June News: Learn About Reducing Your Pain

You Can Be Pain Free!

Pain Affects Your Life

Persistent pain saps energy and disrupts sleep. It can interfere with work and leisure activities and worsen other medical conditions. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. Pain may be contained to a discrete area as an injury, or more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Pain can be acute or chronic, lasting more than 6 months.

Senior woman in grey sweater holding her head with eyes closed in pain.

Get ahead of pain and take your pain meds before pain sets in.

Harmony In Healing

Effective pain management strategies may often utilize physical therapy used in combination with pain medicines. Physical therapy is more holistic and provides longer-term benefits because it addresses the root cause of the pain. Medications, on the other hand, offer immediate relief during more acute episodes of pain. Sometimes pain medicines are helpful and necessary during the early therapy treatment sessions.

You should consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new pain treatments. Each person is unique. Each person responds differently to treatment. But know that relief is within reach whether through therapy, pain medicines or a combination of both!

How Can Pain Be Managed?

Pain is often under-reported because of fear of addiction to pain medication. But if your pain isn’t being addressed successfully by your primary doctor, or if you have a specific type of pain, a new pain or new symptoms such as numbness or tingling, you should seek out a specialist. Pain specialists identify the causes of pain and treat acute pain aggressively to prevent the onset of chronic pain most often with non-invasive treatments.

Medications Commonly Prescribed To Treat Pain

Pain relievers are used to reduce or relieve headache pain, sore muscles, arthritis or other aches and pains. Over the counter (OTC) medicines are good for many types of pain. There are two main types: acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are examples.

Different people respond differently to pain medicines or may suffer side effects. OTC medicines do come in higher doses. But if OTC medicines don’t relieve your pain, your doctor may prescribe something stronger such as an opioid. Opioids are effective but can sometimes have serious side effects.

What Is An Opioid?

Opioids are a class of drugs used to reduce pain. Prescription opioids can be prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain such as with cancer. Opioids can have serious risks and side effects. Recently there has been an increase in the use of opioids to treat chronic conditions such as back pain or osteoarthritis despite the risk of addiction and lack of evidence about long term effectiveness.

Common opioids are oxycodone (OxyContin), Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Morphine and Methadone

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever. It is many times more powerful than other opioids and is approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. Most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose and death in the U.S. is linked to illegally made fentanyl that has been combined with heroin or cocaine and is extremely dangerous.

Therapist working with senior woman on wrist and hand pain.

With therapy, pain can be treated without drugs.

Addiction and Side Effects

If opioids are needed for your pain, check in with your doctor regularly on how your pain is responding and any side effects. Side effects may include constipation, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting. When you are ready to stop taking opioids, your doctor may wean you off slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Addiction is a serious consequence of taking opioids and can result in death.

Getting Ahead Of Post-Surgical Pain

After surgery, don’t wait to take your pain medication until your pain becomes severe. Take your pain meds as prescribed. As you feel better, you can extend the time between doses till you are able to quit altogether. If your pain is not too severe, try over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen for relief.

Common sense steps to help with pain

  • Get enough sleep
  • Increase physical activity slowly
  • Don’t sit too long. Take a stretch break.
  • Brace your surgery site when sneezing, coughing or moving around
  • Reduce stress using relaxation techniques like deep breathing

Pain Can Be Treated Without Drugs

Physical Therapist with Senior Man lifting hand weights.

Therapy can help people with long-term or chronic pain.

Ouch! We’ve all experienced that unpleasant sensation of pain ranging from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Besides medication, there are other solutions to help deal with pain.

  • Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy
  • Heat and Cold Applications
  • Rehab and Physical/Occupational Therapies
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Complimentary Medicine (massage, acupuncture, acupressure)
  • Exercise Therapy and Lifestyle Changes

A Crossroads For Many

Physical Therapy versus Medication: Treating Pain Without Drugs

An effective pain management strategy may involve the use the physical therapy in combination with medicines.

Physical therapy can help people with long-term, or chronic pain through a holistic approach. PT enhances strength, flexibility and overall mobility. Your therapist will look for areas of weakness or stiffness and will tailor a therapy program designed specifically for you that ensures your exercises are safe, effective and prevent future pain episodes. Exercises often combine stretching and strengthening. Some therapists are trained in massage techniques to help with pain. Some massage may not feel too comfortable, But the therapist takes great care to make sure it is safe and helpful for you.

Physical therapist working with a young man on a balancing ball

Getting some therapy is an excellent choice to help with pain.

Therapists may also tap into other modalities for pain relief. Tens (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) uses a device to send low-voltage electric current to the skin over the painful area.

Ultrasound sends sound waves to the area that hurts. Both these offer relief by blocking the pain messages to the brain.

Medicines on the other hand offer more immediate relief from acute pain. Certain pain medicines effectively reduce inflammation, a common cause of pain. Medicines are convenient and can be used any time or anywhere. Pain medicines can be helpful in the initial phases of physical therapy when pain may be most intense.

Radial Shockwave Therapy

Are you suffering with neuropathy pain? Radial shockwave therapy is a breakthrough treatment for the pain of neuropathy.

Neuropathy, a pervasive condition characterized by stabbing, burning and tingling sensations particularly in the feet and lower legs which makes sleep difficult and certainly affects quality of life.

Current treatment options have offered only limited relief. But with radial shockwave therapy there has been success. Radial shockwave therapy stimulates microtears in compromised nerve tissue and blood vessels and encourages healing blood flow and nerve regeneration. The results indicate that 90% of patients report a 50% or more reduction in pain. That is really good news for those suffering with neuropathy pain.

Limber Up

Want to reduce back pain? Movement and activity can help!

Group of four healthy seniors taking a walk together outdoors.

Take the challenge. Get active.

Eight in 10 Americans experience back pain in their lifetime. For some, back pain becomes chronic. That is why it is important to learn how to reduce back pain so you can enjoy your life more.

Back pain can be triggered by many things including viral illness, muscle strain, osteoarthritis, infection and even cancer.

Get Physical

Especially as we age, back pain will often develop and persist due to a sedentary lifestyle. Increasing flexibility is often what’s needed to reduce back pain. Exercise and movement are critical to improving and maintaining flexibility. Walking and hiking are ideal activities for the back because they combine mental and physical exercise. If you should experience an episode of back pain, do not think it’s just because you are getting old. Not so. You may just need to get up, get out and get moving to feel better. Consult your doctor or therapist about ways to maintain a healthy back.

Exercise Therapy/Lifestyle Changes

You may be recommended to keep to a regular exercise routine to maintain your pain-free life. Although therapy can be hard, stick with it because you will reap the benefits.

AW Health Care can help! We can provide therapy in your home after a fall, injury or hospital stay. Even a decline in overall health can signal a need for therapy. Call us for more information. (314) 330-7992

Fly Your Colors

Open field blue sky smiling young boy running and holding an American Flag above his head.

Fly your colors on Flag Day.








Flag Day is a holiday celebrated on June 14. Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. “The flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white, and that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.” Although not a national holiday, Flag Day was proclaimed a national observance by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

Father’s Day

Young African American father hugging and tickling his toddler son, both laughing wildly.

Blessings to all fathers on Father’s Day.











Red, yellow, green and black artistic treatment of the text of the word Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is June 19.

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