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Management of pain in older adults

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Pain is a common complaint among the elderly. Understanding the different types of pain that older adults experience is important for effective pain management.

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Management of pain in older adults

  1. 1. http://www.hqbk.com/ 1-718-769-2521 Management of Pain in Older Adults Pain is a common complaint among the elderly. Understanding the different types of pain that older adults experience is important for effective pain management. Pain in older adults can be acute or chronic. Understanding the different types of pain that older adults experience is important for effective pain management. While acute pain occurs suddenly and lasts a short period of time, chronic pain persists and can last for months and even years. Acute pain can be treated and resolved, but if left unattended, can turn chronic. Typical chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, and neurogenic pain which is caused by damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system. Pain can also be psychogenic or unrelated to any of the typical causes. Pain in the elderly often goes untreated or undertreated, profoundly impacting the quality of life of older adults. Barriers to Effective Treatment There are many barriers to effective pain control. Patients often do not report pain, are ignorant about the consequences, and may be reluctant to take pain medication. http://www.hqbk.com/ 1-718-769-2521
  2. 2. http://www.hqbk.com/ 1-718-769-2521 Cognitive or functional impairments such as delirium, dementia, speech disorders, paraplegias may also hinder the pain assessment process in the elderly patients. On the provider side, the failure to properly assess pain, insufficient knowledge about managing pain and reimbursement concerns may impact treatment and care. Effective Pain Management for Geriatric Patients Successful pain management depends upon accurate diagnosis, which is based on a complete history and thorough physical examination, as well as an assessment of psychosocial functioning. The ideal place to seek treatment for the elderly is at a professional healthcare center. The cause of the pain would be detected through physical examination and imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scan, or MRI. At a professional healthcare center, a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches would be used to reduce pain and improve function. The pharmacologic approach includes treatment with medications such as  Acetaminophen  NSAIDs  Narcotics  Anesthetics  Antidepressants  Muscle relaxers http://www.hqbk.com/ 1-718-769-2521
  3. 3. http://www.hqbk.com/ 1-718-769-2521  Steroids  Anticonvulsant medicine Nonpharmacologic interventions involve custom physical therapy programs for geriatric patients including include therapeutic massages, electro-physical modalities like Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), cold/heat treatments, and regular physical exercises. Fall Risks Chronic pain is associated with an increased risk for falls among older adults. Hip fractures and bone disorders in the elderly occur mainly due to falls. According to an article published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Americans with arthritic conditions are at higher risk for falls and fall-related injuries than those without the condition. The CDC team also noted that the rate of prevalence of this arthritic condition is nearly 50 percent among adults 65 and older and about 30 percent among adults ages 45 to 64. Fall prevention programs at established rehabilitation centers are designed to reduce the risk of falls/injuries in geriatric patients. The program includes individual balance training and exercise, balance program, and safety tips to minimize the risk of environmental factors that can cause falls. http://www.hqbk.com/ 1-718-769-2521

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