Although fibromyalgia symptoms typically appear by middle age, they can continue well into an individual’s senior years. Seniors with this health condition are likely to experience anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. The following are a few techniques older adults can use to manage fibromyalgia-related muscle pain.
1. Reduce Stress
Excessive stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep, which can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms. Help your loved one de-stress, and encourage him or her to participate in relaxing activities such as meditation, reading, or listening to music.
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Regular exercise can alleviate muscle pain and stiffness associated with fibromyalgia. Seniors need to be cautious when exercising since some medications commonly used to treat fibromyalgia can cause dizziness. Short walks and low-impact activities like stretching and swimming are often the best options for older adults with fibromyalgia.
3. Get Adequate Sleep
Circadian rhythm naturally changes with age, which makes it difficult to get deep, recuperative sleep. The chronic pain and restless leg syndrome that often accompany fibromyalgia can make sleep issues even worse. Seniors with this health condition can reduce their caffeine intake and consult their doctors about taking calcium, magnesium, and melatonin supplements to promote a better quality of sleep.
4. Try Acupuncture
Some individuals with fibromyalgia report less pain, anxiety, and fatigue after receiving acupuncture treatment. This ancient Chinese healing practice involves inserting thin needles at strategic points in the body to promote healing. It may also trigger the release of chemicals in the body that naturally fight pain.
5. Use Heat and Cold Therapy
A warm bath may relieve the stiffness and soreness caused by fibromyalgia. The warm, moist heat increases circulation to the affected area and relaxes muscles. An ice pack may also numb deep muscle and joint pain.
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6. Get a Massage
Regular massage can relieve joint pain, increase range of motion, combat stress and anxiety, and treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. If a professional massage is not feasible, encourage your loved one to perform a self-massage by rolling a tennis ball back and forth over the pain-affected area.
7. Look at the Big Picture
Older adults may have multiple health conditions that produce pain and stiffness similar to fibromyalgia. Before embarking on a treatment regimen, it is important to have a complete physical exam to determine the symptoms attributable to fibromyalgia. Seniors should then coordinate closely with their doctors to determine the most appropriate therapies.
Researchers believe there is a link between fibromyalgia and cognitive decline. Short-term memory loss is not only a symptom of fibromyalgia, but it can also indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. If your loved one experiences brain fog or faces difficulty remembering things, it is best to consult his or her doctor and consider Alzheimer’s home care. In Grand Rapids, MI, Alzheimer’s care experts are trained in methods that are designed to slow cognitive decline in the elderly. Using a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, Alzheimer’s caregivers keep seniors mentally engaged with exciting activities so they can maintain better cognitive health in the golden years. To learn about this effective Alzheimer’s care method, call Home Care Assistance at 616-243-0835 today.