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Stubborn over-sixties urged not to suffer in silence

July 5 2011

Staff at Care UK, an independent health provider operating 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.

Care UK operates treatment centres around the UK providing a range of day case procedures for NHS patients including arthroscopy, carpal tunnel release, bunion surgery and other minor hand and foot procedures 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 UK’s 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 any aches and pains are a sign that their bodies may be starting to succumb to the aging process," explained Paula Friend, General Manager, Southampton NHS Treatment Centre.

"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 seek advice for any persistent pain as there could be a quick and simple solution - which may not be the case if the symptoms are left unchecked," Paula continued. "Even if further procedures are required, catching conditions early can mean reduced recovery times, meaning active over-60s can get back to their busy lives as quickly as possible."

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.