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Pain and the Older Adult 

Pain and the Older Adult
Chapter:
Pain and the Older Adult
Author(s):

Wadie I. Najm

and Robert A. Bonakdar

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199315246.003.0055
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date: 25 June 2019

Pain may be minimized or portrayed differently in the older adult and requires additional tools and awareness by the clinician to understand its impact. Older adults experience some physiologic changes that can impact the pharmacokinetics of drugs and expose them to higher risks of side effects. In addition the presence of co-morbidities increases the potential for the use of several drugs and eventually drug-drug interactions. A thorough evaluation of pain in the elderly requires not only the identification of the cause of pain but its impact on the emotional and functional aspects of their life. Treatment should preferentially be multimodal and individualized to the person’s need, beliefs, co-morbid conditions and function. The use of CAM therapies as a first line therapy or as an adjunct to other treatments is accepted by older adults and has good scientific evidence to justify its use. Several treatment options, such as biofeedback, have been shown to be as effective in older adults with pain and should be considered as a component of an integrative approach.

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