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Last week we discussed how consulting experts and listeting to their advise can help you manage your pain effectively. However, considering that chronic pain is often a result of our physical schedule, here are some tips that you can follow at home to live an easier life.

Reduce Work Load

You may not believe in the concept of retirement, however, your body does, so make sure your take timely breaks between your work. Joint pain is directly affected by pressure from physical activities. That means joints can’t heal if they’re repeatedly subject to the same pressures that caused the injury in the first place. If you have upper back pain and continue to sit at your computer in the same position you always did, your arthritic joints can’t recover, much less heal.

Get an ergonomic consultation and make sure your desk, computer, and work area are set up properly so as not to strain your wrists, shoulders, and neck. It can also be helpful to figure out new positions to work. You might try sitting on an exercise ball or stool, or standing while using a laptop set on a high counter.

Joint pain in the knees, hips, and shoulders can benefit greatly from being stabilized either with an elastic brace or bandage or by wrapping the offending joint with inflexible sports tape. A physical or sports therapist can teach you how to wrap a painful area so the joint is stabilized and doesn’t cause pain with movement.

Keep an Eye on your Diet

Many chronic ills, such as arthritis, are inflammatory diseases, and a number of lifestyle factors — especially diet — contribute to inflammation. The reason so many health gurus advocate cutting out sugar, white flour, and processed foods such as chips is that they’re high on the glycemic index. Eating them floods your bloodstream with sugar, fueling the inflammatory process.

Eat a diet high in antioxidants to build up resistance to oxidative stress, which causes inflammation at the cellular level. Foods high in antioxidants include most fruits and vegetables and some spices — the richer the colors, the higher the density of protective phytochemicals. (Other clues include a strong smell, such as in garlic or onions, or strong flavors, such as in chili peppers and broccoli.)

Listen to your body

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to continue with “business as usual,” not realizing that every ache, pain, and twinge is trying to tell you something. Just don’t stop moving. It might seem intuitive to avoid exercise when you’re in pain. But exercise, done right, eases stiff joints, increases blood flow to affected areas, strengthens the muscles that support the joints, and can even curb pain flare-ups. Exercise also helps you sleep more deeply, lifts your mood, and helps you lose weight, which in the long run will reduce pressure and pain.

If exercise or activity routinely leaves you sore, talk to a physical therapist about how best to treat it. Many experts recommend elevating the affected area and applying ice to prevent inflammation immediately after exercise.

Other say that although ice is usually the best therapy immediately after injury, it’s helpful to use heat therapy for chronic pain — before exercising or after ice treatment — to ease stiffness, relax muscles, and increase blood flow to the area. Hope this tips help you to stay away from chronic pains. Pour in your thoughts.

Chronic pain, as the name implies, is a condition that is bound to stay with you. You can take medication, you can exercise and you can do a lot more things, but at the end of the day, it will test your will power and move you out of your comfort zone. The techniques we have shared, can be helpful in managing your condition, but they do not guarantee a solution. At the end of the day it is best to listen to your expert and your body.

Do share your ideas with us and any special method you use to avoid chronic pain.

Elderly patients often suffer from both acute and chronic conditions that can be extremely painful. While Arthritis is the most common, there are other bone and joint related problems that can be a cause of serious pain for the elderly. Along with this, the resulting pain from cancer, skin ulcers, diabetes mellitus, and surgical procedures also plagues elderly. Pain management is therefore not just important, but also its information is essential for the elderly. In this two part series we share a few of the techniques we discovered that are helpful to the elderly in managing pain.

The first part deals with doctors and experts, and how their advice can help you overcome the difficulties of living with the pain. The second part will cover personal habits such as diet and exercise for controlling the pain.

So here we go:

Listen to the Experts

For every problem you face, there will be hundreds of people claiming to have a cure, however since, chronic pain is among the most difficult problems to treat, as the solutions aren’t always clear, and in many cases there isn’t one guaranteed fix. A lot of trial and error is required to get to the root of the symptom and beat it. You must, and its importance cannot be emphasized enough, visit only the experts and avoid the other, making claims without backing them up with facts.

In every consultation, pay attention to whether the doctor is really listening to you, and whether he or she is proactive about ordering tests to find the cause of the problem — and suggesting physical therapy, medication, or other forms of treatment tailored for you. If the treatment doesn’t solve your problem, don’t hesitate to go back, and pay even closer attention to how the doctor reacts to your “What next?” questions. It shouldn’t be a problem to come in for repeated visits while you and your doctor try to get to the root of your pain and find a solution. If you start getting the feeling that the doctor is shrugging off your concerns, feels you’ve run out of options, or is sending the message that it’s “All in your head,” it’s time to find another doctor. Senior Citizens Residences policies have been defined by senior citizens homes for better medication.

Physiotherapy

For knee, hip, back, and other types of joint pain, physiotherapy can be one of the most effective treatments. To be truly effective, your physical therapy regimen needs to be individually tailored to your specific injury and other needs. All too often, those with chronic pain are referred to “one-size-fits-all” physical therapy programs, which can be unhelpful at best, and discouraging at worst.

