How common is Pain in Women and Older Adults?

Pain is one of the most common health problems experienced by older adults. Between 25-50% of all older people living at home, and up to 85% of older individuals living in nursing homes, report that they are in serious pain.

Some kinds of pain, such as back pain, seem to decline in frequency as people get older. Other types, such as large joint pain (pain in the knees, hip, or feet) may increase. About 12% of older adults have widespread pain, and pain is reported more often by WOMAN than by Men.

The Most Common Types of Pain

Pain may be acute or persistent (sometimes called chronic).  It is possible to experience both acute and persistent pain simultaneously.

Acute pain, which comes on quickly and may not last very long, results from an injury, surgery, or other type of tissue damage. It usually goes away when the injury heals.

Persistent pain, which can be long-lasting, may or may not be associated with a disease or injury. If you have persistent pain, you are more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety, and feel that your quality of life and daily functioning has been impacted.

Pain may also have different causes. Pain related to muscles, bones and organs is a response to an injury or disease. It is usually confined to a single area and responds well to treatment with pain medicines. Pain caused by damaged nerves or the brain is likely to cause unusual sensations, may be harder to identify location and can be difficult to treat with standard pain relievers.   

How common is Pain in Older Adults?

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