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Managing pain in seniors through physiotherapy

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Catégorie : Advice   Health   Independance and Autonomy  
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Pain is a complex phenomenon, which is often difficult to describe. However, the fact remains that it represents a reality that must not be overlooked. With a significant prevalence among the elderly population, chronic pain constitutes a real social concern. In honor of World PT Day, let’s take a moment to discover how physiotherapy can help pain management in seniors, as well as sharing some useful day-to-day tips for a healthy and active lifestyle!

The impact of chronic pain on seniors

Although pain has no specific age, the fact remains that aging is considered as a risk factor. Consequently, particular attention must be paid to the prevention and effective management of pain among the elderly. Considering its major impact on seniors’ quality of life, it is essential to make sure to prevent the progression into more chronic pain.

Different types of pain

As it presents in many ways, it is important to recognize that there are several types of physical pain:

  • muscular pain (muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc.);
  • joint and bone pain;
  • neuropathic pain (peripheral nerves and nervous system);
  • post-operative pain;
  • pain related to cancer and other diseases;
  • etc.

But no matter what form it takes, no discomfort should be ignored.  Feeling increasing pain, or noticing that an elderly relative seems affected?

Please do not hesitate to seek the appropriate care and treatment to ensure rapid pain relief. This way, every senior will be able to continue to enjoy good health and well-being.

Age-related pain: multiple consequences

Not only does pain appear in many ways, but it can also have numerous consequences on different levels:

  • Physical consequences (perception of pain, functional limitations, etc.);
  • Effects on the person’s emotional and behavioral state;
  • Psychological and cognitive impact (such as depression);
  • Social isolation;
  • Sleep disorders;
  • and more.

Physiotherapy: a key role in pain management for seniors

Among all the solutions available for managing pain in seniors, physiotherapy represents an approach that has demonstrated its effectiveness over the years. Using a wide range of treatments, physiotherapists can play a major role in the care of geriatric pain.

Benefits of physiotherapy for seniors

For a senior living with chronic pain, consulting a physiotherapist (PT) can provide a series of advantages for better management of day-to-day suffering.

Whether working to reduce muscle tension, improve posture and balance or optimize movement, concrete benefits can be achieved, such as:

  • decreased pain;
  • better rehabilitation following an accident or surgery, for example;
  • maintaining autonomy and independence for seniors;
  • falls prevention;
  • reducing hospitalizations;
  • and even more, in accordance with the specific reasons of each consultation.

With the help of physiotherapy, seniors can benefit from some efficient relief of musculoskeletal pain, such as osteoarthritis, lower back pain (sprains, herniated discs, etc.), sciatica, as well as numerous inflammatory injuries such as bursitis, capsulitis, and tendonitis.

Physiotherapy services accessible to all seniors

To help make treatment more accessible to all seniors, many physiotherapy clinics offer services in the comfort of your own home, or even directly in a retirement home Beyond ensuring that a greater proportion of the population can benefit from the professional care of a physiotherapist, this initiative is aimed at promoting home support, preserving the greatest possible autonomy and achieving a better quality of life for seniors.

4 steps to choosing a physiotherapist

Here are 4 simple steps to follow when booking an appointment with a physiotherapist:

  1. First, make sure you take the time to determine your needs and assess your pain.
  2. Then, refer to the website of theOrdre Professionnel de la Physiothérapie du Québec (OPPQ)  or the online register of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, to find a qualified physiotherapist practicing near you.
  3. Make sure you select a physiotherapist offering services according to your individual needs: home care, retirement home services, specialized seniors’ care, etc.
  4. On your first appointment, share all relevant information about your health status with your physiotherapist, so that the therapist may adapt his or her approach to achieve the best possible results.

Injury prevention for seniors: some helpful tips

Finally, here are a few practical recommendations that may help prevent some injuries amongst seniors.

  • Promote an active lifestyle through regular physical activity (low to moderate intensity, and within personal limits);
  • Choose a living environment that is safe and adapted to your needs;
  • Incorporate a « mind-body » approach through activities such as yoga;
  • Consider conservative therapies;
  • Always listen to your body and consult a health professional if in doubt.

In the hopes that this article may have helped to reinforce awareness of the importance of good chronic pain care, as well as learning a little more about the important role of physiotherapy in pain management in seniors.

At Visavie, supporting seniors and their families in maintaining an optimal quality of life daily, with respect and dignity, remains our primary mission!


Interested in learning more about our search services to find a retirement home (RPA) or personalized home care services ? Feel free to contact our team, who will be pleased to answer any questions you may have!





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