Myths and misconceptions abound when it comes to aging and pain. Is pain something that should be expected and accepted as you age? Is it not worthy of treatment? Many aging adults are quick to accept pain and not seek treatment believing it is “normal.” This thought process leaves many to live a sedentary lifestyle due to pain limitations. Recent research looked at three pain myths and set to debunk them. Here are the results.
Myth: Pain is an inevitable part of aging.
Despite the belief that things like arthritis and pain come with age, it is not inevitable. Numerous studies found that while chronic low back pain, neck and face pain had the highest prevalence among 65-year-olds, reported pain declined with advancing age. In addition, chronic pain disorders and the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain decline with age.
Myth: Pain worsens with age.
It is widely believed that having more aches and pains is a part of getting older. While conditions may worsen over time, this does not necessarily correlate to increased pain. One study of patients with restrictive back pain found that the pain was frequently short-lived and episodic and did not increase with age. In one study of patients with peripheral joint osteoarthritis, progressive joint narrowing did not correlate consistently with worsening pain.
Myth: Pushing through pain makes it easier to tolerate.
Acceptance of pain does not make the consequences that stem from it any easier, nor does it make the pain easier to tolerate. The severity of pain can lead to depression and sleep disorders, both of which can have drastically negative impacts on overall health.
At Step & Spine Physical Therapy, our belief is that pain can be successfully treated in people of all ages. Physical therapy tops the list of best treatments for many chronic and acute conditions. Rather than waving a white flag to pain, schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist and find out what can be done to improve function and decrease pain. Your older years should be a time of freedom and exploration, don’t let pain keep you from enjoying them.
For more information on the aging and pain study, click here.