Over half of adults over the age of 60 experience chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as any pain lasting longer than 3 months and is a very different experience for your brain than acute pain.
And unfortunately, chronic pain can have lasting implications on brain health in older adults, even increasing the risk of developing dementia.
One of the most common problems we hear from our clients living with chronic pain is how their sleep suffers. Chronic pain creates a vicious cycle of disrupted sleep in which lack of sleep causes heightened sensitivity to pain. Increased pain will impair your ability to sleep, and the cycle continues.
Disrupted sleep is yet another risk factor for dementia, so it’s critical to address lack of sleep if you are living with chronic pain. Sleep is also necessary for your body’s ability to heal and recover from the pain you’re experiencing.
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Brain health isn't a topic discussed often enough, particularly within the medical community. On the bright side, the topics of mental health and access to mental health services have come to light in the last few years. But, the aging brain is often left out of the conversation.