Health & Nutrition Health and Nutrition - February - Page 28

rformed e p e g a Mass rapist e h t a y b n pain trained i reduce s p l e h f relie relax d n a y t e i anx endons, t , s e l c s mu s. and joint PILL-FREE TREATMENTS FOR PAIN Physical therapy. Stronger muscles help absorb pressure on the joints. Devices. Splints and braces can immobilize joints and relieve pressure on nerves. Canes and walkers allow you to redistribute your weight away from painful joint. Acupuncture. Evidence about its effectiveness is mixed, but many randomized controlled trials have suggested acupuncture helps reduce chronic pain. Therapeutic massage. Massage performed by a therapist trained in pain relief helps reduce anxiety and relax muscles, tendons, and joints. risk of dependence, addiction, constipation, falls, confusion, slowed reaction time, slowed breathing, and death. For older adults, the most common cause of pain is osteoarthritis. And the best prescription medications for that are opiates. About two million people in the United States struggle with opioid addiction. Neurontin (gabapentin) is an anticonvulsant medication often prescribed for nerve pain. It’s less risky than NSAIDs and opioids, but it has its own risks, such as sedation, cognitive impairment, dizziness, and falls. WHAT YOU SHOULD DO When taking painkillers on a regular basis, weigh the risks and benefits with your doctor. For generally healthy older adults with chronic pain, acetaminophen is recommended. It’s the first-line choice for osteoarthritis, but for long-term use, limit the daily dose to 2,000 mg or less. NSAIDs should be avoided if having high blood pressure, heart disease, or kidney problems, or if you’re taking blood thinners. Otherwise, use the lowest dose possible for the shortest amount of time, and avoid NSAIDs once you reach the age of 60. Above 60, the data shows significant risks, and they increase by decade. Acetaminophen should be combined with pill- free treatments (see box) before trying prescription painkillers. If you take prescription painkillers, ask a family member to hold and supervise your medications, and give you only what’s prescribed and needed. 28 February 2018 HEALTH & NUTRITION