Growing painfully grey: Understanding the pain conditions which are common among older individuals

Wrinkles on your face or your greying hair are the signs of aging that you can see in the mirror. But, did you know that there are other changes in body functions that occur as you age. Bones may become weaker and muscles may lose their flexibility and strength. These changes may lead to increased risk of certain pain related conditions as you age.

Common types of pain conditions in the elderly

Even though this disorder is usually detected in middle aged individuals, the risk of developing fibromyalgia may increase as you age. Muscle pain is a common indicator of this condition. The pain is often not limited to one part of your body. There may be areas of tenderness around joints, muscles or bones, which hurt when pressed with a finger. These are known as tender points of pain and they may be spread out over the back, neck, elbows, hips and knees. Dull aching pain is experienced in this condition. This pain may affect sleep and the ability to focus on tasks.

Don’t accept joint pain as a normal part of aging! It could be arthritis. Pain and stiffness of the joins are the main features of arthritis. There are several types of arthritis. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (caused by wear and tear of the joints over time) and rheumatoid arthritis (abnormal functioning of the body’s immune system causing joint swelling and pain). The body parts that are usually affected in osteoarthritis are knees, hips, hands, spine and even the shoulders. Rheumatoid arthritis mainly affects the fingers, wrists, knees, elbows, toes and ankles.

Rotator cuff injuries
Rotator cuff injuries affect the muscles around the shoulder joint. Individuals with rotator cuff injuries may experience a dull ache in the shoulder. This pain may become worse if you try to sleep on the affected side. Rotator cuff injuries may lead to weakness in the arms and difficulty to perform activities like combing hair or reaching behind the back.

Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting the hands and arms in which numbness and tingling sensations may accompany pain. These sensations may occur while performing daily activities such as holding the phone or newspaper. There is a tendency to drop objects due to weakness in the hands.Any activity that puts pressure on a nerve in the wrist may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome including conditions at the workplace or health conditions that cause nerve damage.

Frozen shoulder
Frozen shoulder manifests as stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. Any surgery or injury (example an arm fracture) that may restrict free moment of the arms may lead to frozen shoulder. Shoulder pain is often the first symptom experienced. This may progress to stiffness in the shoulder during which the pain may decrease. Individuals with this condition may eventually recover, even though it may take years in some cases. Treatment may help reduce pain and improve shoulder movement.