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Eur J Pain. 2007 Jan;11(1):83-92. Epub 2006 Feb 17.

Pain in older adults: a prevalence study in the Mediterranean region of Catalonia.

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Department of Psychology, Rovira i Virgili University, Carretera de Valls, s/n, 43007 Tarragona, Spain.


Although information is available about the prevalence of pain in older adults in Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian countries, very little is known about older adults in other parts of the world. This study reports the prevalence of pain in a randomly selected sample of older adults living in the Mediterranean region of Catalonia. Besides studying the existence of pain at the time of interview, the authors investigated several characteristics of the participants' pain experience: pain onset, number and location of pain sites, intensity of pain, number of days in pain, severity of pain, the extent to which pain interfered with daily life, and expressed needs in relation to pain. A cross-sectional survey was conducted of adults aged 65 years and over living in Catalonia. A total of 592 individuals participated in the study, and data was collected through personal interviews with participants. The prevalence of any pain was 73.5%, and similar across age groups but higher in females than in males. Among individuals suffering from pain, 94.2 were experiencing chronic pain (i.e., pain of three months' duration or more). The mean number of painful areas (out of 10) was 4.48. No clear pattern of the prevalence of regional pain was observed, although joints were the most frequently reported painful place. Pain interfered in the life of a considerable number of participants (35.5%), but no differences in the level of expressed needs was detected between those that were affected and those that were not. This study provides new evidence that pain is an important problem for the older adult, one that severely impacts on their health status, causing disability and reduced ability to function, particularly in older women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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