coughing episodes. An absence of consistent exercise routine can result in painful and stiff joints and added chronic health problems. Altering your lifestyle into a healthier one can result in many health benefits, including pain control.

Many seniors have to go through each day in terrible pain. If you or your loved one is having trouble controlling pain you should consider looking into our homecare services. For more information about our services please go to Our Services page.