Older adults are more likely to suffer from pain. Studies reveal that approximately 92% live with at least one chronic condition. As a result, they underreport pain as they see it as part of aging.
While we can associate some uncomfortable sensations in the body with age, it reaches a point when you must seek professional help.
So, when should you speak to your doctor about your pain? Find out more below!
What Types of Pain do Adults Experience?
Various factors can cause pain in older adults. For instance, you’re more likely to suffer from several conditions simultaneously as you age.
Although it can be difficult and often require medical diagnosis, understanding the cause of your pain is essential. Sometimes, identifying the type of pain you’re suffering from helps you know whether you need to see a doctor or not.
Here are some types of pain older adults are likely to experience:
- Back pain due to arthritis or degenerative changes (occurs mostly in the low back and neck)
- Chronic joint pain (such as knee or hip joint pain)
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Peripheral neuropathic pain (typically due to diabetes or postherpetic neuralgia)
When To Talk to Your Doctor About Pain
While most older adults become accustomed to pain, it’s crucial to speak to a doctor once it reaches a particular stage. So, when should you seek professional help?
If You Experience Severe or Intense Pain
You should speak to a doctor if you experience severe pain that causes intense suffering. For instance, if you’re suffering from back pain, talk to a doctor if:
- You experience discomfort, numbness, or weakness
- Pain appears suddenly
- Pain creeps on gradually
- The pain results from a severe blow or a fall
- You have a high fever
If Your Pain Worsens
Sometimes you may experience pain that goes away after a short period or when you use over-the-counter medication. However, you should talk to your doctor if the pain lasts longer than 72 hours.
If Your Pain Disrupts Daily Life
Some older adults tolerate pain because they believe it is part of aging. But sometimes, the pain can interfere with their daily lives (or even their caregivers). For example, it can affect your mood, sleep, work, or self-care.
As a result, patients tend to suffer from anxiety and emotional distress. Therefore, you should speak to your doctor if pain disrupts your daily life.
If You Depend on Over-the-Counter Medications
Over-the-counter medications can provide short-term pain relief to older adults. However, they shouldn’t be use on a daily basis.
Over-the-counter pain reliever use comes with certain risks, including potential misuse or abuse, incorrect self-diagnosis, and increased drug-drug interaction risk. If you can’t go a day without pain relievers, speak to a doctor.
Older adults experience different types of pain resulting from various conditions. However, you should speak to your doctor when the pain worsens or disrupts your daily life. If you’re experiencing pain, contact the experts at SDOMG by filling out the form below.