Pain Management in the Elderly: Special Considerations

Whilst it can be said that pain is commonplace among older people, it does nonetheless: “remain under-recognised & under-treated”. A comprehensive assessment of pain [conducted by a Pain Doctor], involves identifying its cause, establishing its severity, determining its impact, & reviewing the patient’s response to treatment. Addressing such pain management requires a different approach compared to younger patients. This is due to frequent concomitant frailty, multimorbidity, polypharmacy, sensory deficits & cognitive decline [1]

Did You Know?

When people process pain, it can be influenced by countless physical changes that come about during the ageing process. This does not however, equate to acute or long-term pain going hand in hand with natural ageing. To that end, Pain Consultants are very mindful of the special needs of our ageing population. Moreover, this focus is regarded as a crucial aspect of this patient group’s pain management [1].

Special Concerns For Elderly Patients

Whenever Pain Doctors access pain in an elderly patient, they always keep certain considerations in mind. For example: they are aware that particular pain conditions get worse with age (degenerative joint disease, is a case in point). Indeed, as Pain Specialists are aware: a rise in the prevalence of joint pain, persistent pain, and central sensitisation syndromes (e.g., fibromyalgia), have been recorded in older people. That said, it seems that the degree of chest, upper back, stomach and headache pain, do not change throughout a person’s lifespan. Yet abdominal and other forms of pain that are not linked to mechanical use, tend to decrease in prevalence as people get older [2].

Moreover, generally speaking, older people tend to suffer from a higher number of painful co-morbidities: impaired circulation, compression fractures due to osteoporosis; injuries and fractures related to falls, osteoarthritis, and diabetic neuropathies, are all directly linked to painful symptoms. Furthermore, pain can become more intense due to a broad spectrum of physiological changes. And this is why the smart course of action is to book an online or in-person appointment with an experienced Pain Consultant, who is an expert in pain management for elders. They will review your medical history, ask pertinent questions, arrange any necessary test or scans, and then provide you with a Holistic Personalised Treatment Plan (which incorporates both conventional, and the latest cutting-edge solutions), which you can get started on right away.


[1]. Ong T, Thiam CN. Special consideration for pain management in the older person. Clin Med (Lond). 2022 Jul;22(4):295-297.

[2]. Asih S, Hulla R, Hartzell M, McKenna Bradford E, Gatchel R. Pain Management in the Elderly: Etiology and Special Considerations. Pract Pain Manag. 2014;14(10).
Feb 19, 2015