Pain in older and elderly people

Pain in the over 65 years age group is common and often easily treated.

Most older people are healthy and independent.

Older people experience the same range of pain problems as other age groups. Spinal pain, arthritic pain and nerve pain are common, as in other age groups. Not all elderly people are healthy and independent. These situations have extra challenges to consider. Pain in these patients is more likely to cause reduced mobility and independence in addition to the other burdens of living with pain. Some elderly people have "cognitive" problems such as dementia, which can make pain very difficult to evaluate. As with other specialized pain areas, pain management needs to be carefully coordinated with other practitioners and carers and family.

Despite the challenges there are often simple effective ways to help older and elderly people with chronic pain improve mobility and quality of life. Depending on the type of pain there are some very useful procedural strategies for reducing pain. An NIPM doctor will evaluate the problem in a holistic and comprehensive way, and develop a management plan to improve independence, quality of life, and if possible reduce pain. The suggested strategies may involve:

  1. Outpatient physical therapy and psychological strategies to improve function, quality of life and mobility.
  2. Optimising medication use.
  3. Pain management procedures to reduce pain can be very effective for reducing pain in older people and the elderly.

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