Your mom’s complaining more about an aching knee. She gets up in the morning and says her back hurts. After she’s been up, she seems better. You think the pains are normal with aging and arthritis, but you’re not sure. How can you tell when aches and pains need to be looked at?
Where Does She Ache?
If the pain is in her lower back on the right or left side and feels sharp, it could be related to her kidneys. Could she have a UTI that you didn’t know about? A sudden sharp headache also requires urgent medical attention. In those two situations, she needs to see a doctor immediately.
If the pain is in a joint, it could be arthritis. Does it improve with warm or cold compresses? If so, talk to a doctor about things you can do to help relieve the pain of arthritis. She may not need to see her doctor, however, as there are over the counter remedies that may help.
Does the Painful Area Have Swelling or Feel Warm?
If the area that hurts your mom feels warm or appears swollen, see a doctor. It could be a strain or infection that needs treatment.
Does the Pain Happen at a Specific Time Every Day?
Does your mom get out of bed and immediately say her knee hurts? Does she cook breakfast and complain about back pain? It could be that something she is doing is triggering her to stretch a muscle. Is she stretching to reach something on the top shelf of a cupboard or bending down to get something in the bottom of the fridge? Do the dogs jump up on her when she comes out of her bedroom?
If you can rule out things that might be causing the pain, it should help you decide if changing a routine will help to ease the pain. If it doesn’t go away in a few days, see a doctor.
Do the Aches and Pains Keep Her From Completing Daily Routines?
Arthritis makes many daily activities difficult to complete. Joint pain keeps her from running a vacuum, doing laundry, or reaching ingredients in the cupboard. When aches and pains interfere with daily life, she should see a doctor.
It’s also important to make sure your mom has the help she needs at home. Don’t let her diet or hygiene suffer. If she needs help with laundry, meals, and more, call in a home care service. Caregivers offer a number of helpful tasks that range from transportation to shopping. Discuss your mom’s options with a home care agency today.