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An article in the recent issue of Pain Medicine describes possible non-medication approaches in dealing with chronic pain in older adults. The study included progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, hypnosis, tai chi, and yoga.

Of the treatments in the study,  none were found to have adverse effects or safety issues. All were feasible for older adults to perform comfortably in their residence.

For patients suffering from osteoarthritis pain, progressive muscle relaxation was found to be most effective of those treatments studied.

Patients coping with lower back pain and osteoarthritis, find meditation and tai chi appear to be most suitable.

The researchers found that mind-body therapies were especially well suited to the older adult with chronic pain because of their gentle approach, which makes them especially suited for even frail older adults. In addition, the treatments were found to have a positive emphasis on self-exploration, which is a possible remedy in itself for the heavy emotional, psychological, and social burden that is a hallmark of chronic pain.