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Chronic vs. Acute Pain in the Elderly

The elderly often deal with daily pain from a number of sources. Understanding the difference between acute and chronic pain is important to better understand and treat the cause of the pain and manage discomfort to improve your loved one’s quality of life. Read on to learn more about each type of pain, brought to you by Santa Clarita senior care provider, Home Care Assistance.

What Is Acute Pain?

Acute pain is typically sharp, sudden pain with a specific cause that can be identified. Among the elderly, slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of acute pain. Other examples of acute pain include the pain from a burn, broken bone, or surgery.

Acute pain may be mild and fleeting or it may be very severe and last for months. The pain usually does not last for more than 6 months and it will go away when the cause of the pain is treated. If the underlying cause isn’t treated, acute pain can eventually lead to chronic pain.

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain, on the other hand, persists even if the underlying problem is treated. There are many causes of chronic pain among elderly people. Sometimes chronic pain is the result of pain signals that continue through the nervous system for days or weeks after an acute injury. Chronic pain among elderly people is often the result of an underlying condition such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, or arthritis. Sometimes the cause of chronic pain is unknown.

Chronic pain often becomes a disease itself, lasting for months or even years. For some people, the pain comes and goes, although some people live with constant pain, whether it’s manageable or severe. Some people who experience chronic pain even become more sensitive to the pain over time due to changes to the central nervous system.

Treatment Options

There are many treatment options to explore for both acute and chronic pain. Acute pain generally goes away on its own, although cold or hot packs and rest can speed healing. Chronic pain may require a more in-depth pain management plan that includes acupuncture, localized anesthetic shots, physical therapy, meditation, anti-inflammatory drugs, or prescription pain medication.

If your senior loved one struggles to complete daily tasks because of chronic pain, reach out to Home Care Assistance to find the help her or she needs and deserves. We offer a variety of care services, including part-time senior care in Santa Clarita that’s ideal for seniors who need minimal help throughout the week. Our trained and experienced caregivers can help with running errands, grocery shopping, meal preparation, personal grooming, and transportation among other things. For more information, call a friendly Care Manager at [hca_phone] today.