Elder Law Group Blog

What Research Tells Us About Aging and Pain

Jul 6, 2017 | News

Research shows older adults experience pain more often than younger adults. A study by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) found that nearly 50 million American adults have significant chronic pain or severe pain. Up to 40% of these people do not receive adequate treatment for their pain.
The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, in its recent article What We Know About Aging and Pain summarizes the research that addresses how older adults can best manage their pain. A systematic review of 92 studies explored the barriers to pain management for older adults and found:

  • Older adults do not absorb medicines as well as younger people and are less able to flush toxins out of their bodies.
  • Patients with sensory orcognitive impairments may not be able to adequately describe their pain to caregivers.
  • Doctors often worry about the long-term effects of taking pain medicines, especially if the patient is taking medicines for other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Patients often view pain treatments as “weakness” and view tolerating pain as a sign of strength in older age.
  • Patients are less likely to seek pain treatment if they don’t have strong, trusting relationships with their doctors.

Evidence-based approaches to managing pain in older adults include medicines, non-pharmaceutical interventions, and multi-faceted approaches. The treatments that work best are:

  • Pain medications: Over-the-counter Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a good choice for pain treatment because it has the smallest risk of side effects. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, Aspirin, Advil, Motrin) are recommended for use for only short periods due to the increased risks of heart problems, kidney problems, and stomach ulcers.
  • Non-pharmaceutical interventions: The review found a wide range of therapies and physical activities to be effective at relieving pain in older adults. These treatments included cognitive-behavioral therapy, massage, acupuncture, tai chi, and yoga.
  • Multi-faceted approaches: A central finding of the review is that doctors must be proactive in listening to patients’ evaluations of their pain levels. It’s important to find a health care provider who will respond if you report an increase in pain and offer a multi-faceted approach to pain management.

The research tells us that older people experience more pain than younger people, but that pain is treatable. A multi-faceted approach utilizing a broad range of treatments works best for managing pain in older adults.
Elder Law Group PLLC Focuses On The Particular Needs of Seniors
Our firm offers legal services and guidance in the following areas:

We invite you to learn more about our team here, and read what our clients have to say about us here.
Stay in the Know – subscribe to our newsletter that offers news and updates on Elder Law and information regarding challenges facing today’s seniors.
Contact us or call (509) 468-0551 (Spokane office), or (509) 579-0206 (Tri-Cities office), for personal, compassionate guidance on the particular needs of seniors and their families.
 

How do I select a Trustee?

If you are planning to set up a trust, one of the most important decisions that you will have to make is the person(s) you want to serve as your Trustee. Your Trustee will be responsible for managing the assets that you place in your trust and working with the trust’s...

Understanding Probate & Estate Administration

It’s no secret that losing a loved one is hard. At Elder Law Group PLLC, we understand that our clients are going through a difficult time. We provide personalized and compassionate legal representation as we help you to navigate through the estate administration...

An Elder Law Attorney Can Help You Choose Estate Executors and Administrators

When you are making a last will and testament, you must choose someone who will carry out the wishes that are expressed in that final document.  This person is called the executor of the will.  If an executor is not named in your will, or if the person named...
Elder Law Group Logo

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Please subscribe to learn more about how Estate Planning can protect you, your family and your money.

You have Successfully Subscribed!