The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 20.4% of all U.S. adults had some form of chronic pain in 2016. Unfortunately, the likelihood of experiencing this type of pain increases with age. But what is chronic pain? If it’s something that you deal with, then what can you do to manage or beat it?
Keep reading to find the answers to those questions and more information about how chronic pain impacts older adults.
Like most types of pain, chronic pain often stems from an initial injury. However, what makes the pain chronic is how long it lasts. People who have chronic pain deal with pain in the same region of their body for weeks, months, or even years. The definition of chronic pain is any type of pain that lasts for 3 to 6 months or longer.
Chronic pain comes from the nervous system. It sends a pain signal to your brain when you get hurt. Usually, that signal stops getting sent once the injury heals. But the signals don’t stop firing in people who have chronic pain.
There’s no single cure for chronic pain, but there are several different ways to limit its effects. These vary based on the specific medical condition that’s causing your chronic pain.
Often, painkillers are prescribed to reduce the impact that a person’s chronic pain has on their life. Some patients may also be prescribed sedatives, muscle relaxants, or even anti-depressants. But the efficacy of these medications varies significantly from patient to patient. So the only way to know what will work best in your scenario is to speak with a doctor.
Medication isn’t the only way to address chronic pain. Studies have also demonstrated that exercising more can help. It does so by improving blood and oxygen flow to muscles and reducing stress.
Other treatments that can be used to manage chronic pain include:
This list isn’t complete. There are literally dozens of ways that people go about treating their chronic pain. To find the one that works best for your specific type of pain, you’ll want to have your case reviewed by a doctor.
Original Medicare will help you pay for a variety of services that can reduce the impact that chronic pain has on your life. Part B covers about 80% of the Medicare-approved amount for treatments like:
If you’re interested in getting coverage for a non-traditional method of dealing with chronic pain, then you may want to look into getting a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans often provide policyholders with coverage for things like acupuncture, massage therapy, and other new-age healing techniques that could help you recover from chronic.
If you’d like to learn more about Medicare and chronic pain management, get in touch with a partnered licensed agent through Time for 65. They’re Medicare experts who can answer your questions and make personalized policy recommendations based on your needs.