One of the most common problems associated with advancing age is muscle pain. But is it normal to have muscle pain in seniors? Unfortunately, to some extent, it is common in older ages as the sole factor of compromised health.
Muscular pain may be natural or due to some specific reasons. However, it is treatable at any age if dealt with little care. But prevention is the best remedy rather than curing the pain along with suffering.
Unexplained muscle pains in the legs and arms increase and pose severe issues for older men and women that require adequate treatment and prevention. Hence, the first thing you need to do is identify the root cause of pain and eliminate it.
Most Common Causes of Muscle Pain in Seniors
Ever wondered what exactly are the factors causing muscle pain in seniors? Well, there isn’t one answer to it. A variety of factors are involved causing muscle pain in seniors like:
Medicine has become essential to deal with almost all health issues. But how are they involved in causing muscle pain? Not all, but some medications may interact with the body affecting the musculoskeletal system with serious side effects. Unnecessarily excessive medications in seniors may be a cause of muscle pain due to drug interactions.
For example, Statin is a cholesterol-lowering drug class and can lead to muscle aches and pain as its side effects. Other common medications causing muscle pain in seniors include albuterol, furosemide, donepezil, etc.
2- Exercise and Stretching
Do you know how exercise leads to muscle pain? Excessive exercise leads to the accumulation of unnecessary lactic acid, which causes muscle pain. Regular exercise and stretching make our muscles used to it. However, problems may occur if you do an intense workout after a break or suddenly switch to a new and exerting physical activity.
Stretching and moving muscles in new directions causes stiff and painful muscles of the legs and arms. Similarly, proper stretching of the targeted part is essential before starting exercise, which would otherwise cause complications in muscle pain in older people.
3- Nutritional Deficit
Proper nutrition is vital to avoid health problems like muscle pain in seniors and all age groups. What is the requirement for adequate nutrition? It must have the required proportion of calories, proteins, carbs, minerals, and vitamins needed for proper body functioning.
For example, Vitamin D and Biotin are known to have a role in muscle activity, and their deficiency leads to muscle aches and pain. Vitamin D also absorbs calcium. Hence, its insufficiency can cause hypocalcemia, affecting muscles causing aches and pain.
Muscle pain is often associated with stress, but the question is WHY? Stress leads to anxiety, which can create tension in muscles leading to muscle pain and aches in senior people. The adrenaline rush in the stress situation is also the cause of muscle pain and aches. Constant stress can compromise the immune system, leading to more susceptibility for pain due to inflammation.
Long-term stress is hazardous for everyday health. It might create severe issues in overall health, especially in seniors. Persons’ emotions like perception and attention are the causative factors for anxiety, leading to muscle pain and aches.
5- Medical Conditions
Various abnormal health conditions affect the human body in one way or the other. This situation is likely to cause muscle pain in seniors. So what to do if you feel muscle pain? Consult the doctor for the diagnosis of a medical condition causing pain, if any. There is a long list of various diseases and conditions causing muscle pain in seniors. But the common examples include:
- Diabetes: Diabetes in seniors can cause muscle pain along with other severe complications.
- Fibromyalgia: Low energy is associated with chronic pain at several points, causing muscle aching.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica: This disease may result in stiffness and muscle pain in seniors by producing inflammation. More significant in areas targeting the shoulders. This condition is more common in people above 65 years of age.
6- Sprains and Strains
Muscle pain is more common in seniors after the sprain and strains; Why? Because muscles in seniors show reduced pain resistance, more aches occur after sprains and stress or injury. If the injury affects a particular area, one can feel stiffness in that area leading to pain and difficulty in movement.
But, nothing to worry about the sprains and strains. Only a little rest and thermal therapy can cure the muscle pain associated with it without requiring other treatments.
7- Excessive Physical Activity
You may think that physical activity is the same as exercise, but they actually aren’t. What we mean by the physical activity here is in your work-related activities.
Excessive physical activity can be a major cause of muscle pain in seniors because this is intolerable with the getting-old age. If you are aged, you need to maintain an equilibrium among the physical activity and rest to keep the body muscle functioning.
Otherwise, excess activity may raise muscle fatigue to such an extent that it leads to unbearable muscle pain in elderly persons. Plus, it can result in lethargy and tightening of muscles, making them more susceptible to aches and pain.
When to Get Worried?
Nowadays, muscle pain is frequent in seniors. However, there may be serious complications if it goes untreated. You should need to get worried if any of the following symptoms persist for a more extended period:
- If the muscle start to aches and there is sharp pain
- If the pain makes you unable to carry your daily activities
- If the pain persists for two weeks or more
Also, look for the muscle pain point, as it is a critical factor for risk determination related to it. Pinpointed pain may be due to any targeted injury or exercise requiring less time to recover. But when the pain is affecting a broader area, then it needs more time to get cured.
Consequences of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain
Chronic musculoskeletal pain in seniors can affect the daily normal activity cycle if severity persists. It involves overall health, so reduction of functional and physiological capabilities is observed along with muscle pain. The various risk associated with the CMP includes:
- Decrease movement
- Increase dependence
- Modified posture
- Atrophy of affected muscle
- Sleep disturbance
However, there is a long list of the various complications caused by the Chronic Musculoskeletal system. Muscle pain affects physical health, but mental health is also compromised. Affecting the patient’s psyche may lead to anxiety and depression. The patient cannot perform daily chores, being dependent on others for mobility, these factors may create the feeling of self-isolation.
