Chronic pain is a condition that can affect patients at any age. However, elderly patients with chronic pain are increasing in number. All of us go through the wear and tear process since the day we were born. This process catches up with us as we age. Our joints become degenerated over time and the affected joints becomes painful. Chronic Pain in elderly patients impairs their quality of life in different ways. Pain is a major source of suffering. Mobility of seniors is very important to them. All senior citizens would love to be independent in their daily lives as being able to get around is essential for independence. Degenerative arthritis in elderly can seriously impair this critical ability.

Many other medical conditions that one has battled with during life can become problematic as we age. Poor general health, obesity, diabetes, heart conditions that limit physical activity, recurrent infections and memory issue are among the common conditions that either can contribute to chronic pain or make it’s management difficult.

When it comes to management of chronic pain in elderly, medications become very important. Many seniors are on multiple medications, so drug interactions can cause problems. Many medications have to pass through kidney or liver in order to be excreted from body. It is important to avoid high doses of medications in elderly because the kidney and liver may not be able to refine the medication as they were able to do at a younger age.

Some medications may harm the already weakened kidney or liver. Medications that negatively affect the cognition and brain function need to be avoided or restricted. Some medications like anti-inflammatory class are commonly used but they may cause stomach ulcer, bleeding, high blood pressure and hearth problems if not carefully monitored. Some anti-depressants may have negative effect on people with enlarged prostate and cause urinary retention. These are just some examples of the issues that may arise in treating elderly patients with chronic pain.

We should all be informed more about these issues so we can care for the elderly with chronic pain in a safer way.

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