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Senior Resources » Senior Education » 3 Holistic Approaches to Pain Management

3 Holistic Approaches to Pain Management

Boomer sitting on couch, clutching knee in pain

As we Boomers age, it’s normal to have a certain amount of… annoyance. Some of us have arthritis. Fibromyalgia. Lower-back pain. Headaches… Sometimes, it seems as though pain is just a part of life now.

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Do you want to feel the best that you can? I sure do.

Now, I’m no doctor (and, if you have chronic aches and pains, I recommend that you see yours), but I’ve put together a few holistic approaches to pain management that have helped me in the past. Let me know what works for YOU!

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3 Holistic Approaches to Pain Management

1. Do away with stress as much as possible.

Exercising every day can help with this, even if it’s just a short walk. Yoga or other training that involves lots of stretching can work wonders on back and leg pains. Not to mention, exercise releases endorphins (which tell your brain to be happy). Exercising for just 20 minutes per day can give you an endorphin boost and suppress hormones that cause stress and anxiety.

Though exercising is a great start to de-stressing, other ways to feel a little more loosey-goosey are:

  • Reading – Reading keeps your mind sharp and can be very relaxing to most.
  • Writing – You don’t have to be the next great novelist to write. Writing/journaling can be a very therapeutic experience. Many people use writing as a way to get thoughts off their minds in order to let them go.
  • Work on a hobby – It’s simple. Do something you enjoy. Feel good. Even if the hobby you enjoy isn’t necessarily something that’s textbook-serene (ya know, some people enjoy woodworking over fishing), if you’re liking what you’re doing, it’s going to help the stress to go away.

2. Eat well.

I know you don’t want to hear this. Your parents and teachers have long worn out the campaign for why fruits and veggies are good for you. But, I’m going to tell you anyway. Eat well.

Think eating well isn’t a holistic approach? Well, think again. Did you know that blueberries contain phytonutrients that may fight inflammation? And, garlic can actually help joint pain. Salmon is high in antioxidants and research also shows that people who eat fish regularly are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (Healthline).

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Making healthy choices with your food and drinks can also contribute to your mood, which brings us back to number one, doing away with stress! Think about it: greasy foods like potato chips weigh you down and add zero nutritional value to your body. Eating a bag of chips while watching TV won’t motivate you to do much of anything. But, substitute those chips for berries, and suddenly you’re not overly full and you have a boost of energy!

3. Meditate.

senior and dog doing yoga

There are actually lots of different ways to practice meditation. Some essential elements to beginning are deep breathing, focused attention, and a quiet space. See where I’m going with this? Meditation is used to bring about calm and inner peace. With chronic aches and pains, meditation can help you relax or cope with stress. Meditation takes practice, so don’t expect to become a guru on your first try. But, to many, even in the world of science, it’s making great strides to become an effective treatment for lots of different health issues.

What else can I do for pain management?

There are many places out there to get help such as pain management centers, physical therapy offices, physician’s practices, yoga and meditation classes, holistic medicines, and massage therapy. Then there is the pain pill and patches. No matter what we choose we still must do the work. Make a decision. Discuss options with a healthcare person. Put your best foot forward and do what you can. After all, why not get the best that you can out of life?

Originally published October 26, 2023

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