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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005 Dec;60(12):1569-75.

Identification of pain-reduction strategies used by community-dwelling older persons.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The types of methods used by older persons to reduce chronic pain have not been adequately characterized. In this cross-sectional study of older persons with chronic nonmalignant pain, we sought to identify strategies perceived as effective in reducing pain and to ascertain factors associated with their use.

METHODS:

Participants included 272 community-dwelling persons aged 73 years or older. Information regarding participants' sociodemographic, clinical, psychological, and pain status was collected. Strategies perceived as effective in reducing pain were identified using a qualitative approach. Similar methods (e.g., "takes acetaminophen when necessary" and "uses Tramadol daily") were grouped into specific pain-reduction categories (e.g., analgesic medication use). Logistic regression analysis was used to identify associations between participant-related factors and the four most prevalent pain-reduction strategies.

RESULTS:

Participants had a mean (standard deviation) age of 80.9 (5.1) years and were mostly female (69%). Overall, 248 (91%) participants reported at least one effective strategy for reducing pain; the mean number of strategies per participant was 2.7 (range = 1-6). The four most prevalent pain-reduction strategies were analgesic medication use (reported by 59% of participants), activity restriction (38%), hot and/or cold modalities (28%), and exercise (23%). Although most participants reported at least one effective pain-reduction strategy, 60% rated their pain as "quite a bit" or "extremely" bothersome. In logistic regression analysis, no factor (including age and gender) was independently associated with any of the prevalent pain-reduction strategies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite the fact that most participants perceived several pain-reduction strategies as effective, 60% reported experiencing substantial pain. Research of older persons with chronic pain is warranted to determine whether changes in the way existing pain-reduction strategies are administered can improve the management of pain or if more efficacious strategies are needed.

PMID:
16424290
DOI:
10.1093/gerona/60.12.1569
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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