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Pain Management Health Center

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7 Age-Related Pains and How to Ease Them

2. Headaches continued...

Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes them, but “they can be triggered by things like muscle tension, dehydration, your period, stress, weather changes, and certain foods, like chocolate,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of Pain Free 1-2-3.

Most likely to strike: Between your 20s and 50s.

Ease the ache: If your headache is just in your forehead and temple area, it could be a tension headache. It might help to massage the area that hurts or apply menthol cream on your forehead or the base of your neck, Teitelbaum says.

Pain meds like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or a medicine especially for migraines that contains caffeine, acetaminophen, or aspirin, can offer relief --but don’t take it for more than 3 days without talking to your doctor. Your doctor might also recommend prescription migraine medicine.

3. Osteoarthritis (OA)

This common condition happens when the protective cartilage between your joint and bone breaks down, causing pain in those joints, like hands, knees, and hips. “Osteoarthritis is often the result of age-related changes, or an injury or wear-and-tear from a sport or another activity,” Fay says.   

Most likely to strike: During your 60s and 70s. Thirty-three percent of adults over age 60 have OA.

Ease the ache: Staying physically active is key. “It keeps blood circulating, which can keep your joints healthy and reduce pain. And it strengthens the muscles around the joint, taking pressure off the joint and bone,” Fay says.

If you're new to exercise or have severe arthritis, talk to your doctor first. Another treatment option? Some people find relief by applying heat when their joints are stiff, and ice when they're swollen. Medicines that you take by mouth or put directly on your skin may also help. Talk to your doctor. He may suggest over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine.

4. Non-Arthritis Joint Pain

Pain that feels like it’s in or around the joints -- and that isn’t the result of OA -- is usually tendinitis, says Glashow. “That’s an inflammation of the tendon, which is a band of tissue that connects your muscles to your bones,” he explains. (With arthritis, it’s usually tough or painful to get moving. With tendinitis, the more you move, the more pain you have.) It’s often caused by activities that involve repetitive motion, like golfing and shoveling.

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