Ask to be referred to a physical therapist for one-on-one therapy, at least for one or two sessions. That way you’ll have the individualized attention necessary to develop the exercises suited to your needs and to make sure you’re doing them correctly.

Pay Attention to your medication

Even if you’ve gotten relief from a particular medication in the past, pay close attention to any side effects and to whether the drug loses effectiveness over time. Even better, make an appointment with your doctor specifically to discuss medications, and prepare by making a list of everything you’re taking, when you tend to take it, and how often. (Or, simply take all your medications — both prescription and over-the-counter — with you.) Be honest; the doctor can’t help you if he or she doesn’t have a clear picture of what’s happening.

With these precautions and steps, you should be able to get your pain in control, however do remember, getting relief from chronic pain is a continuous exercise and at many times it is essential that you also pay attention to your habits and diet. Next week we shall be bringing you tips and tricks that can do daily to help with your pain.

Ancient wisdom says that, you are what you eat, we must then be careful about what we put into our bodies. We cannot cure all illness or stop the hands of time. We cannot protect ourselves from all diseases, but we can certainly be careful.  What we can do is treat our bodies well and enjoy the health benefits that result from this conscious effort.

Senior citizens’ nutritional needs vary little from the nutritional needs of other age groups, yet there are some slight differences. Our younger bodies are able to withstand lack of nutrition more than those of the elderly, and hence it becomes more and more important to get proper nutrients as we age. Here are a few things essential for proper diet for senior citizens:

1. Fiber – Fiber serves two purposes. It fills us up more quickly than empty carbohydrates (carbohydrates that lack nutrition) and it aids in digestion. Fiber forms the bulk of our waste, so encourages our intestinal tract to continue functioning properly. Sources of fiber include: Wheat, spouted pulses, green leafy vegetables etc.

2. Protein – As we get older, we need to work harder at keeping our muscle toned. Muscle wasting occurs naturally with age and getting enough protein can help slow this process. Protein is also very important for transporting necessities, such as hormones, to the cells. The belief that vegetarians will have a hard time consuming enough protein is unfounded. Vegetarians can easily meet their protein needs by eating a varied diet. Sources of protein include: Kidney beans, Lentils, apples, almonds etc.

3. Calcium – Calcium helps strengthen bones and teeth. Osteoporosis happens when calcium levels have reached a low level that results in bone cell losses. Because these levels fall more frequently, it is quite important to consumer more calcium to keep bones strong. Sources of calcium include: Dairy products, cabbage etc.

4. Vitamins – From assisting our bodies in sending out nervous signals to keeping our immunity strong, from warding off potential chronic illnesses to helping our hair and nail grow. Vitamins are the cornerstone of the proper functioning of our body. Some essential Vitamins that need to be consumed are Vitamin B, C, D, E and F

5. Omega 3’s –These nutrients have just “come into fashion” and are now being proven in scientific studies to enhance and improve joint health. They contribute significantly to the immunity system are somewhat considered to be the mechanic of the body, helping keeping it in shape.

6. Water – The need for water cannot be overstated. When not enough water has been consumed, dehydration will set in quickly. Dehydration is a frequent cause for hospitalizing in the elderly and can result in mental confusion and exhaustion among other symptoms.

Staying hydrated is as simple as drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day. Getting the rest of the aforementioned nutrients can be as simple as eating a meal full of vegetables, some fruits, nuts (if you are not allergic), seeds, lean meats, eggs, and beans.

So eat healthy, stay in good shape and keep sharing your thoughts with us.

With the monsoons gone, winter is right around the corner, and a lot of us will be starting to make preparations for it. Considering that it is generally believed that nothing is more important than health, sports and exercise have taken a new level of importance because they can make the body become healthy and give people a good mood. However, if we strain ourselves more than necessary, some problems can arise after the exertion, sometimes as serious as sudden fainting and death. It therefore is necessary for us to be careful when planning and executing the exercise plan, keeping in mind senior citizen care and health.

To build a proper plan we need to examine the meaning of exercise and what it contains; exercise is anything that you’re your body moving, from walking to aerobics to recreational sport. The most important thing to bear in mind as you get older is to keep moving. On a basic level, that means making sure you don’t spend hours on end sitting down during the day, whether you are at a home for senior citizens or elsewhere. This means avoiding long periods of TV viewing, computer use, driving, and sitting to read, talk or listen to music.

While a unique plan is needed for everyone according to their specific needs, here are a few general tips that will help you as you are making your plan:

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobics every week
  • Do something every day. At least for 10 minutes
  • Pick up an activity and do it 30 minutes on at least five days a week
  • Two days a week, activities should include those that strengthen muscles and bones, such as weight training, carrying heavy loads and heavy gardening

Here are some examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities:

  • Walking fast
  • Doing water aerobics
  • Riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
  • Playing doubles tennis

Make sure you don’t count your daily chores such as shopping, cooking or housework towards your 150 minutes because the effort isn’t hard enough to raise your heart rate.

Building a plan based on the above suggestions will help you generate a plan that works and keeps you healthy. We’d love to hear your comments on our approach.

