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Pain relief for seniors

July 26 | 2022
Posted by Erin Mills Physiotherapy

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It is important for seniors to stay active to make sure they remain strong and independent through the later years of their life.  Many seniors also develop joint and muscle pain as they age and staying active can really help manage these symptoms.

Here are some exercises that seniors can do at home to help manage their pain!

Sit to Stand

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/old-woman-sit-stand-exercise-once-2055601184

  1.  Start by sitting on a firm chair.
  2.  Get up from the chair and get into a standing position without using your hands for support.
  3.  Stay standing for 2-3 seconds and then slowly lower yourself back into the chair without using your hands.
  4.  Repeat this movement 10-12 times and do this 1-2 times a day.

This is a simple and function exercise that seniors can do quite easily.  It mainly targets the back, hips and knees and when done consistently, really helps build strength through these areas.

Counter hip abduction 

  1.  Stand in front of your kitchen counter and hold on to the counter with your hands.
  2.  Keeping your trunk straight, slowly lift your right leg to the side as far as you can and then bring it back to the starting position.  Make sure to keep your knee straight through the movement.  You can add an ankle weight for more resistance as well.
  3.  Repeat this movement 10-12 times.
  4.  Once you are done with the right side, then do the same movement with the left leg.
  5.  Repeat this exercise 1-2 times a day.

This is a great exercise to strengthen the muscles of the hip.  It will help build strength and stability through the hips and pelvic area which will help with walking, stair climbing and general mobility.

Seated knee extension

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/knee-extension-sitting-on-chair-1956818149

  1.  Take a seat in a firm chair.
  2.  Raise your right foot to straighten your knee fully and hold for 2-3 seconds and then lower your foot back down.  You can also add an ankle weight for more resistance.
  3.  Repeat this movement 10-12 times and do it with the left side.
  4.  Perform this exercise 1-2 times a day.

This is also a great exercise that can be easily done at home and targets the muscles of the knee.  It will help improve the ability to get up from sitting, standing, walking and going up and down the stairs.

Calf raises

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/exercises-that-can-be-done-home-1810391740

  1. Stand in front of a chair or counter and hold on if you need support.
  2.  Keeping your knees straight, raise up both your heels so that your weight is on your toes.
  3.  Hold this position for a 1-2 seconds and lower yourself back down.
  4.  Repeat this exercise 10-12 times and do it 1-2 times a day.

This exercise helps strengthens the calves and legs in general.  In combination with the other exercises this helps seniors get stronger overall.

Shoulder raises

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/exercises-that-can-be-done-home-1821034232

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/woman-doing-exercises-dumbbell-pink-shirt-1825436231

  1. You can do these exercises in sitting or standing, holding onto a small weight.
  2.  First start by raising your both your arms up straight in front of you.  You want to bring your arms up to shoulder height.  Hold that position for 1-2 seconds and then slowly lower your arms back down.  Repeat this movement for 10-12 repetitions.
  3.  Secondly, you want to raise both your arms out to the side to your shoulder height.  Hold that position for 1-2 seconds and then slowly lower your arms back down.  Repeat this movement for 10-12 repetitions.
  4.  You can do this exercise 1-2 times a day.

These two exercises help keep you shoulders and arms strong.  This allows you to lift and do day to day things with more ease.  You can easily customize this exercise by adjusting the weight that you use depending on your overall strength when you are starting off.

Gentle neck stretches 

https://www.shutterstock.com/search/neck+stretches

  1.  Start by sitting in a firm chair.
  2.  First move you right ear down to you right shoulder and use your right hand to gently pull your head down a little further.  Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and repeat 2-3 times on each side.
  3.  Second, gently move your neck to look up the ceiling.  You can add a little pressure using your hands to increase the stretch.  Hold this position for a 2-3 seconds and repeat 5 times.  For some seniors, this position may cause some dizziness or lightheadedness so do not continue if this is the case.
  4.  Lastly, bring your chin down to your chest.  You can add some gentle pressure on the back of your head using your hands to increase the stretch.  Hold this for 2-3 seconds and repeat 5 times.
  5.  Do these movements 2-3 times a day.

These exercises help increase or maintain the flexibility of your neck and helps reduce tension in the neck muscles.  Maintaining the flexibility of your neck is important for your balance and ability to keep doing things like driving.

In conclusion, these simple yet effective exercises promote movement and muscle activations for the whole body and allow seniors to continue to be active and build strength as they age.  Maintaining lifelong activity is the best medicine for a long and healthy life.

 

 

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