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Bothersome pain afflicts half of older Americans
Date:12/2/2013

Philadelphia, December 2, 2013 More than half of older adults in the United States an estimated 18.7 million people have experienced bothersome pain in the previous month, impairing their physical function and underscoring the need for public health action on pain. Many of those interviewed by investigators for a study published in the current issue of PAIN reported pain in multiple areas.

The interviews, which included assessments of cognitive and physical performance, were completed by trained survey research staff in the homes of study participants living in the community or in residential care facilities, such as retirement or assisted-living communities. "Pain is common in older adults and one of the major reasons why we start slowing down as we age," says lead investigator Kushang V. Patel, PhD, MPH, of the Center for Pain Research on Impact, Measurement, and Effectiveness in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the University of Washington.

The researchers gained several insights from the new study:

  • Bothersome pain afflicts half of community-dwelling older adults in the United States.
  • The majority of older adults with pain reported having pain in multiple locations, such as in the back, hips, and knees.
  • The percentage of people with pain did not differ by age, even when researchers accounted for dementia and cognitive performance.
  • Pain was strongly associated with decreased physical capacity. Older adults with pain, particularly those with pain in multiple locations, had weaker muscle strength, slower walking speed, and poorer overall function than those without pain.

The researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), which was designed to investigate multiple aspects of functioning in later life and is funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health. Investigators conducted in-pe
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Contact: Terry Materese
painmedia@elsevier.com
215-239-3196
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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