View Resource Page on Pain Management
With falls, the older person or elderly could experience moderate to severe pain that eventually ends up limiting the mobility. Eventually it would get too painful to move or walk and thus the person would avoid movement and walking. This would cause muscle dystrophy and stiffness. Gradually, the person would eventually require a walker, then a wheelchair and later bed bound as lack of movement would also result in other complication.
And due to the pain and limited mobility, this untreated situation could also prelude to even more falls which would result in further loss of mobility.
Sometimes, pain does not come from falls but as a part of aging and years of postural imbalance resulted in osteoarthritis.
At the moment, there is nothing much that conventional treatment could offer to relieve pain from falls in elderly. Except probably pain killers, muscle relaxants, physiotherapy. For fractures or broken bones, then surgery but it also depends on the health condition of the person.
In terms of pain management (except for fractures and broken bones…which conventional treatment would be the best), traditional therapies are very effective. There are 2 treatments that are effective to help manage pain as the result of falls in elderly:
1. Application of herbal medicine
A friend of mine who is a TCM practitioner shared with me that the safest, fastest and most effective way is through application of herbal medicine- a layer of herbs are applied on the body and wrapped on the painful area.
The caregivers and families could save themselves from a lot of anguish through sending the senior folks for such traditional treatment. Chiropractic adjustment would not be recommended for elderly with possibly frail bones but the methods above would be effective.
Here, we can find relatively inexpensive acupuncture treatment for equivalent of few US dollars per treatment. I know such treatments are probably expensive in US, UK and Canada as they are not common. But they help to improve the quality of life.
I wish to share with you my personal experience with my mom where acupuncture treatment have been shown to be very effective in pain management. Had it not been for acupuncture, my mom would probably be bound to the bed most of the time.
Personal experience- acupuncture helped to reduce pain
My mom had a fall one morning last year. Initially, she seemed okay but by evening she was literally groaning in unbearable pain – every single slightest movement brought a terrible sharp pain.
We rushed her to the emergency unit- we arrived by 7pm plus and spent a few hours putting her through consultation with the doctor and Xrays. The xray show that my mom have a hairline fracture located at the thoracic region.
The doctors told us that there was nothing they could do. She was too frail to go for an operation. They could only prescribe painkillers for her condition.
For about a week or so, my mom struggled to get up and down the bed hence she could not even get to the bedside commode. She somehow was able to urinate using a used Ensure milk tin by raising her torso but she winced in pain. The condition did not seem to improve and it broke my heart to see her in pain.
Finally, looked up via Google and made an appointment with a Chinese physician for acupuncture treatment. I paid more to be able to bring her to a place where she need not wait and is elderly friendly. At first she was very stubborn and refused to go- it took a lot of persuading and begging.
Her pain condition improved after the first treatment. She was able to move a little. However as it was the first time my mom has ever gone for acupuncture in her life, the first treatment alone could not completely cure her. I took her twice a week for about 2 weeks and her condition improved that she could walk…. using a walker as generally my mom’s health has gotten weaker due to her failing liver.
Few months ago, she had another fall. I took her to a traditional practitioner who administered acupuncture and also applied blended ginger on her back. It was the same center which I went to treat my archilles tendonitis. The acute pain was gone.
After a few weeks, she started being in pain at night- at her lower back and knees. The pain made it difficult for her to move and also made her susceptible to falls because inactivity would result in weakening of the muscles. I took her to acupuncture treatments where she no longer in pain at night.
Each treatment is lasting for about 10 days before the pain comes back. With time, the pain free period would stretch longer and longer until you can then gradually reduce the frequency.
I have been blessed that my mom have a lot of supportive friends and through my mom’s health issues, her friends have been in touch. As most of them were retired staffnurses like my mom, they do not believe in traditional treatment….and they are all living in pain! Two of them had to eat strong doses of painkillers before going out on a social event- they would rather do that than to try out acupuncture.
It really pains me (emotionally) to see them in such pain and to refuse to be open to an alternative treatment. Even though my advice is falling on deaf ears with them… I do sincerely hope that a person would not lose quality of life due to pain.