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Clin Geriatr Med. 2001 Aug;17(3):433-56, v-vi.

Age-related differences in pain perception and report.

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Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The clinical and laboratory-based evidence for age-related differences in pain perception and report are reviewed. Most clinical studies suggest a relative decrease in the frequency and intensity of pain symptoms associated with myocardial complaints, visceral infections, musculoskeletal conditions, and postoperative and malignant pain problems in adults of advanced age. The findings from experimentally controlled laboratory investigations are more equivocal and vary according to the type and intensity of noxious stimulation. Nonetheless, such studies also provide some additional support for the notion of an age-related decrease in pain perception and report. Evidence has not determined whether the observed changes are caused by the aging process or reflect other age-associated effects, including an increased presence of comorbid disease, biocultural cohort effects, or altered psychosocial influences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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