Effective Treatments for Muscle Pain in Seniors
Is muscle pain in seniors curable? If you have muscle pain, no need to worry as it can easily be cured with little effort. There are different approaches to get rid of old age aches and pains. A few of the most effective treatment examples are as below:
1- Alternative Medications
As described above, muscle pain is induced sometimes after using several medications—Either as its side effects or its interaction with other medicines. You must consider few points if the problem is due to medication:
- If any medication causing muscle pain, try an alternate drug
- Try to cure the illness using natural remedies or modifying the lifestyles
- If it’s necessary to use the drug, try to avoid those medicine together, which can interact with each other’s function
- Strictly follow doctors prescription
- Avoid unnecessary medication, and try to keep a record of the drug you are taking.
2- Pharmacological Therapy
The pharmacological approach in the treatment of muscle pain in seniors using the drugs. Various drug classes like opioids, non-opioids, and secondary analgesics treat muscle pain in seniors. This technique is used for treating muscular pain no matter if it’s an old-aged individual or a young adult.
However, it is sometimes considered an ineffective method for pain management, especially in seniors, as reports indicate less viability of drugs for muscle pain in them. Frequent analgesics do not have any effect causing economic burden, drug side effects, and management errors.
3- Non-Pharmacological Approach
As you can already tell, the Non-Pharmacological Approach is the vice-versa of the Pharmacological approach. It doesn’t require any drug and primarily involves therapies for pain management in seniors. The most popular and effective treatments are:
- Physical Therapy: It is an effective method to treat muscle pain. It includes thermal treatment and manual therapy of painful areas, protective and supportive devices, and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.
- Complementary and Alternative Therapies: it is used to treat severe musculoskeletal pains and involves cognitive-behavioral therapy, biological-based therapies, and mind-body therapies.
- Exercise: Various exercises, yogas, and meditations have become an essential treatment for muscle pain in seniors.
Aromatherapy is considered a natural therapy to reduce muscle pain. Chronic physical pain, stress, anxiety is relieved by using the extracted oil from different plants. It is a good option if you want to avoid the treatment protocols and medications.
Aromatherapy is a natural remedy with almost no side effects if used properly. Using aromas of natural herbs and plants soothes the toughest aches and muscle pains. Extract from lavender plants treats distress associated with migraines and headaches. Similarly, the Rosemary plant and its extracts are in use to treat chronic muscle pains.
As the name suggests, Naturopathy is all about making use of nature in treating muscular pains. It involves natural techniques for pain healing. Basically, Naturopathy is the method of pain management by just modifying the lifestyle and making it healthier. Treatment examples under this technique include exercise, massage, diet control, more vegetable eating, daily vitamin intake, spending time under the sun, and mushroom intake.
Naturopathy is indeed one of the best options if you want to treat muscle pain naturally.
You can check your health score after the naturopathic approach and feel the difference.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a flowering plant that is an excellent medicinal natural remedy for pain management. There is the use of this plant for treating a variety of chronic muscle pain in seniors. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, feverfew is great for reducing muscle pain. It works by lowering the release of serotonin which is an anti-inflammatory substance, and reducing histamine production.
The worth noting point here is that it requires proper consultation before starting due to some side effects. So don’t just get started with this treatment right away.
Prevention of Muscle Pain in Seniors
It is always essential to prevent the illness rather than curing it. The same is the case with muscle pain, and one can easily prevent it by adopting a few best practices regularly.
Your diet plays a significant role in treating muscular pain – far more than you would’ve thought. Proper diet and nutrition are essential to maintain muscle metabolism as age increases. You need to adopt a few dietary tips to avoid muscle pain. Low-fat protein is vital for preserving muscle mass; ideally, fish, beef, and chicken are the best choices.
Almonds, peanuts, soybean products, and beans are rich protein sources crucial for muscle health. Similarly, vitamin intake like Vitamin D and Biotin is necessary for the proper functioning of muscles.
With the advancing ages, regular checkups are critical, along with treatment and medications. It’s necessary because it helps diagnose the illness at early stages, which may otherwise lead to acute conditions. Many abnormal medical conditions could cause muscle pain in seniors, which regular checkups can prevent.
Out of so many possibilities to treat, prevent and cure muscle pain in seniors, a few of the best daily life tips are as follows.
- Appropriate stretches are helpful in pain management
- Reduce the inflammation by applying a cold pack to prevent the pain
- Use a heating pad immediately after exercise.
- Take a hot bath with Epsom salt.
1- How do you stop muscle aches with age?
Try proper exercise and yoga to stop muscle aches. Adopt a healthy and nutritious diet as per requirements and pay a regular visit to your doctor for checkups.
2- What is the best pain reliever for muscle pain?
You can use different pain reliever medicines called analgesic or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines for muscle pain—for example, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.
3- How do you get rid of leg pain in the elderly?
You could apply different old age leg pain remedies, such as stretching the leg, massaging the affected muscle, thermal therapy, and drinking pickle juice known to reduce muscle pain.
4- Is it normal to have aches and pains in your 60s?
Yes, to some extent, it is expected. With the advancing ages, wear and tear of body cells increase, bringing aches and pain. However, this pain can be prevented and reduced by incorporating different methods, techniques, and treatments.
Pain management in seniors is a rising issue that needs attention. Little awareness can help a lot in treating muscle pains, specifically preventing muscle pain. Many factors could cause muscle pain; however, it is treatable but requires intense care and proper treatment.
Several options are available for curing muscular pains in the elderly, such as medications, natural remedies, adopting a healthy lifestyle, etc. If untreated, muscle pain would impose severe threats to disability to prevent or treat at the initial stages.