Finding balance in life is always a difficult thing, whether it is between work and play or family and friends. Everyone faces these issues and only a few overcome them. Sometimes, for single working individuals, taking care of their elderly parents can also be a daunting task. From the special medical attention needed to ensuring that they have the appropriate company and most importantly the constant concern associated with their safety, whether it is your parents or  in-laws, the complications can be immense.

Help however, is available at hand these days, allowing you to fulfil your responsibilities better and to make sure that the elders in your life, have the best living environment that you are able to provide. While nothing compares to company/benefits of a family and friends, these methods are almost lifesaving in today’s busy schedule, when we are constantly pressed for time.

Getting a professional help

A nurse or a caretaker can prove to be an excellent option for ensuring that your elderly loved ones are cared for at home. They have proper training and will know what medicines to give, what diet the elderly should have, what exercises are best and the necessary steps to be taken in case of emergencies. However, they are only a boon if you make sure that you are hiring from the right agencies, as there are a lot of frauds out there, just waiting for an opportunity to strike.

Community Living Homes

Most of the old age homes in the country are run by either NGOs or the government, and none of them provide the level of service your elderly loved one’s deserve. A new option that is taking root in India, pioneered by The Golden Estate, is that of community living homes. These societies on the lines similar to flats that are rented out by individuals; however the difference is the services they provide. From taking care of their dietary needs to ensuring recreational facilities for the elderly to having a doctor on call at the campus, these places are prepared to take care of the hourly needs of your loved ones to ensure they have a dignified life. Be sure to check out the credibility of a community home before letting your parents live there.

Planning & Reminders

Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones. Planning is critical in taking care of your loved ones and if you are not able to plan properly, please spend some time with those experienced in taking care of the elderly to anticipate and prepare for the future needs of your loved ones.

Once you are able to see what needs your loved ones have and what areas need most attention, use reminders,  such as sticky notes or on mobile phones. Reinforce the message of taking medicines, proper food, and adequate exercise etc. and be at peace about the needs of your loved ones.

Seeking help from family or relatives

Get close family members or relatives involved in the care-giving responsibilities. Ask for and accept help from your partner, siblings & friends and you might find that others benefit from the experience. For example, getting your children involved in the caring gives them a great chance to bond with their grandparents.

Local groups

There are plenty of resources available on the internet, which can help you in providing care to those with special needs such as Alzheimer’s patients or those suffering from diabetes. In these local groups, people share their experiences and are sometimes even willing to provide specific advice about your elderly loved one’s need. They can be an excellent resource for you providing care, but before you take up any advice, please make sure you check with your doctor to avoid any issues.

But if you can’t find a local group, why not seek out an informal one of your own? Do you know anyone else in a similar position? If so, catch up with them for a coffee regularly. You might learn some new caring methods from them, perhaps be able to barter respite care with each other, or just air your grievances and feel a bit better for it.

Technology

Technology is revolutionising the way we do things today, and elderly care is not far behind. From alerts and warning systems related to falling on the ground, to automated information in case of cardiovascular issues. Look for the problem you are trying to solve, and are bound to find a technological solution related to it.

It is indeed critical that you keep yourself alert whilst caring for the elderly at home. Remember “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”

Exercising regularly and still not getting the results you expected? Well, that may be because, it’s not suited for you. New studies have shed light on how your blood type and blood group, may impact the effect exercise has on your blood pressure.

While exercise is often the first thing people opt for, when thinking of controlling high blood pressure, which one should they go for? Is a question that is rarely asked?

But a recent study by the American Heart Association did just that, 93 trials were conducted over at least four weeks and the results documented to check the impact of exercise on blood pressure.

Exercise was classified into three broad categories of dynamic aerobic (e.g., running, biking, etc.), dynamic resistance (using force to contract muscles while the muscles’ lengths change, such as when lifting weights or doing push-ups), and isometric exertion (sustaining contraction against an immovable force or object without altering muscle length, such as when doing hand-grip exercises).

Supporting the idea that any exercise is better than no exercise, the analysis found that all three types significantly lower blood pressure, both in people who don’t yet have hypertension and in people who have high blood pressure. Moreover, all three types consistently lower systolic blood pressure (the higher number in readings, a measure of blood pressure when the heart is beating) and diastolic blood pressure (the lower number in readings, a measure of blood pressure between heartbeats).

There were, however, some nuances in the results. The researchers said their analysis indicates that isometric exercise might be most effective in lowering systolic blood pressure, although they cautioned that they didn’t look at enough data to categorically assert so.

They also said that, for people who already have hypertension, aerobic exercise appears to be more effective than dynamic resistance exercise. Men seem to get a greater blood-pressure-lowering effect from aerobic exercise than do women, the researchers said.

Moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercise appears to be more effective than low-intensity aerobic activity, the researchers said. In addition, the researchers said, the weight loss often associated with starting an aerobic exercise program might increase that form of exercise’s role in lowering blood pressure.

So there you are, now before you take the jump and start just “any exercise”, get yourself checked properly and take up the activity that is suitable for your specific condition. Not only will it yield better results, it will also help you spend the golden years of life healthier.