Lincolnshire’s growing over-60s population is set to spark an increase in joint pain management and surgery because they are reluctant to seek treatment for minor problems.
Staff at the Lincolnshire Intermediate Musculo-Skeletal Service (LIMSS), run by Care UK on behalf of the NHS, have identified that these ‘Stubborn Sufferers’ are more likely to dismiss aches and pains that could be the first signs of a more serious issue. By leaving this pain unchecked, over-60s could be putting themselves at risk of requiring more aggressive treatments, longer recovery times or causing major damage to their joints in the future.
The service offers a range of musculoskeletal assessments and treatments for NHS patients with sports injuries or back, joint and ligament pain, and is urging people to be aware of the options available to help resolve joint discomfort.
Pain management is already a huge issue in the UK – currently 45% of an estimated 7.5m living with chronic pain don’t have adequate pain management. This lack of treatment, coupled with the predicted growth of the over 65s to 23% of the UK population by 2034, could put a great amount of pressure on the region’s musculoskeletal and orthopaedics services.
“The mindset and image of a ‘senior citizen’ has changed enormously in the past 50 years. Over 60s are generally much more active and more adventurous than previous generations, and are often unwilling to accept that their bodies may be starting to succumb to the aging process,” explained Kogie Naidoo, LIMSS. “Additionally, most over-sixties are still leading extremely busy lives and niggling pains can often be viewed as something to worry about later.”
“It’s important to get any persistent pain checked out, as even if further procedures are required, catching conditions early can mean reduced recovery times, so active over-60s can get back to their busy lives as quickly as possible,” Kogie continued. “Catching and treating any issues at an early stage will also help the region’s services support its growing ageing community more effectively.”
Anyone suffering from joint pain can use the following tips to ease pain.
- Keep active to help keep your muscles strong and joints moving
- Look after your joints by reducing the stress on them
- Pace yourself - try to balance rest with activity
- Have a warm bath using heated pads or a hot water bottle to reduce stiffness
- Use a cold pack or a damp cloth around ice cubes or frozen vegetables to reduce swelling
- Try a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine, which uses electrical impulses to block pain
- Try relaxation, breathing exercises and meditation techniques to relax muscles and ease pain
If joint pain persists, patients should seek further information from their GP or pharmacist.