Treating Pain in Elderly

Pain becomes more common as we age. Pain in the elderly is often under treated. Although pain may be a part of aging, it is not normal and can be helped.

Most pain-relievers are safe for elderly people but the doses are often different. The kidneys become smaller with age, the liver works less effectively, swallowing may be more difficult, the stomach may be more sensitive, and older patients are often using other medications which can interact with the pain drugs. Doctors often start their elderly patients on lower doses, increasing the medications slowly and carefully as needed.

The first baby boomers are now over 60. As baby boomers continue to age, the number of with painful conditions like osteoarthritis will rise. There are now about 50 to 65 million chronic pain sufferers in the United States but the numbers will swell as the population ages.

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Last modified: 07/27/08