Pain that affects muscles, bones, and related ligaments and tendons is referred to as musculoskeletal pain. Since such pain can have multiple sources ranging from sudden trauma to progressive conditions like Parkinson’s disease, treatment is typically based on the underlying cause of the discomfort rather than just the symptoms presented. Following, Toronto Home Care Assistance presents the basics on musculoskeletal pain.
Possible Causes of Musculoskeletal Pain
Musculoskeletal pain can be caused by everyday wear and tear on muscles and bones over time (e.g., inflammation-based conditions like arthritis and degenerative disc disease). Sudden falls, jerky (unnatural) movements, fractures, sprains and dislocations can also result in intermittent or prolonged discomfort. Additional sources of musculoskeletal pain may include:
• Prolonged immobility (often while recovering from surgery or during a lengthy illness)
• Poor posture (affecting spinal alignment)
• Fibromyalgia (a heightened, painful response to pressure)
• Amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome (sporadic episodes of pain occurring anywhere within the body)
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Parkinson’s disease
Symptoms of Musculoskeletal Pain
The most obvious sign of musculoskeletal pain in seniors is discomfort associated with movement. However, symptoms can be more subtle, such as occasional muscle twitches, a burning sensation around muscles after strenuous activity, or pain that becomes progressively worse over time. In-home caregivers should also note that increased fatigue and difficulty sleeping (when the pain becomes intense enough to affect sleep habits) can also be symptoms of musculoskeletal pain.
Treatments for Musculoskeletal Pain
Musculoskeletal pain in seniors is initially identified through a physical exam and confirmed by diagnostic testing (x-rays, MRI) to pinpoint the source of pain. In cases where the cause of the pain isn’t obvious, medical history is taken into consideration, especially if conditions like Parkinson’s, spinal pressure or RA may be the underlying source of the pain.
NSAIDs are typically the first line of treatment for musculoskeletal pain to address inflammation that puts pressure on nerves and joints. Physical therapy and temporary mobilization can also be effective treatments, depending on the source of the pain. Fibromyalgia is treated with medications to boost levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the body.
Interested in learning more about promoting senior health and wellness? Reach out to the professional staff at Home Care Assistance. As a leading provider of hourly and live-in home care in Toronto, ensuring seniors have the necessary support to lead high-quality lives is our top priority. Call a friendly Care Manager at (416) 488-8777 and request a complimentary in-home consultation today.