Lack of Research Forcing Elderly to Cope with Chronic Pain

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. — April 10, 2006 — Annually, over 4,000 studies related to pain are published while only one percent of those look at pain and aging. There is a clear need for more investigators from many fields to further the efforts of current researchers, according to a recent paper published in the journal Pain Medicine.

Today, chronic pain in the elderly population is viewed by many as normal. It is often communicated with patients that pain is a normal part of aging and frequently not treated. Those practitioners that do try to treat the pain are often unsuccessful because they do not have the right tools. Out of this, the need for more research for pain and aging has risen.

“Despite these growing efforts, chronic pain in the elderly is high,” says author of the editorial Dr. Debra Weiner. “Many turn to a self-management strategy taking fewer medications than younger people. With more research, it is possible to find new ways to treat chronic pain, bettering the lives of older adults.”

According to the editorial, between 2010 and 2030 it is estimated that those ages 65 and older will increase by 75 percent, while those under age 65 will increase by only 6.5 percent. With the number of older adults increasing at such a high rate, it is essential to find a way to treat their pain.

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