It is often said that old age is not for wimps. A lifetime of accumulated poor posture, physical labor, sports, and accidents can result in chronic pain that leaves sufferers coping through limiting activities. Although limiting activities might help with immediate pain, it is not a great long term solution as staying active is an one important aspect of aging well. The trick is to keep moving but minimize discomfort, but how? With good justification, healthcare providers are steering away from opioids and other ongoing pain medications, instead advising patients to make lifestyle changes to manage their pain. Unfortunately as many people who have made New Year’s resolutions know, this is often easier said than done. Pain often leads to exhaustion, frustration, and depression as sufferers spiral while trying to find solutions. Staying motivated and on track turns out to be key to pain management.
This is not a small problem. With people living longer and with the prevalence of chronic conditions, it can be assumed most people will live with or encounter chronic pain at some point in their lives. In fact, many, especially middle-aged or senior adults, live with a variety of painful conditions. Although it can feel overwhelming, and many people feel helpless, life adjustments can make a big difference and return people to activities they once enjoyed. Unfortunately, many parts of the current healthcare system are not set up to provide all the necessary support individuals need.
Taking time to go to a physical location and scheduling an all-too-brief check-in with a physician, nurse, or physical or occupational therapist isn’t convenient and happens too infrequently. Increasingly, healthcare is making a big shift as it recognizes that an overburdened healthcare workforce is simply not available to provide intensive chronic disease management care using a traditional model. As a result, a new, more viable model is now emerging: health coaching.
Already a rising trend prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, coaching allows people to connect with health professionals who can provide customized, safe exercise programs to help patients make positive lifestyle changes that safely increases exercise and assists with pain management. Working with patients in North America, Anooka is at the forefront of developing an interactive health coaching model that successfully treats patients managing chronic pain. Anooka pairs clients with an appropriate health coach who provides customized assistance through the Anooka app. Although new, the program is already gathering testimonials from clients who have been able to sleep better, return to their favorite activities, and decrease their pain.
Both healthcare professionals and patients will see increased benefits from new technical and virtual healthcare options as patients feel empowered to make the lifestyle changes their careteams advise. Virtual tools allow for more check-ins and questions and will help patients embed healthcare and healthcare changes into their day-to-day lives. Although most people will face managing chronic conditions, including chronic pain, proactively adjusting to those changes allows people to continue to live comfortable, active lives. Join Health TIE on May 26th to learn more about health coaching, Anooka Health, and proactive, personalized health management.