As a caregiver, understanding the aspects of pain management can greatly help your loved one return to better health and daily living. The most effective approach is careful observation, and encouragement for the loved one to be honest about their pain and assuring them it matters to you.
Some approaches to pain management are:
Medication- Doctors usually are not eager to prescribe pain relievers that may be abused or simply looked at to numb the pain. Commonly prescribed medications include analgesics and narcotics, but both have potentially adverse effects associated with them. Over the counter medications can be used, but be careful to make sure they will not also have adverse effects when used with other medications they may be taking. Check them with their doctor to make sure.
Cortisone Treatments- This can be done through creams or injections into the affected muscles, but it usually only dulls the pain and should not be used for any extended period.
Regular Exercise- Routines that involve weights and stretching can correct one’s pain and body movement, as well as enhancing your loved one’s well-being in the process. This can also be a very special time for both of you; an evening walk together, a ride to the store, and get them walking in the mall, doing something you both can find enjoyment together, and some precious memories along the way as well. Remember, one day the care-giving will be over, try to find joy in the journey.
Advice to Caregivers- Doctors are always reminding caregivers to remain positive and supportive to ensure that they can cope and deal with the daily pain and struggle their loved one faces. In the process, take care of yourself. If you find depression taking a toll on you, and aches and pains start hampering you; be kind to yourself. Find time to rest, do something you enjoy, go for a walk in the park, or the woods, go fishing, on a picnic, restore your soul. You can only take care of your loved one effectively, if you are in good health.
Dietary Changes- Doctors also urge your loved ones to cut back on any high fat, cholesterol rich foods that may dampen their ability to respond to treatment.
Lifestyle Changes- Often it is activities such as smoking, excessive sleeping, and general laziness that prevents the body from reaching its daily potential and causes pain to begin in other parts of the body. Avoiding such unnecessary habits could spell less pain for your loved one.
I realize sometimes this is easier said than done. When I was taking care of my mother, and seniors in my work environment, there was always challenges. My mother smoked until the day she died,. It caused many complications that added to her suffering from being diabetic. It contributed to her losing circulation in her legs that caused amputations to her feet. When she started smoking when she was a young girl in the 1940’s, almost everyone in her family did also. People did not know how damaging it was to their bodies, they didn’t realize what they were doing to themselves. I had to take this into consideration; and not condemn her. These realities can be almost unbearably frustrating; because we see the self-destruction that our loved ones choose at times; and we feel helpless.
If you are caring for a loved one in this kind of situation, you are bearing a heavy load. At these times, going to the Lord in prayer is important. He answers prayer; and will give you the strength and wisdom to know how to deal with what you face. Going to other family members, or friends who we can talk to and be honest with our feelings is also important. You must have an outlet, and be able to express your struggles.
God loves you, and your loved one. He will give you the strength to carry on.